Coaches, parents, and players

From the Sidelines

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As Spring approaches, three things become clearer to me; (1) Spring sports are prepping for their seasons, and (2) I am going to be 70 in a few days and that means I am fortunate to have lived this long and (3) I think I should pass on what I have learned in my time on Earth.  I am definite about the first two…….the third?……not so much, but here goes.

COACHES

Coaches are having a harder time now doing their job than ever before. Society has gotten much more bold and cruel to each other. Coaches are just one of two professions in sports (the other is officials) in which most are totally under appreciated.  Coaches make a huge impact on a young person’s life, and they should get as much help as possible from their schools, athletic director, booster clubs and cities as can be afforded.

Coach, I know how tough your job is, but its importance to a young athletes life cannot be overlooked.  You should be totally prepared, willing to withstand the abuse, and lead by example with your work ethic.  You are a huge billboard for your community and school, and IF you can’t stand the pressure, AND think you know it all, then get out.

Most coaches quit not because of the pressure on them, most can take it, but the pressure and abuse their family takes usually does them in.  I hope that changes soon, but until people become more civil to each other, that is not gonna change.

Your school board and Athletic Director should not allow unruly parents and students to partake in that nonsense.  Yelling at a coach or official is one thing, accosting them in the parking lot after the game is something else.  Those people should be banned from all future athletic activities, and they should make it stick!

On the other hand, you are a coach, not a God!  You are not Vince Lombardi or Bill Belichick, you coach Jr. High and High School, so TEACH THE FUNDAMENTALS, sportsmanship, and lead by example. Be honest with the athlete and tell them what they need to do to improve, or start.  Coach, I appreciate you and know how much you influence young people……Keep trying and God Bless your efforts!

PARENTS

This may sting a little bit, but I see too many parents at their sons and daughters games acting like it is life and death; IT’S A GAME. One game is not going to decide your child’s future, let them enjoy it without being embarrassed by mom and dad.  If you are one of those parents who have to yell at the coach, referee, and players, to show how much you THINK you know about the game, then do us all a favor and STAY HOME!

Encourage your young athlete, not embarrass them. Officials and coaches make mistakes, all humans do, don’t you make one by acting like a jackass and embarrassing yourself, the school, and your child!

One thing my father taught my brother and I was once you start something, finish it. My parents never missed one game of my brother and I when we played, and my parents did a lot for Greenville High School. My dad, Everett “Bud” Stegall, was one of the original founders of the “TIDAL WAVE” and once donated an old box truck to the band to haul their instruments around.

Mom and Dad led by example of what parents can and should do for Danny and I, and for the school.  Please, be better fans and parents and help, not hinder nor embarrass your young athlete or the coaching staff or school.  You are part of that team!

PLAYERS

It is easy as an athlete to think you are working hard at your chosen sport, putting in the time and effort, but are you really?  One of my favorite sports lessons and maybe you all should write this down is this: “DON’T BE MAD AT THE RESULTS YOU DIDN’T GET FROM THE WORK YOU DIDN’T DO.”

Are you working out in the offseason? Are you keeping your grades up and setting an example for others? Can you ask more of yourself?  It is hard to prepare for your chosen sport, but it is vital that you do.

One great example is our Greenville Girls Softball teams.  Look at how they work down at the Academy in the offseason and preseason. They don’t have to, but in order to uphold the standard of excellence they have achieved, they know they must out work the other teams.  If you are one of those athletes that works hard and doesn’t play as much as you think you should, DON’T QUIT, talk to the coach and see how you can improve. He will be more than happy to help you.

Do not buy into the idea that the coach likes someone more than you, or it’s because of their “name”. That is bull! Any coach wants his BEST players playing, period.  There is another old saying you should remember: IT IS A COACHES JOB TO FIND SOMEONE WHO IS BETTER TO REPLACE YOU; IT IS YOUR JOB TO SEE THAT HE DOESN’T!”  Remember: Out work, out think, out hustle the others and you will be rewarded.

Well, there you have it, what I know in my 60 plus years of playing sports. Sport is a great teacher, and can stick with you for life.  Embrace the work and effort, and it will pay off in later years.  Coaches, keep up the good work, Parents, be supportive and set an example, Players, OUT WORK THE OTHER GUYS AND GIRLS! 

That’s the way I see it, through old experienced eyes………from the sidelines.