This morning I was listening to Jesse Wente, one of my favourite radio personalities He does a pop culture column on CBC Radio’s Metro Morning program out of Toronto. His column is what I consider must listen to radio every week because of the unique perspective Jesse takes on many current issues. His take on things often makes me say, “I never thought about it like that.”
Today Jesse was talking about corporate responsibility in light of the incidents that happened with Pepsi (the controversial commercial featuring Kendall Jenner) and United Airlines (the man being dragged off the plane).
I know what you’re thinking. What does this have to do with basketball and coaching? Well, the incidents don’t have much to do with coaching but Jesse’s take on the United Airlines incident made me think about the relationships coaches have with their players.
Jesse’s point in his radio column was that United Airlines judged the value of the passenger as a consumer instead of their value as a human being. He goes on to say, “that people are constantly valued everyday. They’re reduced to a credit score or a metric.”
That last line had me thinking about how we as coaches sometimes think about our players. How often do we only value players by how many points they score or how many rebounds they grab or how many assists they have? And when the player can’t deliver what we value from them we sometimes toss them aside and move onto the next player hoping they can give us what we need. I know that sounds harsh, but even I’m guilty of it sometimes and I have to catch myself.
Athletes are more than the points they score or the rebounds they grab. They’re human beings who make many sacrifices to play the sport they love, and regardless of the result we get from them, as coaches we need to acknowledge their effort as much as their result. Plus, athletes allow us to do the thing we love – coach! Without athletes grinding everyday to get better coaches wouldn’t have teams to coach.
Many coaches want athletes to appreciate the time they, as coaches, put into their craft. And considering so many coaches are volunteers, it’s understandable. But as coaches we need to respect the “whole athlete” and not just their sum parts.
You can also follow Jesse Wente on twitter @jessewente