A Coach’s Dilemma … Or Is It?

A coach I know took his first-year, semi-pro football team to a national championship game where they lost by less than a handful of points. Disappointed, the team players and coaches resolved that night to get back those points and win the championship in the next season.  To a man, they agreed on the goal.

A month later, the head coach found he must choose between that goal and another, far more important one: he must decide  — now that information that some of his players do drugs in their private lives, spilled onto his desk — between drug testing his players and coaches, or saying nothing.  Should he let the season unfold and hope for the best?  Should he inform authorities?  Should he call a meeting, blast his players and risk losing his core team?

This coach’s dilemma magnifies life.  A coach leads not only his life, as each of us does, but also the lives of every member of his team, their families and fans. Coaching comes with awesome responsibility:  what happens on and off the field not only weighs heavily on the outcome of the games, but also on the outcome of the lives of many people, good and bad.

Good coaches never remain focused solely within the lines.

Questions of how to reveal the situation to all of the players, who to trust, and what will be the result, rumbled through the coach’s head.  Until he reached out and told someone else, asked others for advice and got other viewpoints, the situation remained a wrestling match of one.  The repercussions of his actions — right or wrong — would either decimate his team and talent pool or bring new, clean-handed talents with better championship qualities and greater potential.

Here’s what the coach did:

The head coach reaches out.  He speaks with other trusted, professional coaches, whom he knows and admires.  He listens to their advice and reminders that he alone must choose for his team.  And then he decides.

After all of the advice, the sharing of his concerns with family, coaches and close friends, he gets down on his knees and he prays.   The answer comes quietly: do what is the greatest good for the lives of the players, their families and fans. He stands up and knows the nature of his mission forward.

***

(Football is a game, so is the game of living; one is temporal, the other eternal.  All games have rules, winners and losers. All games involve choices. Football players must play within the rules on the field, but they are not going to step off the playing field of living, and so must choose to play within the rules of living, too.)

In the end, what to do about the situation and how to do it was clear to the coach, if uneasy.  He  ordered drug-testing for all players, starting with the coaches.

The fallout is unknown.  The new season is right around the corner.  It’s going to be interesting.

© 2012 by KuleBooks LLC. Reserved.

 

 

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