The Crazy strikes, and Whammo — the person in front of you stops acting rationale. He loses his ability to reason. She becomes one of those people that you just have to get away from. They become really difficult.
It’s ugly. How do you deal, Coach?
Well … you do.
And one way you DO is to look at The Crazy through the lense of rules. Seven simple rules can help you deal. Help you coach when The Crazy person has you in his or her sights.
One thing before we get into the rules … the seven ideas I’m going to present are rules, not laws. There’s some wiggle here, some wishy-wishy, they are not set in stone. Laws don’t move, rules do. So with that out there, here we go:
Rule # 1, The World Is Loaded With People With The Crazy
Sometimes people struck with The Crazy will become part of your world. You know that already, but just in case you didn’t, I think it is important you know that. And I should also (probably) let you in on a little secret. There are people who will come to you and ask, “Hey Coach, how about more starting time for my kid.” And you say “NO,” nicely, and they then go way, nicely. Those people have NOT been inflicted with The Crazy.
People with The Crazy will have a mission, won’t stop until they get it, AND it doesn’t matter who gets runover along the way. That is The Crazy I’m talking about.
“That person just won’t listen to reason” type of crazy.
A “jeez, that person is so-not-being-reasonable-and-prudent” type of thing.
I think I’ve covered that twice, but it was worth repeating.
Rule #2, It’s Not Only Parents Inflicted With The Crazy
The Crazy can strike anyone. I’ve seen referees struck with it, and fans. And this one security guard, at a pro baseball game, whose mission in life had just become to make sure everyone in section AA was not wearing hats.
We like to think it is a parent thing. Nope … it’s a people thing.
Rule #3, Your Own Crazy Makes Other People’s Crazy Worse
Sometimes coaches put The Crazy-Wheel in motion first. “I don’t care what the doctor says, you have to play tomorrow.” That Coach has The Crazy.
“Yeah, I’ve never seen fog as thick as this before and I cannot see a thing, but we are racing this week, we HAVE to go row, now!” The Crazy attacks again.
Once The Crazy-Wheel is spinning, it becomes contagious. Next thing the AD is getting a call at home during dinner from an irate parent, and now the AD has The Crazy. Then he is at your door/cellphone/FB page being Crazy because your Crazy gave a parent The Crazy. See how that works?
Rule #4, Your Crazy Doesn’t Fix Their Crazy (a corollary to Rule 3)
Continuing from Rule #3, when The Crazy lands back on your door step, know this, Crazy does not fix Crazy! Experience speaking here.
Understanding. Love. Peace. Apologies … those fix The Crazy. Those help The Crazy mellow and go away.
Rule #5, Communication Is At The Core Of Reducing The Crazy
Our team broadcasts a weekly communication to parents, alums, friends. It has important info on dates, events, directions. The moment we started doing that I received emails about how that little thing had reduced frustration and inconvenience. I bet that piece of communication reduced more than one episode of The Crazy.
Rule #6, Scrape The Crazy Off Before You Go Home
If an episode of The Crazy has been inflicted on you then, before you leave practice, the playing field, the office … scrape any of The Crazy off. Like dog poop on your shoe, get rid of it, quick. Don’t wait until you get home, because it will stinks, and there might be your own level of The Crazy there … and as we discussed, craziness begets more craziness.
Rule #7, The Crazy Laughs At Boundaries
I’ve heard it espoused that boundaries can protect a coach from being attacked by a person with The Crazy. Forget that.
When you’re dealing with The Crazy, boundaries won’t stop people on a mission. A boundary like, “Do not communicate with coaches 24 hours before a contest” is not help against The Crazy.
People who really wanted to get to the other side of the Berlin Wall tried to get to the other side of the Berlin Wall no matter how big, nasty, and crazy it was.
Rule #8, (Bonus Rule) If You Don’t Take Care Of Yourself, Well Then …
Experiencing The Crazy is part of the price you pay to coach. Exposure to The Crazy will take a toll on you, regardless of where The Crazy comes from. Give yourself recovery time, find some fun, plant a tree. Care for yourself — we need you.
* * * * *
The Crazy can attack at anytime and anyplace. The person with The Crazy needs help through a difficult time. Maybe it was a bad lunch, or something bigger. Be vigilant, be understanding, be loving. When they get to the other side there may be a cool person there. Let’s hope!
- When Coaches Attack … Each Other
- What Every Coach Ought To Know About Being Attacked
- The Zen Of The Games Coaches Play