Instead of “Why Me?”, How About, “Why Not Me?”

Jack Pardee is 73 years old, yet he would apparently jump at the chance to coach college football again.  This is what he told Sports Illustrated columnist Jeff Pearlman recently. 

I remember Pardee as the coach of the Washington Redskins when I lived in our nation’s capital.  My recollection of him is that of a good and decent man.

This comes through in Pearlman’s article.  Pearlman decries the current crop of job-hopping coaches.  He sees them as mercenaries, as selfish.  Pardee’s comeback would be welcome because of his traditional values. 

Pearlman says that college  football coaching was once an honorable profession. No more. It is now populated by the equivalent of fast-talking used car salesman.  Says Pearlman, “Once upon a time, many moons ago, college programs brought in coaches who, first and foremost, were concerned with turning boys into men; with instilling values that applied to both sports and life.”

This comment hit me between the eyes. I am a burned out university teacher who has become cynical.  I have had some experiences that question the worth of my profession.

Most of these experiences have to do with the students I have encountered.  I have trust issues with my students as I see many of them coasting, even cheating.  They lack motivation.  I don’t want to teach anymore because I think I am wasting my time.  If the students don’t want to learn, then my work is without purpose.

This is difficult for me because I want my work to matter.  I don’t just want a paycheck. So getting up and going to work of late has not been easy.

However, Pearlman’s comment about old-school football coaches gives me hope. Perhaps there is a reason to drag myself off to class every day.  If as I see it, the students lack values, then like my old timey sports colleagues, I should be seeking to instill them. 

Having the task of turning boys and girls into men and women of character is a worthy task. It is not an easy one today, and there is not a lot of time in the classroom to do it. But it has to be done by somebody. Why not me?


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