29 years coaching experience/ 7 years as a varsity boys' basketball coach, now assisting

Monday, November 11, 2013

Something to Remember

When I was younger and much smarter than I am now, I thought I was the center of the universe (I used the word "I" four times in the opening sentence alone!).  I believed as a basketball coach/ baseball coach that I could single handedly through my shear will win games.  I thought that programs didn't exist before me, were lucky to have me, and would be worse when I was gone.  The difference between me and some of you reading this is that I am willing to admit it (see what I did there?  Even though I've come a long way, I still think I am pretty special, I mean, I have a blog with my thoughts and pictures all over it, so I still have many narcissistic tendencies).

Then I had a conversation with the New Washington boys' basketball coaching legend and A.D. at the time, Jim Matthews a few years after I started coaching.  His simple comment was something that I had never heard before, it was shocking, I mean the guy hired ME.  But he said, "Perry, the games are scheduled, they will be played."  It was a simple comment and makes complete sense, but what it said to me was, look, you are doing a good job, but they've played the games before, they will this year and they will when you are gone.  I was minimized to a caretaker for a short time...and it was awesome.  Because he was right.

No matter how great you are, the games have gone on before you were there.  The games will be played while you are there dependent on what kind of time and effort you put in, and once you hang it up, the games will go on again.  In fact, you probably won't be remembered as a coach within a few short years unless they put your name on the court or the gym.  Even then, it will be "who?" by most of the following generations.

It isn't about you.  It isn't about you as a coach, and it isn't about you as player or fan.  It is about the program that you are the caretaker for at that time.  What kind of time and effort will you put in?  What kind of lessons will you teach (and I am not talking about what kind of press, offense, or defense you will put in)?  What will you do with the time that you have where you are?  Will you make it about you or will you understand that there is the weight of both the past and the future on your shoulders?  When you leave, will the program be better off or worse than when you inherited it? 

I guess that is up to you and what you believe.  You may think I am full of it after reading this, and maybe that says a lot of things about a lot of things...or not because I don't claime to know everything and sometimes....anything.