During my middle school and early high school years, I knew where I would be pretty much every Saturday morning at 11 AM. I would be in front of the TV, ready to watch WWF Wrestling. It was the era of Hulk Hogan, Macho Man Savage, the Million Dollar Man, Jake the Snake Roberts, the British Bulldogs, Tito Santana, Koko B. Ware, and so many more. I remember a story line in which one wrestler named Rick Martel was switched from a good guy to a heel, or a bad guy wrestler. He became known as “The Model” Rick Martel, and would enter the ring with a spray pump filled with some fragrance called Arrogance.
I had probably heard of the word arrogance before, but Rick Martel firmly planted the idea in my head. Arrogance is ugly. It’s selfish. It mocks and looks down on others. Young people in the WWF TV audience were supposed to get the idea that arrogance is unappealing. I got the message. And yet, while I don’t often carry myself like “The Model” Rick Martel, I am fully capable of behaving with arrogance.
One of the best parts about serving with CFC is that I get to spend a large amount of time and energy thinking about and talking with Coaches about how best to use sports as a tool to positively change lives. One of the worst parts about serving with CFC is that sometimes I can fall into the trap of feeling like I have all the answers, that I perfectly grasp every situation. I can sometimes adopt the attitude that if everyone would just do what I do and listen to what I have to say, then all the world’s problems would be solved. Sounds pretty arrogant. I don’t do it on purpose, but occasionally I kind of slip into that mindset.
I’m going to be intentionally vague with this, but recently I felt compelled to talk with a Coach who does things with his program in a way I disagreed with. He’s been doing it this way for a long time, nearly 20 years. He’s certainly not a bad guy. In actuality, he’s a great guy with a tremendous reputation. I just had an issue with one aspect of the program, and I decided to discuss it with him. I don’t think it was a terrible idea to have the conversation, however it was a terrible idea to go into the conversation thinking I would say what I had to say and then he would respond with, “Hey, you’re right Ryan. I’m going to change something that I’ve done for 20 years and do it your way from now on.” How arrogant of me.
I should have taken a very different approach. I could have asked the question, attempted to understand, maybe even shared my opinion (briefly and humbly), and left it at that. That would have been a much better, less arrogant way to have that talk.
As I share this story, I wonder what my desired takeaway is for those who read this. I really don’t know exactly. Perhaps you related to some piece of this. Maybe you’re a little too generous with your opinions. Maybe you sometimes slip into thinking you know more about coaching than everyone else does. Maybe you are intolerant of those who do things differently. Anyway, for me, I’m going to be more careful and respectful of other Coaches in the future, giving them the benefit of the doubt when something is in a gray area.
Keep Coaching With Purpose.