|"What the...?" "Who the...?""Get your...up!" By now we've all heard the profanities and the yelling. We've seen the antics from the jumping jack, back flips to the triple summersaults when the coach is blowing a gasket. Some may call it hot air while others may call it motivation. Myself, I choose to believe in the latter.
The mindset of a coach has to be more durable than titanium and his balance has to be greater than a one-legged ballerina. The coach is the Professor X to his team of superhero X-Men. He leads his team into battle formulating strategies to best dismantle the opponents. Like the marvel character Professor X, his job is to get into the mindset of the other team and read what they may do before they even know. But at the end of the battle, the coach is almost the forgotten hero in any sport. He doesn't receive the multi-million dollar Nike endorsement deals and it's almost certain there won't be any groupies waiting for him at the hotel. But I do believe the coach's job has to be, possibly, the most physically and emotionally strenuous.
Why would anyone want to be a coach? Being an avid sports fan, I can almost feel the agony of defeat from the comfort of my own living room. So losing for a coach has to be more painful than walking on hot coals with match sticks in between the toes and kerosene on the toenails. Coaches have to play the fine line of corporate big heads and "daddy" to a team of spoiled multi-millionaire brats. In the athletic universe of egos, the rich and the richer, the coach's position can be underrated. Not to mention short-lived.
For every winning coach there are about 10 coaches that can tell you in detail the feel of the guillotine. Professional sports are a business, big business. When someone is hired to perform a certain job and management feels it's not being accomplished then, guess what? -"you're outta here." The tolerance for a coach to turn things around is very short and the opportunities are even shorter. In many cases a coach may just jump into a situation because it's not known when another will arise.
Some coaches are just given a hammer and told to turn a straw house into a mansion. Impossible and that's usually the first downfall. Just ask anyone that has had their hand with the Wizards in the last five years, if you can find who and where they are. It could be a situation where the team of players is of such high caliber that they simply can't perform together. Ask the Portland Trailblazers and new member of unemployment, Mike Dunleavy. Or maybe the franchise just doesn't like a coach telling them how to play. That can get a coach choked.
Whatever the case may be, the only way the Professor X will see any respect is to win and win constant. For every Pat Riley and Larry Brown there is a poor soul that will probably never see that level of success and respect. The opportunities are too short, the tools to win aren't enough, and players just won't have the level of respect needed. The Los Angeles Lakers hadn't changed much with the first two coaches but were somehow able to get it together when Phil Jackson took hold. It's a matter of respect. If a coach comes on board and has proven to be a winner, then that coach's dream will not turn into a nightmare. But if coaches haven't been able to prove themselves, then it's an uphill climb and they might as well RIDE THE BENCH.
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