This was written by Bill Libby as a preface to his book about coaches.
He’s called a coach and it’s a different job. There is no clear way to succeed. One cannot copy another who’s a winner, for there seems to be some subtle secret chemistry of personality that enables a person to lead successfully and no one really knows what it is. Those who have succeeded and those who have failed represent all kinds.
They are young, old, experienced, they are soft, tough, good natured, foul tempered, proud and profane. They are articulate and even inarticulate. Some are dedicated and some casual. Some are even more dedicated than others. Intelligence is not enough, and dedication is not enough.
They all want to win, but some want to win more than others and just wanting to win is not enough. Losers almost always get fired, but winners get fired also. He is out in the open being judged publicly for six or seven months out of the year by those who may or may not be qualified to judge him. Every victory and every defeat is recorded constantly in print. The coach, this strange breed has no place to hide. He cannot just let the job go for a while or do a bad job and hope no one will notice as most of us can. He cannot satisfy everyone, seldom can he even satisfy very many, and rarely does he even satisfy himself. If he wins once, he must win the next time also.
They plot victories-, they suffer defeats; they endure criticism from within and without; they neglect their families, they travel endlessly and they live alone in the spotlight surrounded by others. Theirs may be the worst profession in the world. It’s unreasonably demanding, poor pay, insecure, full of unrelenting pressures and I ask myself: Why do coaches put up with it? Why do they do it? I’ve seen them fired with pat phrases such as, “Fool”, “Incompetent”, or “He couldn’t get the job done”.
I’ve wondered about that, having seen them exalted by victory, and depressed by defeat. I’ve sympathized with them having seen some broken by the job and others die from it. One is moved to admire them and to hope that someday the world will understand them; this strange breed they call coach.
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