Although it wasn’t one of the most-read articles on www.emissourian.com, last week’s Craig’s Corner hit a chord among area sports enthusiasts.
Many places I went last week, the column was a major topic of conversation. And, taking a look at things, I’ve decided that one of the toughest jobs out there these days is as a coach.
We’ve seen what happened to Dave Luecke and Brad Conway. And others have left the profession for a variety of reasons which include parent and fan behavior. I’ve seen too many good people forced from the coaching ranks for one reason or another or leaving because it’s no longer a worthy endeavor. It’s time to reverse that trend.
Coaches should be lauded for doing what they do to ensure that the young athletes learn how to play the games correctly, learn the lessons sports teach and absorb the life lessons competitive sports bring.
Folks, these coaches do the best for the future of youngsters both as athletes and as people. By getting used to working under pressure, it’s going to prepare them for the world beyond high school. The biggest complaint now seems to be that the coach yelled at the kids.
You know, in my day, the parents would ask their kids, “What did you do to make the coach yell at you?” These days, it seems to be “The coach yelled at my kid, so we need to fire him/her.”
Nobody can fault a parent for defending his/her child. But get the full story of what’s going on before flying off the handle. Most coaches will talk about what has happened in a private setting with parents.
There isn’t a single full-time coach in this area. Even the coaches at East Central College are only on part-time pay. Most do it for the kids, not themselves. That means every coach does what they do on top of a full-time job, whether it be teaching or another job. Heaven help your child if they choose a military career. I don’t think a parent is going to make much headway in going against a drill instructor.
And, many coaches invest far more than they receive in compensation to get the job done right.
Many coaches have been further hamstrung by MSHSAA regulations concerning contact dates, dead periods, etc., during the summer. Since when did MSHSAA become the NCAA?
In many cases, coaching is a volunteer job. I’ve seen how much work coaches put in and how little they are compensated for it.
For some reason, it seems that parents of freshmen seem to have the most issues as they are unfamiliar with high school sports. Many of these parents need to be educated about the team concept. When I was helping to coach a competitive club volleyball team last year, one concept that worked was getting the parents to treat every player on the team as they would treat their own child. If you can get them to buy into that concept, it’s a major step in the right direction.
There’s a good chance that some of the tension is brought about because college scholarships are so coveted these days. Club sports is huge business. Parents want to do everything possible to make sure their kids have the best chance to earn scholarships and relieve some of the burden of having to pay for college. I happen to know that there are scholarships out there for deserving athletes, although it might be at Alaska Military Junior College. I also know that there are many walk-on spots out there as well, where if an athlete performs well enough, he or she can earn a scholarship after that first year.
I know the coaches receive the same sort of criticism.
Having seen some of the most recent stories, who really would want to coach?
Some incidents I’ve heard about this year:
• Parent challenges coach to a fight because the team isn’t beating the communities that the kids in that age group had beaten prior to getting into high school.
• Parent openly cheers when player starting in front of his/her child makes a mistake. Behavior becomes obvious enough that parent of player being cheered against finally has to confront the cheering parent in the stands.
And for those two incidents, there are many others I don’t want to publish or haven’t been told.
Folks, this has got to change!
Support your coaches. Communicate with them and everyone can get along. We don’t want to develop a reputation as an area which is rough on coaches, therefore discouraging talented coaches from wanting to come here.
Then, you’ve got to settle for the next tier of coaches, people who might be looking for personal gain rather than trying to make sure the athletes learn the proper skills and fundamentals.
Or, you get the other option, schools cutting teams because they can’t secure anyone to coach.
It’s your decision.
Here’s something else I’ve been pondering for a while and finally had a spot to use it.
“The Rules” for College Conferences.
1. Conferences no longer can use geographical references to notate where they’re located.
A lot of the conferences with geographic nomenclatures no longer even count. Isn’t it hard enough to teach the children about geography without having to explain that Colorado is nowhere near the Pacific Ocean, Saint Louis isn’t near the Atlantic Ocean, Mizzou is not in the southeastern part of the nation, etc? Colleges are supposed to be institutions of higher learning, right?
2. Conferences no longer can use numerical references.
Is there even a conference out there still which has the number of teams advertised in its title? We know the Big 12 doesn’t have 12, the Big Ten has more than that. What about the others, like the Pac-10, Atlantic-10, etc? I’m sure they are paradoxical in their numbers as well.
3. Conferences may only use names which represent truth in advertising.
In other words, the Big 12 Conference legally must change its name to the “Texas Longhorn League and Guests.” The Big Ten must become “The Big Money.” The Southeastern Conference needs to change to “Big Football and Some Other Sports Thrown In.”
4. Green must be included in every conference logo.
Folks, they’re in it to make money and lots of it. That’s the only color the high-end folks believe in anyway.
There is a LOT of money involved with college sports and it’s a shame there isn’t a way to give the athletes something more than their “education.” Yep, they’re getting an education, an education in being exploited. I guess the colleges did learn something from the political parties after all.