CHARACTER, Numero Uno.
a Coach Hays rant.
Character, the missing link in the search for humanity in our modern world. It is rapidly disappearing from the American landscape. No, that's wrong, character is there, it is just not being developed. We live in an age of great physical and mental accomplishments. An age where the focus has shifted solely to these attributes (test scores, times, wins, etc.) and away from the development of fine, upstanding citizens. Have we forsaken the development of upstanding character as part of the well-rounded individual? The greatest country on the face of the planet is not threatened by outside forces, it is threatened from within by lack of character in our educational, political, religious, commercial institutions.
As a coach, the development of well rounded athletes of fine character was always the goal. Sometime we succeeded, sometimes we failed, but we always tried. We dealt with virtually every imaginable social ill of teenage boys. We tried to help them through difficult times and decisions. Sometimes we succeeded, sometimes we failed, but we always tried.
Character is something I used to preach to our kids. Then our school administrators stepped in with an "upgrade" in their drafting and enforcement of behavior policies. One of my biggest mistakes EVER as a coach was defaulting this duty to the "professionals". They tried to enforce behavior without getting involved, without getting their hands dirty and heart wrenched. And, ladies and gentlemen, that does not work. If I regret anything in my last year or so of coaching, it was defaulting that role to the administrators. Should never have quit pounding the development of character. I let those kids down.
Kids are floundering. They have landed in a great age of opportunity, can we sit idly by and allow it to slip through their fingers because we choose to neglect what's important? Because, it is all for naught without the empathy and humanity which comes with outstanding character development.
"Nothing you do on the field of play can make up for being a piece of crap off it."