It’s currently 2:23 a.m. and I’m laying in bed listening to the rain pelt off my roof.
But the rain, which I don’t think has stopped since sometime Sunday, is not the reason why I can’t sleep.
Time for a story, which will lead up to the reason for this column.
It’s my sophomore year and we are at The Hatchet House for a dual meet (wrestling) against Washington.
In my match, it’s the third period and I’m in on the bottom position.
My opponent hits me with a pretty good and legal crossface.
It caught me off guard and I belted out a four-letter word which is frowned upon.
I ended up winning my match, but my outburst cost our team a point.
We ended up winning the dual, but my coach still was not too happy with the team deduction.
The next day in practice, was probably the toughest practice I’ve been a part of in any sport at any level.
Extra monkey rolls, fish in the barrel, stair laps, more monkey rolls.
It was brutal.
But it got my attention.
Never did I have another outburst which cost my team a point.
I saved those for behind closed doors.
Where am I going with this?
Glad you asked.
My high school wrestling coach was the best coach I’ve ever been around.
He made sure each and everyone of us were held accountable.
But there was so much more.
He taught us life lessons.
He taught us what it meant to be part of a team and always gave us analogies of how it would translate into the real world.
It wasn’t all just about what happened during those six minutes on the mat.
He taught us the importance of going to class and putting school work above anything else.
He prepared us for life.
How to become better men.
Mr. “B” is what every school needs today.
He retired from coaching on his own terms, although there may have been some health concerns as well.
But my point is, school board members did not force him out.
He was successful, but there were also some lean years mixed in there as well.
But I’m sure the board did not bother him because of his win/loss record. They let him do what he did best because he was a teacher and a role model to all us us.
And really, isn’t that what all teachers and coaches should be?
A role model?
I wanted to get into coaching because of Mr. “B”.
I did eventually dabble into some coaching at the junior high level and as an assistant on a couple high school teams.
But now I am glad I switched career paths and write about sports instead of coaching them.
There are way too many hidden agendas in school systems today.
Coaches simply can’t just coach the way they want.
Being a good teacher and a role model is just not good enough for some people.
Coaches have to worry about not upsetting the wrong person. Whether it be a parent who just doesn’t “get it” and/or a board member who they rubbed the wrong way.
I’ve seen too many great coaches and even better role models get steamrolled by the latter — most recently three in a community I used to work in.
It’s a sad, sad story.
The following is from an article published on the National Federation of State High School Association:
“It is up to school board members and administrators to stay above the fray and keep athletics in its proper perspective – an extension of the classroom.”
And perhaps the most resounding comment from the same article is as follows:
“...after all, it’s high school athletics and nobody is perfect except a school board and administration when they support the coach.”
It’s an absolute shame there’s not more of those “perfect” scenarios where those in charge choose to have the backs of their coaches and/or administrators instead of siding with a select few disgruntled parents.
Those select few ADULTS may get a win, but it’s the KIDS who are ultimately punished and lose.
We have to be better than this!
Travis David is the sports editor of the Daily Clarion. He can be reached at 812-220-4883 or by email at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @PDCprepsports and @Tdavid_21.