Letters to My Coach: St. Crispin's Day

When I was in high school, I played varsity football for Coach Mike Vertucci. Coach V was a master at finding creative ways to motivate his players through quotes and speeches. We often found photocopies of General George Patton’s speeches or Rocky quotes hanging on the walls of our locker room. Coach took pride in motivating the young men on his team to go to battle each Friday night.

One of Coach's favorite speeches was the St. Crispin's Day speech from Shakespeare's famous play, King Henry V. On October 25, 1415, Henry’s army was in Northern France preparing for the Battle of Agincourt, which happened to fall on the same date as St. Crispin’s Day, commemorating the death of two Christian martyrs.

Henry’s army was beaten, discouraged, and facing insurmountable odds against a French army nearly six times its size. Doubt started creeping within the camp. In fact, the situation seemed so hopeless that his men kissed the ground they stood on, because they felt it would be their final resting place.

Knowing the odds were against them, Henry V tapped into his most significant weapon. Henry V was a master motivator who tapped into his men’s pride and yearning for significance in one of the most famous parts of his monologue:

“From this day to the ending of the world,

But we in it shall be remember’d;

We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;

For he to-day that sheds his blood with me

Shall be my brother; be he ne’er so vile,

This day shall gentle his condition:

And gentlemen in England now a-bed

Shall think themselves accursed they were not here,

And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks

That fought with us upon Saint Crispin’s day.”

While opinions on this speech may vary, it undeniably touches on a profound aspect of the human experience. We are fragile beings, who fear death and yearn for significance.

Have you ever felt the pressure of confronting overwhelming challenges, much like King Henry V's army? A pending health crisis? Divorce? Financial difficulty? Job loss?

I write this after learning that my former coach faces a difficult battle ahead. It is in these moments when odds seem like giants and hope seems overshadowed and as trivial as the dirt beneath our feet. In moments like this, the battle between the ears can make us feel insignificant and alone, much like King Henry’s troops. However, there is a much more powerful alternative.

In the movie The Straight Story, the main character, Alvin Straight, is a 70-year-old man who learns that his estranged brother has had a stroke. Realizing that time is not on his side, he embarks on a 370-mile trip from Iowa to Wisconsin on a riding mower and trailer.

Along the way, he meets a teenage runaway who is scared of what her parents will say when they find out that she’s pregnant. Sitting by a campfire, Alvin is approached by the girl, and he offers her food and conversation. At the campfire, Alvin tells a story about a game he used to play with his children. He would give each of them a stick and say, "Try to break it," and they could because individually we are weak.

Then he would say, "Tie those sticks together and try to break them." And they couldn't. He would explain, "That's family. That's a bundle. That's a family. You can’t break family."

You see, King Henry V and Alvin Straight both knew a powerful secret about overcoming overwhelming odds - the power of WE.

WE need each other.

WE can overcome together. 

Please join me in keeping my coach in your thoughts and prayers! I love you coach and stand with you in your battle! 


Digitize and Summarize Written Text with ChatGPT

The more I use artificial intelligence the more I am finding ways to save time and improve accessibility. I recently came across a cool way of using Chat GPT to to extract written text from Post-it notes, whiteboards, and chart paper. This is a game-changer for digitizing text or summarizing notes. Check out two ideas for making this happen!

Idea #1: Digitize Written Text

You can extract text from any image with written text. Take a picture of a Post-it note filled with ideas, chart paper from your last faculty meeting, or written notes from a whiteboard or smartboard. Then ask ChatGPT to “Convert to Text.” Your text will be instantly converted into a digital format, allowing you to import it into Google Docs or Word.

Idea #2: Summarize Text

Need extra support with note-taking? Take a picture of lecture notes from a whiteboard, Smartboard, chart paper, or notebook. Then ask ChatGPT to “summarize the written text.” ChatGPT will instantly produce a summary that saves time and provides additional support for students who struggle with note-taking.


As the features of ChatGPT continue to advance, we can find new ways to make simple tasks even easier, such as organizing ideas, summarizing notes, and digitizing brainstorming sessions. Want to see this in action? Check out my video below for more information.

Matt Bergman (2024)

Letters to My Coach: St. Crispin's Day

When I was in high school, I played varsity football for Coach Mike Vertucci. Coach V was a master at finding creative ways to motivate his ...