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Belief System Should Have No Off Button

By Staff | Mar 16, 2016

Moments are what we aim for – being crowned champions, accepting the diploma, watching your child take his or her first steps.

These are things that last a lifetime. We then take particular directions that lead us down the paths of life as we experience exponential gains down the road.

Being a winner in life, however, extends beyond the scoreboard, the track and the field. Championship rings are sold on eBay by ring holders who found themselves either broke, in legal trouble, or just plain desperate. If only they applied the same mindset to their off-the-field life as they did to their game. If only they embraced the same belief system (hereafter referred to as “B.S.”) they held when they were on the field of play. As we all know everything is not (“BS”) there are many things we learn as we grow, that help us through the trials of life, I find that I still hold true many of the life lessons I learned during my playing days. The greatest of which may be respect for your elders.

That is not the way many parents view coaches these days! Coaches are not allowed to hold their student-athletes accountable anymore. Raising their voices to get the attention of an athlete is called bullying. Motivating with persuasion to give your best is called bullying. Coaches are called into the administration building for simply doing their job to create the best team that they can. Coaches are confronted in grocery stores by parents over their coaching strategies, and told not to talk to their son at all. How can you coach a kid without talking to them?

If only we could all recognize the game is not confined to the minutes on the shot clock or the seconds between the start and finish line. It’s time we expand our understanding of winning the game from four quarters or two halves to a period that spans a lifetime. Make no mistake, we’re all playing the long game whether we like it or not, whether we know it or not, whether we want to or not. In the game of life, anybody can win, but not everyone is a winner or believes they are! My point here is that political correctness has created a “soft” environment, and is the main reason that coaches are not respected like the good old days.

I learned very early on that the coach is always right. This isn’t true today. Today, coaches just are not respected like they were for many decades. It goes hand in hand with the respect that all leadership positions have these days. It’s in nearly every facet of life, everyone wants to be the “Boss.” It’s a cut throat society. Like Rodney Dangerfield once joked “I don’t get no respect,” can you feel the frustration? Think about it, even our leaders have no respect, we get on facebook or twitter and of course we know more than they do. We go to work and no one wants to do anything, they know more than the supervisor,why is this? Well the answer is simple, “No Respect.” And just to clarify, it all starts at home, kids are led by example and the parents should be setting that example.

More often than not however it’s the coaches or teachers that mold the kids into good citizens. After watching the regional game between Magnolia and St. Mary’s it was evident there was some great coaching going on. Both teams came to play and Coach Tallman dug deep to hold on for the win. Tallman and staff knew at halftime they were in a dogfight. They made a few adjustments and came out on top.

Coach Barnhart from St. Mary’s employed the near perfect game plan. He made a decision to try and stop the state’s best player, and for the most part it worked. But that’s not an easy task as Preston Boswell has shown all year, you might double or triple team him but he’ll still get his 30 or more. Tallman kept his confidence in his star and with the help of some fine team mates they came out on top. I can tell you there is respect for both of these coaches and their staffs. Yet many will find fault.

The trend has most definitely gotten worse over the years. The decision-making of coaches is questioned today like never before and when parents question coaches, kids lose respect of those coaches. I will always maintain that elderly respect my coaches so rightfully deserved.

My dad wasn’t there, but coach was. Thank you Coach! My dad didn’t teach me what you have taught me, and I thank you for that.

He never taught me how to finish a sprint; how to push myself further than I thought possible, but you did. My dad told me grades were important, but he never checked on them like you did. You’ve taught me everything I know about leadership. I’ve never heard my dad define love like you have; I think that helped me over the years.

He thought I should get the ball more, but I trusted you Coach. Thank you for always telling me, and the team how proud you were of us. That meant a lot, Coach. My dad never ever told me that he loved my mom. But you constantly reminded us that you loved your wife. I think that’s so cool. I love the way you dropped everything when we walked in to your office.

Thank you for truly wanting the best for us. I know you cared. Thank you for hugging us. It made us feel good. You and the other coaches really treated us fair, like the same way you would want to be treated. I loved it when you high fived us in the hallways. Coach, I didn’t know if my dad believed in me. But I knew you did. Thank you. Coach, you’re a much better role model than my own father. Wow, I can’t believe I said that, but it is true.

I’m old now, but respect is more important to me now than ever before. Thank you for respecting me, Coach. That’s the kind of respect we had for our coaches, becsause that’s the kind of coaches we had. We had those intimidating coaches, until you really got to know them and you found out they cared more about their players than anyone else. They always remembered you, years down the road, even the Little League coaches you had, remained your friends. Many of them were your father figure, they never forgot you. You didn’t have to be the star of the team, they were there to help you. There were lessons to be learned, lessons which included winning and losing, sportsmanshipand respect.

I see this a lot among kids today. They need the help of a good hardworking mentor to lead them in the right direction, to keep them straight, to help them understand the consequences of their mistakes. Sports is the next best thing they have to turn to. Number one is God and their church. The home life is definitely lacking, to much negative talk, to much foul language, to much neglect.

The other day I heard a young track member complaining about a drill. He said what’s up with this, it doesn’t have anything to do with conditioning. The wise old coach said, “You liked that one didn’t you?” Then he said, “Mental toughness.” We did it for mental toughness, he said. “It doesn’t have much to do with conditioning the body, it’s all about conditioning the mind.” Parents today need to put more time into helping their children grow into mature adults and less time worrying about doing the coaches job.

We are fortunate here locally to have way more supportive parents than unsupportive. We also have, if I were to guess, about a 95 percent respect rate among our youth who are involved in sports. Are we without problems? Certainly not, but the good far outweighs the bad. After talking with a friend who lives in a large near by city, our problems seem non existent. In many areas around the nation, the complaints bypass the coach and are taken directly to the school boards or higher ups, Many times I’m told the coaches are confronted in public while with their family. This should never happen!

Lets all get a grip on things, and as I said earlier, take a look at the big picture. Life is not always fair by any means, but we must prepare our children for the life experiences to come as we travel through this world and prepare for the next. Lets have a great spring sports season, support your team, kids and coaches.