You know, it has recently dawned on me that everyone has been trashing our industry for a while. We sit here and talk about the problems we have with administrators not understanding what we do, or with “this generation of kids,” but let me tell you the real reason our industry is in the state it’s in: it’s us! Yes, I said it — me and you and everyone else. We are the most egotistical profession in the nation, right next to actors and those people who work at Baywatch (a documentary I’m definitely about to see). Let me break it down for you.
1. We’ve made reading trendy.
Let me explain myself on this one (which may sound extremely hypocritical coming from a columnist). I think reading is awesome. I think learning is again awesome! But you know what I do not like? The fact that we’ve made reading a trendy thing. It annoys me to no end. We are the hipsters of reading. If you don’t believe me, listen to someone who has read a book you haven’t and then wait for the verbal assault to happen.
“Hey, have you read Third Metacarpal Iso Luminescent Training? No? Oh, well you wouldn’t understand then because you’re one of those non-humans who is beneath me and all our superiors.”
It has gotten so bad we’ve made a trend about a book that teaches us to understand others. Let that sink in for a second. So instead of going outside, meeting people, and actually talking to others, our hipster ways have made us want to isolate ourselves and read a book alone to understand how people work. Does no one else see the hypocrisy in this? I’m 26 years old, not 78 years old. I don’t feel that I need to read a book on people to simply understand them. Now, if aliens land on this planet, I may read a book on their customs and culture, but I have seen and met enough people in my life to have a pretty spot-on understanding of how I should go about communicating with them.
2. We outdate ourselves.
“This new culture of kids, and blah, blah, blah.”
I’m guilty of saying this cliché phrase myself, but then I sat back and thought, "Wait. My oldest athlete is 23 and I'm 26. We could have played together. I am this generation of kid! I must really suck, according to the book I just read on people between ages 18 and 26."
You know the difference between the old lady who stays in her house, never coming out, and the awesome grandma who you can take places? The awesome grandma keeps up with the times. The world changes and she changes with it. I’m sure keeping up with the times is scary for some individuals, but put down the flip phone and welcome to post-Y2K. I play video games because it’s relaxing and it keeps me young. It also gives me something to relate about with players. I’m not saying you have to do everything your players do, but at the very least keep up with the time. Is it a wonder why so many people don’t understand this generation? They are ten generations behind — of course, they don’t understand this generation. How could they? I know it’s the hipster thing to say, "I’m old school." No, you are just old, bro.
3. We are egomaniacs.
We talk about administrators not understanding us or the relationships with athletic trainers. They aren't the ones causing the problems — we are. When it really boils down to it, most of you legitimately think you could do their jobs better than they do it. Get out of here. Our exercise science degrees do not qualify us to be athletic directors or directors of sports medicine. We have gotten so egotistical that we measure someone else’s worth by the logo on their polo at conferences. More people talked to me at the conference when I had a championship logo on my polo this year than any year prior. I was still the exact same coach but for some reason, people thought I was “validated” by having a championship logo on my shirt from a very good team. I get more replies now when my email signature says “Assistant Director of Sports Performance” than ever before. And these are replies to me asking the same people the exact same questions about stuff I wanted to learn before.
Our egos really get in the way of us making this industry better. A lot of coaches don’t want to put their egos aside and help others out. I’m not saying it’s the industry as a whole, but it’s more than it should be. Just because you’re at Johnny Big Time School with your two wins doesn’t mean you are any better of a coach than me. Until we step off our high horses, we can’t move forward together as a whole.
In the end, these are just three of many reasons why this industry is great but far from perfect. I personally think that in some areas we are digressing. I think, like any great industry, we need to start working harder to come together as a whole. This doesn’t mean help with better contracts or any of that stuff. We need to start building a better support network for people that do find themselves fired for uncontrollable reasons or find themselves in a bad spot needing help. We need to be a band of brothers and sisters working together to help each other out. And we need to quit being such damn hipsters!