Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Where Does The Buck Stop?

With the inordinate amount of arrests occurring during the NFL off season, you have to ask why are these numbers up? To possibly understand why, you need to look at how we treat our elite athletes.   From the time they show an ability to excel at athletic feats, they are treated differently than the average Joe.   Early on they learn that their physical abilities will earn them free passes where others are paying full admission.   You may try to muster an argument here, but you really can't in full conscience think that everyone gets the same fair shake.   We foster this invincible attitude among the upper crust of sport and then we gasp when they publicly screw up.  Is there a fix, yes, but not a quick one.   The right attitude has to be instilled at an early age by the right people.   Who?    Coaches who understand that winning at all costs is really losing.   Coaches that put the overall development of the athlete to the forefront and not just emphasize the W's and the L's.  

While the great Vince Lombardi had many truly inspiring quotes, his statement paraphrasing Red Sanders of UCLA that "Winning isn’t everything; it’s the only thing!" shows a flaw in the effort to develop the proper mechanisms to cope with a defeat.  Defeats happen, they happen to all of us and learning to deal with them rather than dwell on them helps us learn to adjust and move on.  Lessons are learned from both winning and losing, and we know that more often than not, lessons from a loss are the best lessons learned.  What am I getting at here?   We need to educate our coaches and parents that the areas of hard work, team work and good attitude are just as important as the W-L column in the season's standings. Definitely a hard task, but not impossible.  A coach I worked for had a great statement, "All setbacks are temporary", in this, he told his athletes that you learn from mistakes, move on, and get better.  Now I don't want you to think I am a anti-Lombardi kinda guy, I used one of his quotes through out my coaching career, “It’s not whether you get knocked down, it’s whether you get up.”  

Whoa, this is pretty heavy stuff from a fluff "writer" like me, but that is what happens when you have too much time on your hands and you watch ESPN talk shows.  I hope you will come back when I have regained my usual sarcastic wit and charm....

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