Ty Holmes instructs his Huntington High players during a timeout.

My name is coach/servant Ty Holmes from Huntington, West Virginia. I am 42 years old. I have two children, a 21-year-old son and a daughter who is 17.

I, as an African American man, father, coach, mentor and Christian, feel it has been difficult at times. I’ve seen and heard a lot of racial things growing up, as well as in my career as a coach. The hate someone can have for someone just for the color of their skin is heartbreaking. It’s even hard to hear people say, “I don’t see color.” God created us all different but in His image, in His likeness. It’s OK to be different, but not to make others feel “less than” or unworthy. It’s not OK to not value another person’s life because of the color of their skin. I have always been one to try and bridge the gap between races and ethnicities. It has not always been easy. People see what they want.

As a coach, in the past, I have had my kids called out of their names, I’ve heard other coaches say racial things and make sure that I heard them, and I have even had officials say, “We don’t do things that way out here, monkeys.” I had to take my team off the court one game years ago because a coach was telling his kids to hurt the black kids and the officials and administrators were letting it happen.

It’s time to get comfortably uncomfortable. It’s time now for people to evaluate themselves — red, yellow, black or white. Ask yourself, “What’s in my heart and why is that in my heart? How does God feel about what’s in my heart? Are we working daily to unify the body of Christ to become one?” It’s time to talk about these things. Before we can stand, we need to sit and talk.

I can’t see how someone can go crazy about a animal being mistreated but not see that it’s not OK for a black person to be mistreated or hated. We have to see each other in the eyes of God. Again, we were all created in His image.

I take pride in teaching my kids and my players to respect authority. I don’t coach just for wins and losses, but to shape young men of all backgrounds and walks of life to become good people. I do my best to lead by example to show how to live a life with a godly love for all. My mother and grandmother always taught me that you cannot help how people treat you, but you can help how you respond and how you treat others.

TY HOLMES is the boys basketball coach at Huntington High School. The Huntington native has held that position since 2018.

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