10/22/09 — Football: It's more than wins and losses

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Football: It's more than wins and losses

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on October 22, 2009 1:46 PM

Sad faces and soulful, piercing eyes from his players greeted Charles B. Aycock football coach Randy Pinkowski as he stepped into the post-game huddle Friday evening.

And the speech Pinkowski delivered was endearing.

The veteran coach didn't deliver a negative comment. Instead, he reminded the players that "mama was going to cook 'em breakfast the next day, they were going to look in the mirror and still see good-looking 16- and 17-year-old men and they had their whole life in front of them."

Pinkowski's message made me think driving home.

He's right.

We have to remember that teen-agers are teen-agers. They're not perfect and they're going to make mistakes. That's a fact of life.

Too many times we get caught up in the heat of the moment and let words spew from our lips before our brain processes what we're going to say. A coach, parent, mentor or friend should not overly criticize, but offer a constructive review -- in positive fashion -- over what just happened.

Sports is not life and death. It is, indeed, a valuable tool that teaches responsibility, discipline and how to work together as a team. You need those characteristics to live your every day life at either home, work or school.

Sometimes that slips our mind.

In 20-plus seasons of covering sports on the high school and collegiate levels, I cringe when I see a coach get in a player's face and streams of insults or obscenities ... yes, obscenities ... fill the air. It's no surprise that a player hangs his or her head, walks to the end of the bench and stares into empty space.

"Dressing down" a player in front of teammates, friends and family is nothing short of embarrassing. Not every player is cut from the same cloth and not every player has the same God-given ability.

Parents put considerable trust in coaches to teach their children positive values and help cultivate self-confidence. Once that happens, the player is undoubtedly going to be productive in the classroom, on the playing field and in life in general.

A player's success should not be measured by the final score, championship trophies or rings. Instead, the player is a winner if they put their heart and soul into anything they do, and draw satisfaction from their effort.