Writer’s Note: The next two blog entries are follow-up to a controversial column posted two weeks ago on former NFL coach Vince Lombardi’s famous creed — winning is everything. I received some interesting e-mails in response.
One reader was emotionally affected by the discussion. He was kind enough to share his perspectives with me about his own experiences as an amateur baseball coach. I was so impressed with his outlook on what coaching and teaching really means, that I requested permission to reprint his email. He graciously agreed. His thoughts are posted in Part II. The title is “The Dropped Third-Strike Drill” — coming tomorrow.
Part I (below) recounts my experience several years ago as a little league soccer coach.
Read Here: WHY VINCE LOMBARDI HAD IT WRONG
On ball fields all across America, millions of kids and parents of those kids will be cheering and having fun. But there will also be a lot of ugliness.
You know what kind of ugliness I’m referring to. You’ve seen it. You’ve experienced it. It may have even crept into your own team or family. It is the ugliness that comes from the twisted mantra — winning is everything.
No. In fact, winning is not everything. In many cases, it’s not even that big a thing. Or at least, it shouldn’t be.
Many years ago, I coached a boys soccer team. I took the voluntary position because I had been a licensed USSF soccer referee for about five years. Refereeing kids soccer games subjected me to some serious abuse. But I loved the game and therefore was determined to get more involved as a head coach. I also played a few seasons in an adult league as a goalkeeper. Believe it or not, I was on the local Catholic Church team. We were called the Crusaders. And we sucked.
I lasted two seasons as a head coach. We were known as the Zavala Vikings. I enjoyed working with those kids, so much. They must all be grown up now. I wonder what happened to some of them. Occasionally, I also wonder if the things I did and said on the field helped them in some small way.
No Kardashians Allowed!
ALERT! Be advised the following items, consumer products, programs, and personalities are NOT permitted at the Dalla residence. Any guest who shows up with any of these items will be denied entry. For further explanations, see “footnotes” below:
1. Merlot (wine)
2. Light beer (of any kind)
3. Any broadcast, likeness, or product endorsed by ANY one of the following — Britney Spears, Lindsey Lohan, Jennifer Lopez, Jessica Simpson, or any member of the Kardashian family
5. Any product manufactured or branded by Dell Computers
6. Any item connected in any way (hats, t-shirts, bags, etc.) to either Full Tilt Poker or Ultimate Bet.
7. Soft drinks of any kind (Coke, Pepsi, etc.)
9. Anything written or published by Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer
Alex — Our 11-year-old stray adopted from a shelter in Washington, DC
A few years ago, a famous Italian winemaker came to the United States on a mission. He was determined to open up a new restaurant in the Seattle area.
The winemaker and aspiring restauranteur was in the process of hiring his staff. While conducting job interviews with each applicant, he made it a point to pose one rather unusual question to each of his prospective employees. It didn’t matter if the position was for manager, cook ,waiter, or dishwasher. The question was always asked.
“Do you own any pets?”
Pets? This seemed like a very strange question. Especially for a job interview at a restaurant. After all, the applicants weren’t applying for jobs in a pet store.
But the winemaker had his personal reasons for posing such a seemingly oddball question. Immediately after asking about their pets, he watched the eyes and monitored the expressions of all those who were sitting across the table, eagerly hoping to be part of his new restaurant. He listened carefully to the way each applicant spoke about their pets. Were they excited? Were there expressions of love in their voices? For those who did not own a pet, was there a desire to get one someday? For those who no longer had a pet, did they grow up with dogs and cats? If so, how did they feel about them?
Naturally, this was a curious thing. The winemaker was asked what any of this had to do with owning and operating a successful restaurant.
“Why do you ask every applicant if they own a pet?” he was asked by the person who told me this story. The winemaker’s answer was intriguing.
If you could go back and live your life all over again, would you?
I suppose most of us would answer – it depends.
Let’s say you could turn back the clock and relive your life with the benefit of all the knowledge you now possess. Given the inherent wonders of knowing what the future would bring, most of us would agree to a replay. Let’s say you could go back to 1969 and bet on the New York Jets or take full advantage of MicroSoft’s 1986 IPO, you’d be very wealthy indeed.
Then there is the “Dead Zone” prospect of going back and purposefully changing the future. For instance, who among us would not feel compelled to try and alter the terrible course of events which occurred on September 11, 2001?
But what about going back in time and facing utter uncertainty? Would you choose to live your life over again and then be willing to accept the consequences if things were to turn out very differently?