Monday, August 16, 2010

Earning your wings

Five thoughts on the contrivoversy* about certain Michigan football players not having the traditional wings on the helmet during fall practices:

1). AP teachers often discuss among themselves the idea that one of the hardest types of students to deal with is the student who has never known failure before. You've made it through to a point where you think that you're invincible, and then you're faced with a challenge where you, despite your talent, do not succeed against an objective standard. At this divergence point, some students will buckle down, redouble their efforts, and figure it out, but others will have a complete meltdown and just start to act out, like it's not worth their time, like that if they can't do it, it's not worth it. So, when faced with a talented student who does not know how to handle the situation in front of them, motivational ploys can be employed. Sometimes is the carrot, sometimes it's the stick; sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn't.

2). This is a classic case of people seeing what the want to see. Some will see it as a great motivational ploy by a coach trying to get the most out of his players. Others will see it as a signal of a desperate coach who has lost his team and is now playing games to try and look like he still knows what he's doing.

3). One thing that confuses me about the haters on this one is, if one of the arguments against Coach Rodriguez is that he doesn't "get" Michigan, he doesn't understand the traditions and the things that mean the most to Michigan fans, wouldn't taking away the wings from a players helmet show that they are something important, something that is earned, not given? Wouldn't this go into the "getting it" side of the ledger?

4). Bill Bradley once said that "Becoming number one is easier than remaining number one." Because behind you is someone talented, someone motivated by the fact that they are being told, through empirical means, that they are not as good as someone else. Some will not rise to the challenge, but others will. In this case, it is entirely possible that we have a quarterback who has been groomed to be a quarterback his whole life who has the academic side of the game down, but is perhaps lacking in the physical tools (allowing for an injury which limited his mobility and development.) On the other side, we have a spectacularly talented player, one who has shown flashes of brilliance, but is exceedingly raw, in part because he has only had limited training on the academic side of the game, and one, who by all accounts, has taken to the training with vigor and earnestness. If that means that #2 is coming up fast on #1, well, maybe #1 needs to think about staying #1 rather than relinquishing it.

5). The season cannot get here soon enough. Seriously.

*-contrivoversy--A word coined by my quiz bowl friend and Red Sox beat writing pal Jon Couture to describe a media invented, fan fueled controversy which really isn't that big a deal in the end.

1 comment:

nicolle said...

i've always wished there was a word for that. "contrivoversy" really needs to show up in the OED one day.