Winning Just to Win
“Last time I checked double digit win columns and championships are what matters.” - Johnny Manziel via Twitter
Living in a world where all that matters is wins is a Sisyphean hell. A coach spends countless sleepless nights and hours away from home, fighting to win at all cost. At the end of the season, a coach accomplishes double digit wins and a championship, so that he can have the reward of keeping his job for another year and trying to do it all over again. It is never enough, and every year he starts overs at the bottom of the hill, rolling the boulder back to the top. This is the emptiness of winning just to win.
Having the goal of winning for the sake of winning is empty. It promises everything and provides nothing. When a person passes away, championship seasons and trophies don’t come to speak at the funeral, people do, because in the end, a person’s relationships with people are what really matter. People carry on the legacy. And people care about who you are. My son and daughter have never asked me about my coaching record. They don’t care. To them I will always be the champ, always undefeated. To them all that matters is the person that I am and how much I love them.
Coaches have an obligation to the players to model honor and integrity. Players are always watching the coach. They are looking to him to see how to succeed. Having winning as the only goal and being willing to win at all costs can lead to lying, cheating, and a variety of other dishonorable things. Finding success through underhanded ways is one of the greatest travesties in high school sports because it teaches players that the right way to do it is to lie and cheat. Here is a real life example of this. The following quote was taken from a player who was coached by a very dishonorable yet successful coach. This coach lied, cheated, cursed and belittled his teenage players.
“Yeah, he lied, and maybe did some things, but we won, and that’s what matters.”
That player learned a terrible lesson from that coach. He learned how to succeed without honor. Teaching players how to succeed without honor is the worse thing a coach can do. The following story exemplifies the responsibility that coaches have.
A father took both of his sons to a baseball game. As he stood at the ticket booth he asked the price. “Kids ages six and under get in free, $3 per ticket for everyone else,” replied the man. “The youngest is three and the oldest is seven. So I guess I owe you $6,” the father replied. The man at the ticket counter said, "Hey, Mr, did you just win the lottery or something? You could have saved yourself three bucks. You could have told me that the older one was six; I wouldn't have known the difference." The Father replied, "Yes, that may be true, but the kids would have known the difference." As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, "Who you are speaks so loudly I can't hear what you're saying." (inspirationalstories.com)
For a coach of high school students, ethics are more important than anything else. The great coaches desire more than state championships. They coach for more than trophies and win totals. They believe that more importantly than the wins are the lessons taught through the wins. Great coaches win championships by building up championship men and women, and the champions are enjoyable because they are won with teamwork, love, honor, and integrity.
In all this stress and hype, don’t forget that what is most important is to be a good person.
By Darrick Ware