See, when I'm not teaching or writing, I am a high school head football coach. That is a bit of a time commitment--usually, I save my active writing for the off season and do more "business" of writing during the season. This year, as the previous post detailed, I will be participating in NaNoWriMo, so for the month of November, I will be really, really busy.
Anyway, on to the topic at hand.
There are those among you who believe that certain public figures, by virtue of the jobs they do, have asked for criticism and disapprobation. To put it another way, people believe that once a coach puts the whisle on, it is fair and proper to condemn the coach for anything and everything he does that does not square with the fans' or parents' view of things.
I'm not talking here about tactical decisions (although that's a whole different story) because I don't see myself at the end of the day as a tactician or strategist. In fact, and it might stun parents to hear this, one of my lowest priorities is winning games. Helping young men become mature adults, teaching the concepts of teamwork and discipline, showing teenagers how to overcome adversity--these are the true lessons of the game. Winning will come with precision and effort, and I hope I can instill those values into a player. I care deeply about all my players as people, not as X's or O's.
Therefore, it hurts--truly, deeply hurts--to have parents and fans tell me I am being unfair to their children or ruining their futures. Question a fake punt call, cluck disapprovingly at a go-for-two decision, or shake your head in bewilderment at an onside kick--but don't strike at my heart by telling me I have none.
People will say, "that's what you signed up for when you went for the job." But that's not true. Personal attacks and questions of my moral and ethical nature (for that is what these are) are not fair game. "You need to develop a thick skin," I hear you cry. If by that you mean cultivate a worldview in which nothing affects me emotionally, I'm afraid I can't do that. I can't on the one hand care about my players as young men and also be unaffected when I am accused of being a harmful influence in their lives. If I am to give my heart to the boys in the program, I can't protect it at the same time.
Anyway, thanks for listening. I'm glad you asked. :)