Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Parenting, Teaching, Coaching: Interesting To Draw Lines, No?

Interesting to read the news that Mathiang and Adel were suspended from last night's game against Virginia after violating team rules, breaking curfew, and ignoring the coach's advice. Perhaps this is more interesting coming from my alma mater where the rules for play (at the university and on the court) have been in question throughout the institution's history. The good people who live by morals have not always been the ones that the campus celebrates. Rather, there's been scandal associated with the Belknap campus for as long as I can remember...who was the Dean of Education that embezzled all that money meant for public schools?

I will let Kentucky natives debate that one. I'm proud of the U of L degrees I earned there and know, like anywhere, there's many variations to what is really going on. The good people on the campus are the unsung heroes, as always. There are many, many more of them, but the bad apples simply have a field day at the U of L orchard. I wonder if that trend will ever cease to exist.

That is why I'm applauding that the Pitino-man actually made a move to suspend his players. I'm thinking about my own teaching, parenting, and mentoring that I've done throughout my career and know, full-heartedly, that when I drew lines it pissed people off. I always stuck to the lines, though, because my feeling was I did it rarely, so when I did it, there needed to be a lesson learned.

With the scandals in Louisville basketball programs, I'm unsure what Mathiang and Deng were thinking. My knee-jerk reaction was to be hyper-critical of their decisions, because I've spent a better part of my life working with young men from Africa given opportunities for tremendous success in the United States. It is gambling with one's lottery winnings if one's hubris feels above the order and boundaries given to them. Yes, there is tremendous responsibility that comes with the chance to prove oneself, but I keep thinking, "What are you boys doing?"

I wasn't there. I don't know the details. But I know youth, and as Shaw said, "It's wasted on the young."

Last night, while watching the Cards lose, I thought about how their decision not only directly led to the suspension (and loss of co-captainship for Mathiang), but that their teammates had to suffer, too, because of the decisions they made. It is sad, I suppose, that they are just learning this now in college - that their actions have consequences, too.  Ah, every classroom teacher knows this golden rule. The few ALWAYS ruin it for the majority.

And I am thinking of parents everywhere - those who have had to draw lines with their own children, losing sleep over the decision for punishments when those lines are crossed. In my own journey, I often think about the conversation my parents must of had in their bedroom after the Sunday morning I passed out in a snowbank from drinking Jack Daniels. I was in 9th grade. It's not funny, but I can't help but think there had to be some laughter because my choice was simply beyond STUPID. And that event LEARNED me BIG TIME. I gained insight on how idiotic I really am. The lines drawn by my parents were clear. I disobeyed them. I was wrong and I had to grow up afterwards.

Adulting is the act of realizing that there are rules and expectations for a reason. I am hoping that Mathiang and Deng come back to the program thirsty to prove themselves, not only for their team and fans, but for the millions of kids who wish they could have an opportunity like they have, especially those from their home nations.

Pitino, in a surprising act that doesn't follow his career patterns, did the right thing. Interesting. Might be the microscope his program is currently under after other allegations made over the last few years.

I am also thinking about I Am Charlotte Simmons by Tom Wolfe. College basketball is a metaphor for all that is wrong and right in this world. The hubris is never good.

It's now time for Adel and Mathiang to show how much integrity they have in their hearts, minds, and souls. I am hoping they have it, but only time will tell.

Crazy that this is what I am thinking about this morning.

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