On Wednesday February 26, I sat in some awesome seats inside Maples Pavilion not far from the players' bench thanks to my two former students who play for on the Stanford men's basketball team. Their story deserves its own posting, but I'm not sure that words can capture all that I would want to say. However, the Cardinal win (Stanford 70 —Utah 62) prompted me to pay closer attention to their team's progress as the season winds down and the draw for March Madness comes close.
They told me that their next game (Sunday, March 1) against Colorado was an important one. I took note. I finished my round of golf and looked up to see it being aired on both TVs in the grill room (there should be a name for this particular feeling. Bershet—is Yiddish for "meant to be"—that might work!?).
I saw that same competitive fire I felt by their team earlier that week, battling it out on the hardwood at Maple's once again. I saw a team united in spirit in a way I haven't seen often enough among a lot of teams. I saw the Cardinal shoot, rebound, hustle and defend with laser focus. And I saw among many people in the crowd, the head football coach David Shaw.
This might be the most obvious posting in the world, but coaches showing up at other games, supporting other programs and observing other athletes is incredibly important. Coaches are leaders, they are students of the game. Coaches are fans and social creatures. Though some individual coaches might be shy, competition is where we live, its the language we speak, the drink we drink. The message that a coach—head or assistant, male or female, active or retired— can and does send by showing up is not to be underestimated.
Coaches, by attending the games and contests of other sports we send the message: your sport matters, your games are exciting and worth watching. I personally love watching games with other coaches because I want to discuss and deconstruct their observations. I want to know What do they see? What athletes stand out to them?
Athletes, in the future, consider asking your coach to attend a college or professional game with you and your family. I guarantee you will both learn a lot from one another.
Athletic directors, encourage your coaches to support other teams by attending their games. Watch with another coach. Since we promote a lot via social media today, don't be afraid to share that screen shot.
I do not take for granted that anyone will show up up for anything, anymore. Part of me wants to erase / strike out that statement as it doesn't put much faith in humanity, does it? But my sentiment, my feeling is strong: our presence matters. Father Hesburgh said it's the secret to a good life: Just show up. To my fellow coaches, I encourage you to take a lead on this.