Saturday, July 30, 2011

The High School Lifer

The Lifer in high school football is quite similar to the Nutcutter, but he has a conscience and morals.  The lifer may have wanted to be a head coach starting out, but when he saw the politics and what not involved, he changed his mind.  He loves football, loves the kids he coaches, and can't imagine himself ever doing anything else. 

The lifer may rise to the level of coordinator, but not much else, and he is good with that.  As long as he gets to head out and work with the kids, game plan, and share the ups and downs with those around him. 

The Lifer may be even tempered, or a bit excitable.  He will dog cuss a player one second and hug him the next.  He may be the guy that goes home and forgets about that day's doings, or he may be the guy that watches game tape and fondles himself.  He is a favorite among head coaches and Nutcutters because he poses no threat to them.  His only job is to make them look good, and usually has no problem doing that. 

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

High School Coaches: The Nutcutter

These guys remind me of the story about the scorpion and the frog.  You know what they are, and what they are about, and you know they are going to sting you.  I have stumbled across many of these in my career. They are eager, anxious, driven and willing to kiss the asses that need kissing and throw the bodies under the bus that need to be thrown.  Not that there is anything wrong with being a head coach, but it is the way a Nutcutter goes about it that makes it different.

These are the guys that want to be head coaches, and they want to become one yesterday.  A Nutcutter is usually a little man.  He has unresolved issues from his childhood and playing career, and a Napolean complex that knows no bounds.  When he comes in, he ingratiates himself with the people that can make things happen for him.  He follows them around like a lost puppy and will break his nose if that person ever stops short.  Like the parasite he is, a Nutcutter will suck his host dry and then move on to the next body. 

The Nutcutter knows every coaching job open in the state.  He follows them with interest, especially if it is some one he knows that can further advance his carer.  His loyalty is to himself, and no others.  Like the frog learned, beware the scorpion. 

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

High School Coaches

I guess first and foremost, I need to start with the Head Coach.  This is the man that will get all the credit or blame depending on the game or the season.  If you are in the stands, this man is either the smartest person in the stadium or the dumbest son of a bitch to walk the earth.

In most schools, the head football coach wears two hats.  He is the head football coach as well as the campus athletic director, and in some small districts, the district athletic director.  He is generally in charge of all athletics on campus, makes all hiring decisions, and must put out fires on all fronts.  Despite his devotion to football, he must also devote time and energy to the other sports as well.

Once again, Head Coaches can take on different personalities.  For the most part, these men care about the players they coach.  Some may care as to whether or not their players are getting an education, going to college, or becoming productive members of society.  Others care as to whether their players can produce wins, earn D1 scholarships and make them look good in the process.  Some will sacrifice wins for character.  Others will place winning above all.

Much depends on the man himself as well as the community he is in.  The more rabid a community is for wins, the more likely it is he will bend, twist, manipulate, or outright break rules.  I am not saying they are all like this, but it is time to be honest.  Head football coaches can be hired and fired because of their record, and many will do what ever it takes to keep that job.

I have worked for several head coaches in my day and have seen all of the above.  Some have Messiah Complexes that know no bounds.  Others will do anything for the kids and try to help them play at the next level, or just become good men.  As the season progresses, I will let you make your own judgement about my head coach.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Junior High Coaches

In high school football, there was a time honored tradition in which a coach would pay his dues at the junior high for a few years and then be rewarded with a promotion to the high school and the "glory" of coaching at the high school level.  However, this tradition has died an ignoble death.  Don't get me wrong, there are still those that follow this path, but these are few and far between.  Therefore, allow me to introduce the next entry into the type of coach your child will meet on their journey:  the junior high coach.

There are several types that populate this category, so I will be brief with my descriptions.  The first is the "Burnout".  This coach was once a high school coach, but he burned out.  Whether it was due to the hours, the pressure, family obligations, or he is just finishing out his final few years in relative obscurity.  His knowledge of the game is there, but the desire is gone.  He is beaten down by time and just wants to get through and get gone.  He has no ambition beyond going home at the end of the day and working in his yard, playing with his kids, or just existing.  He is not perceived as a threat to any one, rarely raises his voice, and is generally liked by the kids.

The next encounter is with the "Frat Boy".  This coach is one step above the "Daddy Coach".  He was an athlete in high school, went to college, drank himself into a stupor on a regular basis, and majored in what ever was easiest to cheat his way through between bouts of near alcohol poisoning and date rape.  He enjoys coaching at the junior high because it is easy, and  the kids are not smart enough to know he is faking it.  He likes being admired for being a coach, but also likes that he doesn't have to put in long hours that would interfere with social drinking and the next fantasy football draft.  He will usually find solace in weeding out the weaker players and taunting them.  He is a favorite among the kids because he is one of them.  He is easy to spot because he is the one throwing the ball at the back of the smallest player's head, laughing uncontrollably at fart jokes, and talking about how hot the 7th grade cheerleaders will be by the time they graduate.  The "Frat Boy" has no ambition beyond what he is doing now, and will be where he is forever or until he appears on Dateline NBC.

The next coach is the "Nut Cutter".  This coach is both helpful and dangerous.  He will do what he is told, when he is told to do it, but his motives are generally selfish and self-serving.  This coach has ambitions beyond junior high school.  He wants to be a head coach at the high school level and will do what ever it takes to get there including biting the hand that feeds him.  He has dropped the facade of possessing morals long ago.  He will use and and all methods to make sure the high school coaching staff notices him.  He shows up at any practice, game, or meeting at the high school.  He keeps detailed records of any kid he feels matters, and will work his tail off with these kids.  Unfortunately, if your kid will not advance his career, the "Nut Cutter" has no use for him.  This can be good and bad.  Good because your child will not be put on a pedestal and develop a messiah complex in the 8th grade and therefore be a tolerable human being.  It is bad because he may feel left out and leave athletics.  The "Nut Cutter" is extremely dangerous to his coworkers.  They are apt to be thrown under the bus at any minute, especially if he has a chance to prosper by doing so.  Once he achieves his goal of working on the high school staff, the nut cutting becomes more intense, and his path to the top is strewn with the bodies that stood in his way.

The final type of junior high coach is "The Lifer".  Although the title might signify some one that is simply waiting to die in their job, "The Lifer" is the best kind of coach for the junior high.  He may have come into the profession full of piss and vinegar like the "Nut Cutter", but he actually found his niche in life and is quite content.  He is good at his job, enjoys watching kids develop and works with all the kids.  He understands that kids develop at different rates and today's 8th string receiver in the 7th grade may hit a growth spurt and develop into a varsity athlete in the future.  He is encouraging, dedicated and trusted. Because he poses no threat, he has a long career in front of him.  This is who you want coaching your kid.  He will make your child feel a part of the team, will correct him when he needs it, and praise him when he deserves it.  The only true drawback is that a true "Lifer" is few and far between.

Tomorrow we will begin exploring the high school coaches.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Types of Coaches

While we are counting down to the start of the season, I thought I would fill the gaps with various information.  I guess one of the best places to start is with the types of coaches your kids will come in contact with.  I base my descriptions on observations I have made over the years.  I am not describing any one single coach, but more instead, giving you the stereotypes I have come into contact with.

Join me over the next few days as I present to you the coaches working with your kids, and see if you can find them on your local coaching staff.

1.  Daddy Coach:  This is usually the first coach your child will come into contact with if you allow them to play youth league football (not recommended).  The Daddy Coach usually has no formal training, and as a result, he is dangerous.  He is a volunteer with a deep love of the game.  The only thing deeper than his love of the game are the issues of inadequecy he still carries from his playing days.  He is the guy that will make his son the quarterback, do what ever it takes to win, and generally use the kids as pawns to show his old high school coach that putting him on the bench was a mistake that was long forgotten to all but him.  You can tell a Daddy Coach by the veins that seem to always be bulging in his neck and forehead.  He will wear his team shirt to restaraunts, church, or anywhere he might be able to recruit an oversized 8 year old to fill his ego.
     This man has memorized every football cliche' known to exist, and will greatly exaggerate his accomplishments on the high school gridiron in order to inspire his players, and has no problem running up the score on a hapless opponent.  On Friday's he can be found at the local high school game screaming from the 42nd row as to how studpid the head coach is.  If only the head coach would run his plays, then a state title would be within their grasp.
     Be wary of this man.......he is dangerous.