If you’ve watched a sports movie at any point in the last two decades, chances are you’ve experienced the ol’ rousing, rah-rah coach speech.
More often than not, such speeches are filled with fluorescent yellow, nacho-cheesy sports clichés meant to rouse the team (and sometimes the audience).
“Win one for the Gipper” from “Knute Rockne: All American” immediately comes to mind, as does “Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose” of “Friday Night Lights” fame.
Reality, however, can seem more like a creamy brie than cheese whiz in a can.
Matt Deggs, Sam Houston State University baseball coach, proved just that last weekend following his team’s 19-0 loss to Florida State, which ended the program’s bid for the College World Series.
During his post-game press conference, Deggs reflected on how he has become a “transformational” coach – one that helps builds character in student athletes, rather than just focusing on the wins and the losses.
What struck me was how Deggs referred to his players and his program at Sam Houston as his “second chance” – how they helped him overcome a stretch in his life where he was out of the game for 430-plus days.
Primarily, he lauded the team’s unselfishness, which he said was “rare” in today’s society.
“That’s something I wish we could get back to,” Deggs said. “There’s no greater honor than to sacrifice for a brother.”
Deggs’ speech should resonate for the thousands of coaches and athletes across the country.
Wins and losses may be important for a brand, for a program and for the welfare of a fan base.
But teaching the next generation of athletes the importance of humility and hard work should rise above anything else.
The majority of coaches today understand the need to teach students that life goes far beyond what happens on the field.
Sadly, there are some across all levels of sport who can only see results on the scoreboard.
Deggs has it right and hopefully more and more coaches can follow his lead.
Speaking of coaching, three cheers (or perhaps three jeers) go to outgoing Oklahoma Sooner head football coach Bob Stoops, who stunningly announced his retirement earlier this week.
Yes, the man who crushed many dreams of a burnt orange or maroon national title finally decided to call it quits.
In a statement, Stoops said his retirement was based on the mentality that it was “the right time” and wasn’t due to health reasons, or some sort of impropriety.
University of Texas and Texas A&M conspiracy theorists more than likely all collectively rolled their eyes.
Even if you feel Oklahoma creates a partial vacuum at any time of the day, one has to give Stoops credit for fielding one of the most consistent programs in college football history.
Few, if any, coaches at any level can attest to that.
Sticking with the consistency theme, the Golden State Warriors Monday proved if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.
By doing so – and picking up some free agent named Kevin Durant – Golden State rolled past the fighting LeBron James for the club’s fifth overall title, and second title in three years.
And dagnabbit, if it weren’t for a blown 3-1 lead in last year’s final, we very well could be talking about the NBA’s next dynasty.
The idea of a Golden State dynasty, however, may not be as impossible as one may think.
At 28 years old, Durant, who was named the 2017 NBA Finals MVP, still has at least another seven to ten years left to make his mark. Fellow teammate Stephen Curry, who is 29, is probably one of the more exciting players to watch in the league.
Should the two avoid a falling out or injury in the near future, Oakland will more than likely be the road all teams must bypass to an NBA title.
That includes the San Antonio Spurs, which on Tuesday unveiled a new, garish logo.
If that’s what the Spurs are trying to brand themselves as, maybe Golden State should win the West every year.