One of the greatest coaches in the history of the NFL, Vince Lombardi, once said, “Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing.” When it comes to youth sports, this philosophy is rarely followed because it’s primarily about having fun. There are certain requirements in little league baseball, youth football, and youth hockey about playing every player a certain amount. These requirements are necessary because many coaches would only play the best players and other players would never see the field. I was often times the player playing the bare minimum, sometimes for good reason and other times without a reason. When it comes to high school sports, it needs to be all about winning, and lately it has not been.
Throughout my high school career, I have seen favoritism at almost every high school, and Medford High School is no exception. It isn’t possible to single out any coaches; it seems to be a trend in every sport. It’s not what you know, it’s who you know. It’s not the effort you give to the team; it’s the money your family gives to the team. In a sport like track, there’s no arguing with the clock, the best runner will win the race. If I am the best runner on the team, it will show during the meets. In every other sport, coaches must evaluate the skill of every player and make tough decisions about who to play. Most of the time, it depends on the age and skill set of the player. If the player isn’t producing then you bench them, regardless of talent. This is how it was years ago, but not today. Coaches just play the player that they feel has the most talent. The coach believes that the production will come at some point or another and usually they are wrong. This is a terrible philosophy to follow, but numerous coaches seem to abide by this.
Coaches need to develop and motivate players, not tear them apart and criticize their actions. A great coach can be loud, but they need to win. Certain programs succeed and they should be models for other teams to follow. When it comes to Malden Catholic hockey, they bring in the best players around the state and make them better. They win with what they have. If a player is better than another player, then the better player plays. That is why they have won three state titles in a row. They put winning ahead of everything. Same goes for Everett football. They have developed a dynasty that put winning ahead of all else. They develop players at a young age and motivate them to be the best.
Winning is the reason we play the game, so maybe it should become our main focus. Sometimes, coaches have to hurt players’ feelings and make tough decisions. When making these decisions, just be sure they are the right ones. The choices, both good and bad, will define a coach’s legacy and career as a whole.