I happened to tune in to the a great Denzel Washington flick, “Remember The Titans,” recently and received a great lesson for my column this month. If you remember the basic plot, it was the story of a school corporation back in the early 70s having to integrate Blacks and whites into a high school football team in Alexandria, Virginia. Of course, there were certain "liberties" taken with the truth as the movie was written for entertainment, not historical accuracy, per se. However, the one thing that stuck out to me was that two coaches had to work together to achieve victory, and one was in charge.
That’s a lesson worth expounding upon.
Yes, there is only one head coach for a team. However, there are a variety of coaches that can make the head coach successful — and the right mix of coaches can turn a loser of a team into a warrior-class champion.
The best head coaches know how to build their coaching staffs. That’s why, when a new head coach is brought in, many of the "seasoned" ones are not that quick to fire the coaching staff and start from scratch. They know that they may be hurting themselves in the long run, just for a short termed, prideful, walk off the pier singing: “I did it my way …" A good head coach knows what kind of coaches he needs to help in the various areas of his team, where those coaches are currently employed and how much it will cost to bring them to his staff. A good head coach knows there is a time to observe, a time to build and a time to test what you have assembled and put it through actual game conditions.
It takes a team of coaches to help the team to ride the "victory trains" of life.
Many professional, behind-the-scenes coaches are rarely in the public eye. Be that as it may, other head coaches know who they are, based upon their results in how the team and the individual players function. This brings me to my first point: Not every coach can be a head coach with the accolades, big money, and public attention. Sometimes, a good assistant coach, line coach, or special teams coach is worth more than the head coach, because of the consistency of their success track.
Every coach is a valued asset in the game called “Your Life." Want to know how well your effort is going to grow? How well do you attract and interact with the other coaches who may arrive upon the scene to help you in your effort?
Let's say, you are looking to start that first business. In my case, I had to first seek out the Lord through his Word, and let Him assemble the team that could help me be successful. He came through and opened doors to men and women who provided advice, counsel, and opportunities. I make no apology for being a Christian and seeking coach from the great “I AM." His playbook — the Bible — still works for those who really dig into its covers. Twenty-five years later, I’ve written and syndicated eight columns — including this one. The topics have ranged from book reviews to advice and commentary works.
They have reached — in some cases — around the world. Track ‘em if you can!
My success in writing has led me to encourage other writers who want to do what I am doing, thus I have made the transition from player to coach. It has also led a few famous writers to seek me out for advice. True, I’m not being swamped with book or movie deals, but money and publicity does not make the mark of a good coach. It’s all about results, baby … plain and simple.
It also boils down to knowing your strengths as a coach. My second point: if you know your capabilities, talents, skills and abilities and have a firm relationship with Jesus Christ, there will be others who will arrive on your doorstep and want to spend some of their "learning and rookie" time with you, as they are on their way up, in your field. Never be afraid of taking time to talk with fresh faces. Someone talked with you!
A good teacher does not have to beg for students. A good preacher does not have to beg for a church. A good coach does not have to beg to be hired by a solid team. Reputation for helping and professionalism, coupled with faith, will result in a full email box and a ringing telephone … when you least expect it.
That leads me to my last point: enjoy being a part of the "success railroad." This is also the mark of a solid coach. Sometimes, those whom a coach helps won’t give them the time of day once they reach the "big time." Life does have a firm saying for people of that ilk: “The same people you meet on your way up, are the same people whom you will meet on the way down!” But, there are those who have a touch of class, who have enough in them to publicly thank those coaches who have helped them make their way to the top. Those are the ones who will make you smile, as you reflect on watching that individual grow, develop and reach the top.
Yes, every team needs a head coach. Every head coach needs a great coaching staff. No head coach can do it all! Every player who wants to be good, needs to be under the watchful eye of a coach who is an expert in his field. That coach may not "be" able to take the knocks, or run the 400 in a combine. But, they can get the most out of each player assigned to them. Victory — that’s always a team train to ride!
Mike Ramey is a minister, book reviewer, P-School Ranger, political consultant, modern street gangs specialist and syndicated columnist. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.