After the past few years, the coaches have had ample opportunity to make a run for the NCAA title. Sadly, they have made it into the conference title tournament and have been eliminated in the first round. This year, they were in the basement of the conference with only three wins. That speaks volumes to someone's job security when they have been given a number of resources (let's say millions) in order to be a national powerhouse.
Then I see apathy at all levels and I believe that there is no passion. Let's consider this term....passion.....no not that kind....get your minds out of the gutter....
The passion that I am referring to is the feeling that a person has when they think about their lives. It is what drives them to perform. They eat, drink (and drink), and sleep their passion. They want nothing better than to hone their craft and be the best. And sadly, I did not see any passion this year. Even my own kid had his down moments and and had to process his dismay on his own or through midnight phone calls home.
Yes, passion is what was lacking in the coaching and players.
How does one inspire passion? Well, I believe that it is dormant in each of us and germinated through leadership. The coaches as team leaders are the ones to inspire, motivate, lead....this was not evident this year. I sat through 75% of the games and stopped going toward the end since they were painful. It seemed that the players and especially the coaches did not want to be there. They went through the motions robotic-ally. What's that all about? If you are passionate about baseball, you scream at the clouds and rain when games are postponed or cancelled. You count the hours until the next time that you are on the field. And you identify yourself as a player. This is passion.
Without the passion, the game is not even a past time. I recall one game this year that they lost BUT the coaches benched the starters and the second and third string kids played. And they were awesome. No, they did not win but there was an excitement on the field that had been missing. You could see the effort and drive to be the best. I got caught up in their enthusiasm. Yes, they lost, but they made a real game out of it. They dove for balls...ran hard....and focused on their craft. It was a super game.
Then the first string emerged in the next game and the air was sucked out of the crowd. They were bland, lackluster, and no real effort. In other words, they called it in.....
How does this reflect upon the coaches? Well, as far as I am concerned, the head coach sets the tone. He either sits there and curses the players out or when they make a mistake, he helps to fix it. Also, in terms of the pitching staff, he hires a person who understands pitchers and their unique needs. With 13 pitchers surgeries in the past three years, there was an issue that was screaming to be fixed. Now that there will be new coaches (if the twitter rumors are correct), dad plans on visiting the athletic director. Yeah, I know what you are thinking...helicopter parent....maybe....BUT
He could not say anything about the training and pitching mechanics in the past for fear of reprisals. He had to lay low and pray that the ADs would pick up on the statistics re: arm injuries. With a new regime, he can walk in and discuss his concerns and not worry about the effect on his son.
Last but not least, the players have an opportunity to evaluate the coaches at the end of each season. This idea scared the guys because they thought that the coaches would read them, identify the author, and bench them or throw them off the team. As a person who is evaluated all the time, it can be an intimidating process. People will send evaluations if they are extremely pleased or extremely displeased. People in the middle who don't care never bother to send their evaluations in.
Anyway, this year Buddy sent his evaluation in and was honest in his critique, as were the rest of the guys. However, they felt that no one would pay attention to them....ahhh...but what they did not know was that evaluations are mandatory. And it is also mandated that the next administrative level reads them and acts upon them. This is a national accreditation standard. If they were ignored, the athletic department would be cited by the accreditation body for ignoring assessment figures. And so....with the dismal season, lack of passion, and poor evaluations, is it surprising that I wrote this post?
'Nuff said...I gotta work....