'Anything You Can Coach I Can Coach Better'

Published 3:30 pm Thursday, December 22, 2011

For some reason, everyone seems to know how better to coach a team than the one charged with the job. It's human nature, I guess, but shouldn't that carry over to other professions?

It does in some, but not most. Who thinks they're better at performing brain surgery than a brain surgeon? Who can better fix a transmission than a certified mechanic? Who can make more wise investments than a stock broker?

Nobody, nobody and the E-Trade baby.

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But for some reason, everyone knows how to coach a team. They may have never done it, or even come close to heading up a beer league softball team, but, hey, they can take the Jacksonville Jaguars to the Super Bowl on Madden Football. That seemingly means they should at least be able to coach a high school basketball or football team to a regional playoff berth.

As a sportswriter who primarily sits in the bleachers or stands on the sideline, I hear it all. Everything from the coach can't coach, or even for some reason, the coach doesn't want his team to win. The arguments generally go back to one common thing. The complainer's son or daughter isn't getting enough playing time.

Ah, now we're getting somewhere.

If it's not the coaches, it's the referees.

Everyone can do a referee's job. Sure they blow calls, but are they really in the back pocket of the opponent? At one basketball game a couple of years ago, I had a fan from one team, and later, a fan from the other, come up to me and tell me how the referees were … his team, and that I should write about it.

No, it didn't get past me that both of them were telling me how to do my job in the process, but sometimes I could use the help.

One even slammed on the coach of his team in the conversation, and you guessed it – if only he would start his son, they could win the championship.

But back to the referees. The funny thing was that both fans used the same word where the “…” is inserted above.

Maybe they aren't part of the best crew available, and maybe some should consider another way to get some supplemental income, but when both teams have combined to win six games all season, the best crew is not going to get assigned to that game.

I can count around ten times in my 12 years here, where I believe an officiating crew was going to make it certain that team A was going to lose to team B – and there was nothing team A could do about it.

Have I seen some games where things seem to be slanted toward one team? Yeah, but usually not enough to clearly state that the refs are “…” one team for the benefit of another.

Does the home team seem to get more calls go their way than the road team? Yeah.

It's hard to block out impartiality when the majority of the fans in the building are rooting for the team in white over the team in the dark jerseys (reverse that for football).

In this time of peace and good will toward men, perhaps we should reassess how we look at the people who take the time to coach or officiate the games our children play.

Even better, volunteer at the local youth league to coach or referee.

You won't win friends. In fact, you'll likely lose a few, but the person you most influence will be the one staring back at you when you look in the mirror.