Wednesday, November 21, 2007

A Coach Who Really Keeps Losing in Perspective

As I'm preparing for another winter coaching my 5th grade county rec league hoops team (Baby Blazers stand up!), like most coaches, I'm always digging for ways to motivate my kids. Sometimes this motivation is as simple as belittling the kids to the point of tears challenging the players' pride. Other times, you have to threaten them with a loss of playing time. And when you inevitably lose games you're supposed to win, every coach has to go deep into a bag of Jedi mind tricks (Like that one time I told the kids to win one for my mother who was terminally ill under the weather. And they lost. Badly.) that can always come back to haunt you.

Alabama football coach Nick Saban knows this first hand.

Alabama's latest loss has coach Nick Saban searching for ways to motivate his team.

Citing the 9-11 terrorist attacks and Pearl Harbor, Saban said Monday his team must rebound like America did from a "catastrophic event." In this case, that would be an embarrassing 21-14 loss Saturday to Louisiana-Monroe, dropping the Tide's record to 6-5.

"Changes in history usually occur after some kind of catastrophic event," Saban said during the opening remarks of his weekly news conference. "It may be 9-11, which sort of changed the spirit of America relative to catastrophic events. Pearl Harbor kind of got us ready for World War II, or whatever, and that was a catastrophic event."

A Saban spokesman said the coach chose the 9-11 and Pearl Harbor references to illustrate the challenges facing his team.
Jiminy Christmas! Is losing a game to a black head coach (Mississippi State 2 weeks ago) and a former D1AA team in consecutive weeks really "catastrophic"? What message are you sending to your players about the importance of winning? Goodness.

Sadly, this cluster isn't YouTubed yet, but if you tune to ESPN or any other news outlet, you could probably see it. It only displays the smug sense of self-importance that has defined Saban, a serial job jumper who has hopscotched from LSU to the Miami Dolphins, and back to college football this year.

Then again, it's easy for me to say I'd never compare a rec league loss to the Gulf War. I don't have anything more than bragging rights with the other coaches at stake, Saban and his ilk of college coaches, literally lose or gain millions each Saturday.

Still, I think it's a little overboard to compare a college football game to war. And in that vein, I present this classic postgame interview with Miami Hurricane great Kellen Winslow. Seems like the "win at all costs" ethos ain't just limited to coaches.

Saban says 'Bama loss a 'catastrophic event' [AP]

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