By Scott Rosberg
Welcome to a new column! I actually wrote a column of the same name about the same types of topics back in 2000 for the old Park County Weekly, and then I wrote a similar column while I was an athletic director and coach in the Yakima Valley in Washington. I have found all of the old columns I wrote in both places on a thumb drive I stored them on many years ago. (Ah, you gotta' love technology—at least some of the time.) As I began perusing the titles of some of the old columns and then reading some of them, I realized that, while a lot has changed in 23 years, a lot hasn't. Many of the same issues I discussed in that column are still important in the youth and school sports world, and many of the same problems that we had back then still exist. In fact, some of them have actually gotten worse, so we also still have need for a discussion on a lot of the same kinds of ideas, suggestions, and alternatives that I spoke of then.
For those of you who don't know me, I'm Scott Rosberg. I have been a teacher, coach, athletic director, speaker, and writer at the high school and middle school levels for a cumulative total of 40 years. And while as I write that, all that makes me feel is that I'm old, I know that it also means I have had a lot of experience in the world of academics, athletics, and activities. I have held those jobs at a large Catholic high school in the northwest Chicago suburbs for 11 years, Darby, MT for 1 year, the aforementioned Yakima Valley in Washington for 8 years, and here at PHS and SGMS for a total of 19 years in three different stints. I was also just hired in July to be the boys' head basketball coach at Park High for the third time.
And while I am excited to be back in that position and am looking forward to our upcoming season this November, that is not why I am writing this column. I have been thinking about writing this ever since Steph resurrected the paper. So, I finally asked her what she thought of me starting a column for this iteration of it, and she thought it would be a good idea. So here we go!
Most of the following paragraph came from my first column 23 years ago. I have made a few tweaks for this year, but for the most part, it is the same. Amazingly enough, it fits perfectly for now, too.
"So what," you may be asking yourself, "is this column going to be about?" I don’t have an all-inclusive answer for you on that one. What I can say is that I envision it being about athletics/activities (and probably academics at times) from a coach’s/teacher's point of view. I will talk about some aspect of those things that is interesting to me or troubling me or has been brought to my attention for some reason. As much as anything, I hope to help people look at the way they view sports. I also hope to show the average fan the way the coaches of the world see and do things. I will also be writing to the coaches, hopefully helping them do what they do and maybe helping make their jobs a little easier by bridging the gap between fan and coach. I have discussed these types of topics through articles, blog posts, and books I have written, as well as speaking at schools/businesses around the country for the last twenty years, so this is something I am very comfortable with.
So, who is this column for? It’s for anyone with an interest in education-based and character-based athletics/activities. It’s for fans, coaches, players, administrators, you name it; if they’re into sports and other extra-curricular activities, it’s for them.
What can we expect in the way of topics? Well, without giving it all away, here’s a short list of topics that may find their way into this column:
Player, coach, and fan behavior at games
Strategy ideas that fans may never think of
Problems with youth sports (rec leagues, little league, etc.)
Problems with high school sports
Problems with pro and college sports
What to say to your kid after games, win or lose
Talking to your kid’s coach
Money issues with regards to athletics
Why your kid should play a sport
Philosophies of Coaching
Styles of Coaching
Responsibilities of Coaching
Playing Time Issues
How/Why We are Losing Officials Faster Than We are Gaining New Ones
This is a list of ideas that came to me while getting ready to do the old column, and every one of those topics is still appropriate today. I’m sure many others will present themselves to me. One way they will present themselves to me is from you. Drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org, and let me know what you think of the column and any topics you want me to write about. If I feel it’s appropriate for this column and if I have an idea on it, I’ll write about it.
One thing I will try hard not to do is to criticize, discuss, or make suggestions about topics that I don’t have enough of a knowledge base on. I may make jokes here about these types of topics, but I will try not to act like an authority on things I know nothing about. This has been one of my biggest pet peeves as a coach—people who have never coached or who have coached their kid's grade school team for a few years thinking they know more about how to do my job than I do. (Maybe THAT will be a topic at some point!)
So, that’s the introduction to my column, just a bit about me, a bit about my perspective on things, and a bit about what you may see coming in future issues. Check out the next column, though, as that’s where the issue discussions and the real fun begin!