Column: Just a Thought
By DARRIN SMITH
It’s hard to believe but this is the 100th edition of Just a Thought. I hope it has been an interesting read for all of you because it is my favorite thing to write each week. Although things are not always peachy and wonderful, I try my best to hit the high notes here in this article. I’ve done my best to stay away from negativity and hope that it has been a success. When it is my time to move on from this life, I hope people can look back at this and see that I really did love this place we call home and all the young people I’ve been blessed to cover and get to know.
Much of this job is behind the scenes and behind the scenes I get to meet a lot of people. I get to know coaches, players, administrators, fans, parents, students and teachers. It makes me realize that I went down the wrong path in life. I should have been a teacher and coach. Although I love my regular job, I think being around young people helps me connect with my own youth and not forget it. I see the goofy side of many of these kids and it reminds me of my goofy self. I also see the goofy side of many of the coaches and faculties too. That is always pleasant to me. I remember my principal being very gruff and unapproachable. Now I find myself kidding around with principals from both schools.
I have also discovered that coaches are people too. When I was a player, I loved my coaches and would do whatever they told me to do, but I never saw them as regular people who live regular lives. I suppose I thought they just lived under the bleachers or something and didn’t have a life of their own outside of school. I suppose it was a weird way to think, but I really never thought about coaches as anything other than coaches. I never saw them as fathers or mothers, they were just simply coach. I see them all much differently now after getting to know them from a different angle.
I see the stresses they face. It is a constant pressure to win, to do the right thing, to lead the right way so others may follow, and to balance school life with personal life. Coaches sacrifice so much for these kids, schools and fans and often times it is a completely thankless job. If you win there is plenty of thanks but go to losing and it’s a whole other story. I can’t imagine what kind of stress that brings. I have to think that drama like that wouldn’t be fun. Maybe I did pick the right career path after all. Maybe. I probably will never know.
Teaching kids and coaching them sounds great until I think about all the other drama that has to come with it. Dealing with angry fans or angry parents doesn’t sound that appealing. I’ve always avoided drama whenever possible in this life. I absolutely hate it! I’m one of those who think life is way too short to take it very seriously. It is a fault at times, but it is the way I am for better or worse. I would always rather walk away than face confrontation. It sometimes is unavoidable but if there is any way to avoid it, I’m going that way. Not sure why I hate it so much, but it is just about my least favorite thing on the planet.
In fact, if I face confrontation and can’t get away from it, I carry it with me for days afterwards. It affects my sleep, makes me sick to think about it, and just ruins days or even weeks. I have no idea how folks shake off confrontation but wish I had a bit of that in me. Everyone is different and some people thrive under tremendous amounts of pressure, stress, and drama. I will never understand how they do it but admire anyone who can face those kinds of problems and not lose their mind because of it.
It’s just a thought but one worth thinking.