Caldwell Brings Shakespeare To Fed Hock

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“Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player, that struts and frets his hour upon the stage, and then is heard no more; it is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”

That quote from the fifth act in William Shakespeare’s Macbeth can be heard coming from Federal Hocking head coach Howie Caldwell’s mouth at any time during one of his practices.

Caldwell was an English teacher for 38 years, and during those 38 years, taught Shakespeare and his classic plays such as: Romeo and Juliet, Julius Cesar and Macbeth.  

 “I like Macbeth,” Caldwell said. “I think you can tie anything into a lot of current things. People get greedy and they want to get better and they are never satisfied with what they have and they want more. Shakespeare was born in 1564 and some of his plays are still popular today. He is one of the greatest playwrights of all time.”

It has been 400 years since Shakespeare has written his famous plays, and it’s no surprise that teenagers today are not fans of Shakespeare. Yet, Caldwell was able to find a way to make students enjoy the classic plays.

“I buy the plays on tapes,” Caldwell stated. “The students have a very difficult time understanding when they just read it. It is hard to understand if you just read it by yourself. After two or three passages I would stop the tape and break it down. Most of the students actually liked the plays when they understood them.”

Because of the massive amount of knowledge Caldwell has of the “Bard of Avon,” it’s no surprise to his players when he mentions him during practice.

“Coach will always ask us why Caesar was scared of Cassius,” senior forward Peyton Seele said. “When he does pull it out, you better remember it. If you don’t, you will probably be running.”

Caldwell and the Lancers started the season cold, losing their first five of seven games. Caldwell, using his knowledge of Shakespeare, knew the best was still to come.

“In every Shakespearean play, the climax to the play occurs in the third act,” Caldwell said. “Our first act wasn’t very good. Our players didn’t perform the way we though they would. Act two we started to get better and I think we are getting ready to start act three, four and five.”

He was right. Since starting 2-5, the Lancers have won six of their last seven, five of those wins coming in their last five games.

Say what you want about Coach Caldwell and his coaching tactics, but his players wouldn’t want to play for anyone else.

“Coach is just so inspirational,” Seele said. “He is probably one of the most inspirational coaches I have ever had. Football was always kind of my sport, but once I started playing for Coach, he decided I have no choice but to love basketball.”

“I love playing for him,” senior guard Alfy Nichols said. “I wouldn’t rather play for another coach. He will ride you pretty hard sometimes, but he always says, ‘Punish bad behavior and reward good behavior’.”

Though he loves the game of basketball, Caldwell knows that there is life after basketball and high school.

“In the 38 years that I taught, I always had students learn the poem ‘The Road Not Taken’ by Robert Frost,” Caldwell stated. “We told all of our graduates to take the road less traveled. If you take that road, you are going to be a leader. Everyone else will follow you. I don’t care if you are going to be a farmer, broadcaster or chemist, you take that path less traveled by.”

Caldwell is trying to get his players to understand how fast their high school time will pass.

“Their four years here go very quickly, extremely quick,” Caldwell said. “They have to grab everything they can possible grab ahold of because you are a shooting star.”