Mike Rice, the ex-Rutgers basketball coach, has many troubles right now. This post is not about him. It is about me and you, and the vocation of coaching.
I’ve been struggling all week on how to respond (or if I even should respond) to the video clips, stories, and subsequent firing of the Rutgers men’s basketball coach. So many folks have chimed in on the matter.
What could I add?
There are stories about how Rutgers blinked, about the abuses of past coaches such as Bobby Knight and Paul Bryant. About the decay of the NCAA. The terrible toll paid by student athletes.
Suddenly it dawned on me today that something is missing — and that something is the good coaches.
Who Do We Think We Are?
I’m one of the good-coaches. And you are to.
We wear the white hats. We care about the people we coach. We are involved in coaching for more than just the win. It is about the people and the experience they have. I know that is true about me. How do I know it about you? — you wouldn’t be reading this if it wasn’t.
We are the good guys (and gals), and there a lot of us. An old coach used to tell me you can divide people into 33%. Thirty-three percent are nice, thirty-three are okay, and the other third are mean. That leaves one percent unaccounted for.
He went on to say that at either end of the spectrum live half of that 1%. To the left of *nice* are .05%, those are the *builders*.
Builders are those folks that go the extra mile to do the right thing, for the right reason. And they build relationships, communities, dreams, hope.
To the far right of everyone else is that small niche of mean people . . . those are the *destroyers*. They do what that name suggests. They are the ones out in the press ripping down what good coaches do.
Are We As Bad As Them?
A fair question. Are we just as guilty as the destroyers because we are not showing people, we are not telling people, what good coaches do, how good coaches act?
By not speaking out, not against them, but about us, the good guys, are we as bad as them? Dr. King said, “He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who perpetrates it.” Is that us?
Why do we let ourselves be represented by this one .05%? That is not who we are, that is not what we do, and that is not how good coaches do it. If we let ourselves be defined by Jerry Sandusky, or Mike Rice, then we are doing as much of an injustice to the vocation of coaching as those destroyers are.
Just who do we think we are? And just as important a question is “Who does everyone else think we are?”
There is a battle going on for the heart-and-soul of coaching.
PS: And here is what I’m going to do — find a story about a good coach and tell 5 people. A good story about a good coach to five. It is a small step, but so was the first step Edmund Hillary took on his way to the top of Mt. Everest. You???