Anyone who has ever had a kid in sports knows coaching draws all kinds. There are the coaches who are there for the kids, the coaches who are there for the paycheck, the coaches who care about nothing more than winning, and the coach who would suspend an entire football team to teach them a lesson.
That last one? He's real. And he's a keeper.
Know how many kids are on an entire football team? At Union High School in Roosevelt, Utah that's 80 kids. EIGHTY KIDS! Who were all suspended by their coach this week to learn a lesson on "character."
Anyone wishing they could convince Coach Matt Labrum to ditch his job in Roosevelt and come coach in their neck of the woods? Me too.
We need more coaches like him in America, coaches who understand that their job in a high school is so much more than getting points on a scoreboard. It's about molding young men and women. It's about teaching them to be good sports ... and in turn, good people.
Apparently Labrum had gotten complaints of some of his players bullying kids at school. It wasn't the first complaint about his players -- there have been issues ranging from skipping classes to being disrespectful to teachers -- but it was the tipping point. His coaching staff collected every last jersey from all 80 kids and told them they have to earn the privilege of playing again. As Labrum said in a speech to his team released to the Desert News:
The lack of character we are showing off the field is outshining what we are achieving on the field. We want student-athletes that are humble to learn and grow through adversity and success on and off the field. We want a team that others want to associate themselves with and support; winning isn't the most important criteria for that to happen.
It's that last sentence that really exemplifies what kind of coach we want for our kids. More specifically the last clause.
I know there are parents out there who want to see that "W" because they want that big college scholarship for their little athlete. But the chances of that being your kid are ridiculously low. According to Scholarship Stats, a student who plays high-school sports has a 6 percent chance of playing any college varsity sport. The number drops to 3.7 percent for Division I schools.
So that means 94 percent of kids on high school sports teams have to get something out of that experience other than a ticket to college.
Something being a love of the game and exercise. Something being discipline and a work ethic. Something being teamwork and sportsmanship.
But while anyone who likes sports can sign up to be a coach (really, at some schools ANYONE), not just anyone can teach kids these things. These are the people we need to see with our kids, the ones schools need to be hiring.
Heck, I hate to wade into genetics issues, but if cloning humans ever becomes possible, can I suggest Matt Labrum be the first test subject?
What do you think of this gutsy move by the coach?
Image via Anderson Mancini/Flickr