Getting settled in and used to a new job can be a whirlwind of emotions — exciting, intimidating and even a little overwhelming.
Adjusting to all the ins and outs of the newspaper business has been challenging but like most things in life, it’s getting easier with time. Plus, it helps when you’re passionate about what you do. I live and breathe sports, so to be able to do that at work every day has been kind of awesome.
One reason I took this job was to help our local youth have opportunities to better their lives through sports. Sports has given thousands of kids hope and the opportunity to get out of their hometown and see different areas of the country they would have otherwise never seen.
My focus hasn’t shifted but rather broadened as I’ve gotten to know more of the great coaches in our area. Whether it has been football or volleyball, the love I have received from the coaches in just a short time has been extremely humbling and I’m very appreciative of how accepting the community has been to me in this new role where I’m learning a little more every day.
Since I started, I’ve talked about how I want to tell the stories of our area student-athletes, and fortunately, they’re pretty easy to write about and coaches don’t have any trouble bragging on them. Whether it’s an athlete showing out on the stat sheet or a young leader emerging on a team, it’s not hard to tell a good story about these kids, and they absolutely deserve every bit of the recognition and then some.
That being said, the coaches don’t always shine in that limelight. They’re expected to do a job — a difficult one at that — and lead their team into the win column. When the ‘L’ comes, fans tend to blame the coaches.
It’s a lot of pressure leading a team but after working with our area’s coaches, I have to say, they’re working their tails off. They’re putting in so much work for the student-athletes in our community, not only making them better athletes but also building them into strong, smart young men and women who will eventually be the leaders of our community.
As a former athlete myself, I wish I would have had any of the coaches who bless our schools as my coach. My coaches were more of the old-school types, cut from a different cloth where yelling and putting you down were the ways of coaching rather than teaching and encouraging.
As a journalist and sports writer, I feel it’s my duty to the student-athletes to be part of helping opportunities come their way and to get colleges to take a look at their talent. But after working with these coaches, I feel like it’s also my duty to get coaches an opportunity as well to get to the next level because, frankly, they deserve it too.
Anyone who has anything negative to say about our coaches likely doesn’t know what they are talking about. These coaches work seven days a week and put blood, sweat and tears into what they do. I know for a fact there are no off days for these men and women because they are trying to make themselves and the kids better players — and people. And that counts for a lot.
On the other hand, I often hear comments about the great things our area coaches do and that makes me admire them more. Coaching is harder than people think. For example, I can count a dozen times already this season where the football coaches have shown they are better men than me when it comes to some of the calls from referees.
I have no doubt we have the right folks running our area programs right now. Their knowledge, patience and character are top-flight, and I see that more and more each week as I cover these teams. Next time you want to blame a coach for a loss, just know he or she is doing their best and investing their all into their teams.
And it’s not easy. Cut them some slack.
Ryne Gallacher is a sports writer for The Outlook and Dadeville Record.