Coaches often have to make hard decisions on the field, but seldom does the outcome of a game change anyone’s life. But every once in a while, a coach gets the opportunity to teach character building and truly make a difference in the kind of person an athlete becomes. A coach is a role model for his athletes, and when he stands by and ignores poor sportsmanship on the field or bad behavior off the field, he is in essence giving them a “pass.” We don’t do our student athletes any favors when we do this. We’re the adults; we’re supposed to be teaching our kids the skills that they need to be successful in life. With his student athletes getting poor grades, skipping classes, and allegedly being involved in cyber bullying, Utah Coach Matt Labrum made the decision to bench his football squad…and spend practice time working on character instead.
Was punishing the entire team for the transgressions of certain players fair? Perhaps…or perhaps not. But personally I think we need more coaches like Coach Labrum…more coaches that are willing to take a stand and make a potentially unpopular decision in an effort to provide “teaching moments” to our student athletes. Interestingly enough, in the end, it doesn’t sound like it was an unpopular decision. It sounds like his players rose to the occasion, and learned some valuable life lessons in the process.
After all, there is no I in TEAM.
How do you feel about this? Do you agree with Coach Labrum’s decision?
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