Josh Edens Story
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"It's one more opportunity to see if you’ve still got it” Josh challenges, “Instead of talking about it, go back out there and do it!"
Ashley Edens is a rockstar of a wife. Not only does she have her hands full with two little ones, serves as a youth minister alongside her husband, and supports him in his high school football coaching role- she is letting him play in a full contact football game. In fact, the whole thing was her idea. While cooking dinner one night, she saw a post on Facebook about the upcoming Boone vs. Crockett alumni football game and asked him, “If you had a chance to play a football game, would you want to play again?”
If you’ve ever played high school football, I’m sure you can imagine his response. For a high school football coach like Josh: “It would almost be blasphemy for me not to play.” Every guy who’s ever hung up the helmet for the last time knows that feeling-that urge to play again. For Josh Edens, the opportunity is irresistible. To say this guy has had a passion for football since childhood is an understatement. At age 7, Josh faced a difficult decision due to health complications. One option was a partial leg amputation. His one question for the doctor? “What will allow me to play ball?” Josh had the operation as soon as basketball season ended, and in three month’s time had learned to walk again with a prosthetic leg and was out on the field for spring baseball. This fearless determination carried him to a standout high school football career at David Crockett, where he made varsity squad as a freshman. He started all 3 years of high school, and saw Crockett through some of the winningest seasons in its history. A humble hero, Josh praises the value of teamwork on the field: “Football is the only sport where 10 guys can do their job and 1 guy can mess it up. The linebacker is in the trenches, you don’t see lineman’s stats, it is a personal one on one battle- you’re fighting for something, you’re blocking that guy, trying to beat that guy so that somebody else can get through that hole with the ball.” Edens played football in college with success, and went from playing to coaching, never missing a season.
In 2010 he took a leap of faith and accepted the head coaching position at North Green. It was a gutsy move. The school had the longest losing streak in the state of Tennessee, having lost 28 straight games. Josh tackled the situation with his characteristic determination, addressing the team: “I said ‘boys I’m not coming here to lose, you better get it in your head we’re gonna win football games, and shake this loser label.’ I remind them of that daily: Work hard! Self worth is paramount in high school athletics. If they are confident, there is no limit to what they can do.” In two years, Edens has coached the team from record breaking losers to record breaking winners, including two trips to the playoffs. “For things to ever change, somebody has to believe that they can. The talent was there- they just needed somebody to believe in them.” He’s had great support: “There’s a lot of good people around me at that school. David McClain is the best lineman we ever had. He cleared the path for us to be what we are today.” More importantly, Edens acknowledges, “God’s been awful good to me, awful gracious.” And Ashley? “She’s my official.” Edens says with a smile. Ashley’s advice for wives: “It’s just one game. It’s their passion, what they’ve lived for, being there to support them is what they want.” Josh, laughing, added: “If we get hurt you have the ultimate I told you so!” Most guys spend 4 years counting down to graduation, and then spend the rest of their lives hoping to go back. Not everybody gets to play college ball, or pro. The opportunity to play dwindles the further you go. This is the rare chance to get back out there one more time. “It’s one more opportunity to see if you’ve still got it” Josh challenges, “Instead of talking about it, go back out there and do it!”