Sunday, October 26, 2008

tough love

Everyone who has had the misfortune of getting caught in one of my football-themed diatribes knows I would not be the kind of coach who gives out there-there pats; unlike my students who are still growing up and figuring out how to behave (and even so, my there-theres are limited in supply), college & professional football players are adults who ought to know by now how to behave.

Throughout my time at WSU, the Cougars' coach gave me fits every week with his too-kind grandfatherly way of consoling & excusing players who clearly needed a swift kick in the ass, or at least a few minutes of reflection on the bench. I had classes with many of those jokers who didn't seem to get that they were part of a team, and that their actions - both heroic and idiotic - spoke for everyone.

Today I was heartened to see Mike Singletary, interim coach of the San Francisco 49ers, get on one of his players for unsportsmanlike conduct. Some coaches would yell at a player, some would ignore him, some would seethe and stomp on the sidelines; Mike Singletary first benched Vernon Davis then, after consideration, told him to go take a shower and call it a day. What I love the most about this action is that Singletary did it without anger - his point was that Davis was not being a team player and so needed to leave the game to get himself together. Genius.

I hope I can be like Mike with my own kids and in my classroom. (Though I will forgo the 49ers gear).