It is now time to insert an interesting fact into this story. Coach Witty just happens to be close friends with Trigg County Wildcat assistant basketball coach Guy Strang. Therefore, I had the opportunity to spend some time talking basketball with the legendary Coach Witty on the deck of Coach Strang’s lake house. While we were overlooking beautiful Lake Barkley one summer morning, Coach Witty told me a sad but unfortunately true story. Time to spin the yarn.
Coach Witty and I sat and discussed basketball at length. We also spent some time discussing the highs and lows of being in the coaching profession. The veteran coach then discussed how difficult it is dealing with parents in this microwave culture that we live in. He talked about how most every parent wants their child to play and expects them to play. Yet the coach can choose only five at any given moment to take the floor. It was at this point that Coach Witty told me his story.
Coach Witty’s story went pretty much like this. “There was a coach in northern Indiana recently that had been experiencing major parent problems. It seemed every parent thought their child should play more, and most thought their child should start. As the games went on, the complaining and griping continued got progressively worse. Finally, the coach had all he could bear. It was the night of the game with their biggest rival. The stands were packed. When it was time to send the starting line-up out on the floor, the coach sent all 15 of his players. The referee looked at the coach with bewilderment. The ref said, ‘Coach, I need your starters on the floor.’ The coach said, “My starters are on the floor.’ The ref said a second time, ‘Coach, I need your starters on the floor.’ The coach said, ‘I told you, my starters are on the floor, all 15 of them.’
“By this time, the capacity crowd had grown deathly silent. You would literally hear a pin drop. This time, the frustrated referee yelled at the coach and said, ‘Coach, I am going to forfeit this game in about three seconds if you don’t get me five starters on the floor. YOU CAN”T START THEM ALL AND YOU CAN”T PLAY THEM ALL AT THE SAME TIME. ONLY FIVE, COACH!!!!!”
After this proclamation from the referee, the coach turned toward his own hushed crowd and proclaimed, “You see, I told you so. I can only start five and only play five at a time.” Then the coach picked his 5, the crowd cheered and the game went on.
Something to think about.
OT: Hall of Fame weekend Feb. 11-12.
Enthusiasm Makes the Difference Mike Wright is the head coach of boys basketball and cross country at Trigg County High School. Emails concerning Coach’s Corner can be sent to email@example.com.