In John Grisham’s novel Bleachers, Coach Eddie Rake exemplifies the qualities of a good man by helping the community, school, and his players. Rake supports his players by sharing his life lessons and pushing them to limits they did not believe they would ever see. He contributes his time and talents for many years at Messina High making it the school it has grown to be today. The Messina community manages to come closer than ever before thanks to Eddie Rake.
Eddie Rake connects well with everyone in the Messina community because of his goodness and reaches out to many people. For example, Rake puts Messina on the map as soon as he starts working at Messina High as the head football coach. Coach Eddie Rake makes sure that all of the surrounding communities know about Messina. Eddie Rake extends a hand out to those children without fathers.
Reverend Collis Suggs describes Rake’s goodness when he states, “ He organized fishing rodeos for kids with no fathers. Typically, he never sought recognition for any of this” (216). Finally, Rake gives his home and money to others that need it more. Coach Rake keeps his door open to all abandoned and abused children, and provides food, clothing, and sometimes tuition to those who cannot pay for it. Eddie Rake helps whoever, whenever, in the Messina community and is well-respected by everyone because of his generosity and goodness.
Messina High, as a part of the larger community, also benefits from the goodness of Coach Rake. Coach Eddie Rake helps the community when he pays for new band uniforms. Many people do not believe the booster club should give all of their donations to the football team, so Rake uses $20,000 and spends it on new band uniforms, showing his goodness. Reverend Suggs proclaims Rake’s good deeds as he says, “ Eddie Rake was the first white man who ever yelled at me and made me like it. Once I realized that he truly did not care the color of my skin, then I knew I would follow him anywhere. He hates injustice” (216).
Not only does Rake support the other clubs and teams, Eddie Rake integrates them as well which makes Messina High different than any other school around. Finally, Coach Rake creates a winning team at Messina High. For example, the Streak lasts for 84 games, and Rake leads every second of that streak. Coach Eddie expresses his goodness in his school spirit, support, and coaching. Rake’s players, who play for Messina High, past and present, take Rake’s goodness and lessons and apply them to their everyday lives. For example, Eddie Rake motivates Silo Mooney to open a successful chop shop.
Silo Mooney learns from the mistakes he makes, and he grows up as a man Rake loves. Coach Eddie Rake also inspires Mal Brown, he explains this when he states, “ Rake. Eddie Rake. When I was hangin’ on for dear life, under that boat, I didn’t think about my momma or my dad or my girlfriend, I thought about Rake. I could hear him barkin’ at us at the end of practice when we were runnin’ sprinits” (151). Mal Brown is saved by Rake’s words while he is undergoing a near death situtation. The final player, Nat Sawyer, and Coach Rake share a very close friendship. Rake helps Nat open up about himself, and he assists Nat in opening a coffee shop which now runs successfully in Messina. Eddie Rake’s words and actions, on and off the field, affect his players for the better for the rest of their lives.
By helping the community, school, and his players, Coach Eddie Rake shows what it means to be a good man. Rake expresses his goodness when giving back to the community and Messina High. His players benefit from his goodness on and off the field while succeeding because of him after graduation. As Dave Matthews, for the Dave Matthews Band, once sang, “ I am no superman. I have no reasons for you.” These few words explain Coach Rake because he knows he has made many mistakes that he will try to forgive himself for, but his goodness overcomes over all the bad deeds.