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.