I’m one of those guys who turns to the sports pages first thing when I open the daily newspaper. Don’t get me going or I could talk all day about the DH rule, zone vs. man coverage, or a thousand other sports-related topics. This is a lifelong sports nut coming at you.
However, one thing has changed since my glory days when I hit a grand slam in a little league all-star game with both my dad and Stan Musial watching (long story). There’s nothing resembling hero worship left in me when it comes to athletes and coaches. Though I still enjoy watching them perform, it dawned on me long ago that the sports world is populated by eminently fallible human beings.
That’s because to reach the top ranks in any sport requires an all-consuming commitment to develop those athletic skills. Although there are notable exceptions, as a rule the demands don’t leave enough time and energy for the shaping of a well-rounded person. That’s one reason why today’s sports pages are filled with so many police reports.
Nobody personifies sports fanaticism more than football coaches. The big names all seem cut from the same mold of fire-breathing workaholics. Maybe it takes that kind of obsession to be a winner in the NFL or NCAA Div. 1. I wouldn’t know.
However, this I do know. Since at this stage of life I have little use for learning the proper techniques of blocking and tackling, football coaches have nothing to teach me that I have not learned better from persons in other walks of life. Famous coaches are always giving speeches about the lessons their sport teaches that are applicable to the business world or to the great game of life. I think football coaches would do better to instill lessons from the business world in the jocks they inspire to commit and endure mayhem. Such as:
For a real lesson in teamwork, check out the coordination among a crack construction project team, or the handoffs that take place on a busy day in PHC service companies involving CSRs, dispatchers and technicians. It’s a beauty to behold in a well-run company.
In pro football, contracts are voided when crippling injuries render players unable to perform. And next time you’re listening to a college football coach prattle on about loyalty, ask him how many scholarships he’s revoked of “student-athletes” still able to attend class, but no longer of use on the gridiron due to a knee blown out on behalf of dear old alma mater.
How much do you want to bet that screaming and humiliation won’t work?