You wouldn’t have known it had you seen him laboring in his later years to advance towards a suitable vantage point where he could seat himself near the Seahawk bench, and cheer on the boys he helped coach.
Moving ever so slowly behind a walker, he was unable to stride as triumphantly or forcefully as he had years before – when he put his muscles to work as a lineman for the Apalachicola Sharks, and later as he demonstrated proper techniques to the boys as an assistant to the many coaches over the years of the varsity football programs.
But still, for every minute he breathed life on this earth, Ashley Teat walked the walk.
His death Sunday at the age of 48 shook to the core those who knew him and knew his dedication to Seahawk athletics.
His deep Southern roots marked how he spoke, his drawl a little foreign to the ears of Yankees accustomed to precise articulation, and defined how he would “talk the talk.”
But everyone can say without fear of even a hint of contradiction, that for every minute of every day he was granted to be on earth, Mr. Ashley walked the walk.
As a member of the Carrabelle Christian Center, he certainly could pronounce the precepts and teachings of his savior Christ Jesus, and his talk in that regard was impeccable..
But it was how he walked the walk that made him an especially beloved embodiment of his faith.
His demonstration of courtesy and love for others rolled from his massive frame as if from an ever-flowing stream.
His encouragement of others, especially of the players whose lives he knew he was shaping, wasn’t bitter or stinging, but was like spoonfuls of honey to someone whose actions were under the weather.
His faith spoke clear and unmistakable in each word he uttered, echoed in the words his aunt wrote on Facebook in her nephew’s honor.
“If he could say one thing to you today, it would be to humble yourself and accept Christ Jesus as your savior. Then he would encourage us that while we are here on this earth, we should love one another. Show someone else a little more kindness today. Be a little more forgiving. Be a little more accepting of those who are different than you. Show a little more love for others.”
There are many who talk the talk, and they are to be praised in the way their words can resonate.
But it is a rarer few whose lives fully embody that spirit, and who radiate to others the fullness of God’s loving presence in each word they utter, each action they take, each effect they have on those whose lives they teach and touch.
Ashley Teat walked that walk, and those who knew and loved him pray for comfort for his family in their grief.
The family asks that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Franklin County Seahawks football program in memory of Ashley Teat. Checks can be made to 1250 U.S. 98, Eastpoint, FL 32328. For further information call (850) 653-7518.
On Saturday, August 6 there will be a procession from Donnie Wilson Sports Complex in Apalachicola to the Carrabelle Christian Center, 142 River Road. The family welcomes anyone who wishes to join in to arrive at the Complex by 9 a.m. when the escort will leave promptly. Visitation at the Center is from 10 to 11 a.m., when the funeral service will begin.