Ok, disclaimer, I didn’t watch the Iowa/North Dakota basketball game last night. Being on the “no cable, no dish” plan, with crappy DSL service, I feel lucky I can run NetFlix without buffering. The joys of being a techie in rural Iowa.
Anyway, so I saw last night on the late news that Fran McCaffery, the head coach of the Iowa men’s basketball team, walked off the floor at the end of the game, and pulled his team too before the customary end of the game hand shake was done. I listened to the post-game interview of both coaches as to why the handshake didn’t happen.
I coach 8th grade girls, sport that really the only ones of care if we play are the parents and girls themselves. It’s a very low pressure coaching gig, and honestly, I love it. I’ve told my wife before that if I could, I make a living coaching because I love the lessons that can be taught not only on the floor, but on the bus rides to and from games, sitting with the girls in the stands, and talking with them in class. That’s what I love about the sport and about the kids, just there are so many teachable moments.
Watching “the handshake that never was” go down, I get why he was upset. He saw hard fouls, he saw bush league play, and the steal and shot attempt with 3 seconds left was just the icing on the cake. He’s a passionate man (I follow @FransRedFace, which is an awesome parody account), and will always back his players. This just happened to be one of those times where he saw a wrong, and made the snap decision to walk out.
I don’t agree with his move. We’ve been on the losing end of 78 – 5 games from time to time. Games where I really would have liked to walk out without showing any sportsmanship because the coach continue to play in a way that did his girls and ours no good. However, you swallow it down, you find the positive in the game, and you let your girls know it’s one game, one game in many. They have a night to feel like crap, then wake up, get to practice, because we keep going forward. In the end, sportsmanship and character matter most in games like that, just like last night. And as coach’s we are the ones to teach it, to model it, and talk about why it matters.
That’s why I wished Fran would have shaken hands last night.
Because kids are watching, and in the end, we are the role models and have to do better.