Maury P

Six-man pro
You know, with the events that have unfolded over the past oh, I don’t know, several years, I am left with one question that I absolutely have no answer for. Why do coaches coach? I use to think I had that answer or an answer that I believed deep down in my heart to be true. And I’m sure the answer I have in my heart is still very true in some places, but not every place. I use to believe men of high character became coaches to help mold young men and women into adults who knew how to work hard. Adults who knew that when you shoot for the moon you will still land on a star. Adults who build those around them and help lift others up to attain their idea of success. You know what happened? I have a few ideas, not sure how right they are but ideas that make me ponder the future of coaching and education all together.

1. Parents happened.

Parents are the anus of the coaching world. This doesn’t apply to all parents, obviously. I’m talking about those parents who are still stuck in their glory days living vicariously through there kids. “Coach so and so didn’t do it that way back when we played!”, “Coach so and so sure is lost out there. He has all our kids in the wrong positions”, “Mr./Ms. so and so doesn’t let my child express themselves with long hair and nose rings”, even though it says in black and white that hair length and nose rings are against dress code policy. These are the kind of parents who gain “power” by winning school board elections and completely ruining a school. YOU CANNOT GO BACK TO THE WAY THINGS WERE when you were in school! YOU are hurting your kids more than helping them! I have heard stories of board members at many different sized school districts all over Texas who have lost not only great coaches but outstanding teachers due to the unprofessionalism of many different stakeholders within a district, which brings us to my second point.

2. Administrators are under pressure.

I remember when COVID hit and children were not allowed into school hallways, parents praised teachers and for a brief moment, teachers had the respect of parents. Some had an inside glimpse of just how hard it is being a teacher of 1-3, much less a classroom of 9-20 (some 1A class sizes). Kids at home whined until parents gave in and kids got their way. Bring us forward to when kids returned to school. For the most part of 6 months, kids were left to fend for themselves, baby-sat by technology devices and for the most part made their own rules (I blame TEA handling of the unknown more than the parents on this part). So, when kids return to hallways, they are damn near feral. Discipline is not what it was just six months prior, the thirst for learning has been replaced by the addiction of technology and students are dropped off at the school with the attitude of, “It is your job to make my kid learn. But you better not discipline my child. He/she was an angel during the pandemic”. Which as mentioned before, we revert back to step one of this Jerry McGuire like memo (it’s not a memo) and here comes the board members to administrators with unfounded hearsay and want something done to the teachers. TEA who had absolutely no guidance during the COVID shutdown now all of the sudden wants to set forth guidelines on how to remediate kids who should’ve never been out of classrooms or a structured learning environment to begin with. Administrators with ZERO backbone give into the unfounded claims just to shut up the board members and parents. Teachers and coaches are not asked for their version of the story or why struggles may be happening academically and athletically. Again, this isn’t everywhere but there are districts who operate this way. I have seen it with my own eyes.

3. Athletic purposes

Here we are back to that pesky topic of high character. This very rare attribute is a rarity when to comes to both coaches and administrators. With that being said, the athletic purposes topic of discussion maybe outdated and time for reset at the way athletic purposes is viewed. Even though I do not agree with it, this is the way things go now. College athletes now hit that transfer portal more than ever before motivated by money. Of all people, college athletes should be transferring schools based on degree plans and programs that are going to better their future once sports is over, right? 7% of high school athletes play ball at the next level (any level) with an even smaller % going DI. Less than 3% of all college athletes play professionally. You have pro athletes throughout all sports who demand higher salaries and trades from teams who suck. Bottom line. Then you have your NBA stars who want to join forces to chase that ring. Which is what we see trickle down into high school sports. ESPN aired a special about a kid from California moving to Aledo to strictly play football. Didn’t even move with both of his parents. That’s a big no-no on the PAPF. UIL don’t shoot that kid down. Does it make it right? There are plenty of sixman schools who live close enough to bigger communities that they get a draw from said communities. Some sixman schools bus students in from surrounding communities. If they didn’t, the school doors would close and that community becomes a ghost town.
I applaud those coaches who have been at the same school for years and years. I give a standing ovation for those who have been at the same school for years and never won a state title or been in a state title game. They obviously are there for the reasons I believe in my heart and they have administrative support that is unmatched. These schools who change coaches every 1-2 years need to swallow their pride and vision from the past, pick up a phone and seek advice from those who do it right. Coaches and teachers didn’t get into this profession for the pay. Their paychecks are wedding invitations, baptism invites, celebrating huge life milestones with former athletes. Coaches also need to take care of their families and their family needs. Sometimes that comes with a cost to the community and the kids of the community that a coach is leaving. I’ve heard of coaches leaving in the middle of the night to skip out on a commitment, turning keys in and leaving after football games, leaving kids coach-less and teacher-less. I’ve seen coaches try to fight other coaches on their own sideline and other coaches in the post game handshake line. Yet, somehow, these men are still considered the greatest to ever do it. Is this really where we are as a society? We praise these false prophets, hypocritical liars who never had the best interest of the community they serve in mind, but their own interest of Texas State Championship Folklore. When this happens, how can you call yourself a servant of kids and communities? Whether you’re a coach, administrator or your average anus in the stands, congratulations. You’ve managed to teach hard life lessons to those you love most.
Priorities, priorities. Where ever your heart is defines you. Instead of building bigger better football stadiums use that money as a trust fund or endowment fund for the education of our children beyond high school, college or trade school. Better return on the investment.