A long-time coach in the NFL, who is now retired, was one of the crotchetiest coaches you have never heard of. He was old, stuck in his ways, and sharp with his words. At first, I had much disdain for him and not very fond of his charisma, more correctly stated, his lack of ANY charisma. He came across as very condescending and a “know it all”, until I took time to put my own self-serving interest in check. There is an old saying my pastor once uttered from the pulpit, “You need to keep some grey-haired folk around you. They will teach you something, if you listen.” Those words stuck with me for a long time and I found them to be ever so true. After checking my scoffing mind-set at the door, I found this man to be extremely wise, caring, and passionate about his craft as a coach. Listening to him was one of the most eye-opening professional experiences I can remember. Mind you, he was not easy to get along with, for even the most mild-mannered person. Many players found that talking to him instead of listening created more friction and angst towards him, but whether you were a first-round draft choice or free agent signee, he coached each and every one of his players the same; guiding them, molding them and shaping them into the best player each one could be. This coach essentially “kept it real” and told the truth. An old school concept that has been lost on many young players today; include even those of us who are currently raising youth, including me. We will never have all the answers to every question, but the sooner we figure that out the better off we will be.
What I took from my time with this coach is that those who truly challenge us can actually be our best asset. Former players such as Dez Bryant and John Manziel would have been wise to have his wisdom, and counsel that truly spoken to them. Now they are the ones who have the wisdom and knowledge of what NOT to do and will soon be the “grey-haired” folk the next generation will NEED to listen to.