It’s the little things. It’s the gaps that are filled when no one is looking. The chores no one wants to do, but somehow get done.
That’s what makes organizations run smoothly. That’s how companies thrive. That’s why teams succeed.
And that’s why Bill Eddy and P.J. Johnson are so important to the Las Positas College sports program.
“They play a necessary role in both kinesiology and athletics,” said Athletic Director Dyan Miller. “They set up all the equipment so that the instructors can come in and teach. And it’s the same thing for athletics. They are the support staff for all athletic events.”
Eddy and Johnson, assistants for the athletic department, don’t get their names in articles. They aren’t mentioned in the box scores. But their value is immeasurable and unmistaken. They impact the players, the teams, the schools, in the most silent of ways.
And they do it without much appreciation or thanks. And they take their jobs seriously. On a mundane Wednesday evening, they took a moment to chill. Eddy was relaxing on his lunch, catching up on television shows from the past. P.J. sat at her desk packing up, ready to go home from a day of hard work.
The baskets had been lowered and were still in use with the men’s basketball class. Swimming was in the gym upstairs, so the doors were unlocked and the equipment all ready to go. Classrooms were ready to go, projectors shining their light on the wall. Yoga balls, ready for use, were sitting in their storage racks in a first floor studio. Locker rooms were unlocked so every student in the classes would have a place to store their school gear while they attended class.
A day’s work complete.
But they don’t just stock soccer balls and launder jerseys. They serve.
Every day, they see students as they come and go through their daily lives. They talk to Eddy and Johnson, staying a few minutes after practice and talk about their relationships, injuries and just life in general.
“I think it makes our relationship better,” said Eddy. “They see us more as these people are actually engaged, they don’t judge. We offer criticism and we offer intellect and insight into their lives and try to steer them in the right direction. Some of them take it to heart.
“It makes (our) job a lot better. You get to see them more as a person as opposed to an athlete.”
Occasionally Eddy has relied on his ability to read the players to know when athletes are struggling financially. They are sometimes hesitant to talk about it or ask for anything. Eddy noted that it has only been five or six students since he has been here that have needed a little extra help.
“It’s usually infrequent in nature, one or two students you kind of recognize that need it,” said Eddy.
Though people barely take notice of the extra generosity Eddy and Johnson provide to the athletes, they continue
Though most people are unaware of the amount and importance of the work they do, they carry on. Serving without much thanks. Filling in the necessary gaps. Even when they are discouraged to help others, they try to do what they can in the midst of the regulations. The compassion and emotion in Bill’s eyes developed as he continued discussing his inspiration.
For Eddy, it all started with the late LPC coach Tony Costello. In 2007, the LPC basketball program had some transplants who were displaced by Hurricane Katrina. Because these players were in a new area with little money or food, Costello would go to Costco and buy some nutrient bars and extra water to give to them after practice.
“One of the athletes was in transition and was living in the storage room,” said Eddy. “We (Costello and I) both knew about it. We felt that it was better than being out in the street.”
Even though it went against board policy and was frowned upon, Eddy believed it was the right move at the time. He and Costello were reprimanded for it, but Eddy stands by his decision.
For Eddy, it doesn’t matter if it’s an athlete or student, he would be willing to help them out.
His philosophy on human kindness drives his interactions with students. Helping somebody to him is just second nature. Eddy promotes the philosophy that “I’ve always thought that if they need it you try to help them,”
Eddy said. “If it isn’t money it’s listening. Just something to make them know that you care.”