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Knowing When to Hold Them and When to Fold Them

I had to step down from being the head football coach for the 3rd/4th grade SAFL football team. But I had plenty of red flag moments where I knew it wasn't a good idea to continue on. Here's what I mean:

I’m not a quitter by any means but I will tell you a story about how I had to step down as a head coach.

You all know that I became the Head Coach of the 3rd/4th Grade SAFL (Sandpoint Athletic Football League) football team. I was excited to be coaching my son and coaching a sport that I loved the most. I’ve coached basketball, baseball and other sports but football is my ultimate passion.

When I moved to Sandpoint, Idaho in August 2017, I was looking for a new start in a new place. I was looking to get myself involved in the community as much as I possibly could.

So when I heard about a new upstart league that was a year old, I jumped at the opportunity to coach in it. I was new to the area so there were a lot of things that I didn't know. I didn't know that there was another more stable league called the Sandpoint YMCA Football. This is important as the story plays along.

All of this is a great concept considering the Sandpoint YMCA Football league is the exact opposite of all of that. Mo made it clear during our February 2018 interview that he was in competition with Sandpoint YMCA Football. Of course (at the time) I didn't even know of a YMCA football league. I wish I knew then what I know now.

Back to the story. The SAFL games didn’t begin until the first week of September. This meant that there were many coaches meetings during the summer months. However there were two particular meetings that stood out as huge red flags that I thought to ignore.

There was a particular meeting that was set up at 6pm on a Friday in July. No big deal to me however I was working for my buddy Travis Knaggs (fellow entrepreneur) and I was helping his new moving company - WeHaul Moving and Services. That particular Friday, I worked 10 hours in scorching 100° heat. The last thing I wanted to do was end the day on a meeting.

But I’m commitment guy. If there’s a meeting, I’m there. So there was a Friday meeting but I was the only one there. Hmm… I’m the only one in the parking lot?!

I couldn't have gotten this wrong.

I picked up my phone to text Mo to find out that the meeting was cancelled and scheduled for the next week. I asked Mo, why he didn’t inform me and he mentioned that he did - via Snapchat.

Really dude?!

Okay. I let that one slide. Even though that’s a gigantic red flag of mine. Two things I despise and downright will crucify people for:

  • Disrespect of my time

  • Lack of communication when it comes to important business matters.

They’re just huge no-no’s.

So we did the damn thing for the next week and there again, the same thing happened.

No, this can’t be. There’s no way this is happening to me again. Two weeks in a row?

Yes. Two weeks in a row, the meeting was cancelled without prior notice. I should’ve bowed out then. If you’re unable to coordinate something as simple as a meeting, then I can’t rely on you when things get really tough and I need someone to count on.

I guess I was feeling good that month. A part of me thought, hey - maybe this is an Idaho thing.

Fast forward to the season beginning and we had a great first game. Our team was a little disorganized but we won in stunning fashion. And convincingly. Our second game was terrible. We just didn’t look good and got blown out.

But before our third game, Mo (the micromanager) wanted to come out and micromanage our practice. In fact, he did so (earlier in the season before our first game) by coming on to my practice field and literally running my practice without telling me. I’m talking about a person that literally comes out of left field and started dictating to my players what they can and can’t do and forcing himself onto my field to run the practice.

I was livid when this happened the first time. I was not about to light Mo up with expletives in front of kids and ruin their practice but I will tell you right now, that was a coaching no-no.

Blatant disrespect.

I spoke to him about it the next day and things seemed cool. Until he did it again. Only this time it was the day after a long drawn out meeting he had with me and my assistant head coaches.

This one hour plus meeting that he had with us after a practice really accomplished nothing. The only thing that I got from it was that he didn’t like how we were doing things. In simpler terms: we pass the ball a lot and he wants teams to run the ball a lot. A lot is an understatement. More like run the ball 98% of the time.

If you’ve seen today’s football, it’s all about having a good quarterback who can get the all downfield and can get big chunks of yards at a time.

After a useless meeting (on Monday), we agreed on changing things on our side even though we had something that was working and the kids were starting to get it.

On Tuesday, Mo decided to overstep his bounds again and was himself onto my practice field and pull the same stunt of running my practice. At that point, I was out.

I stepped down from the SAFL 3rd/4th grade team. It was the hardest decision I ever had to make. Not because of Mo’s silliness but because of the kids and the impact that I had on them and the ramifications of me quitting something that I’ve started.

I will always step down when it comes to a micromanager being in charge of what I’m doing. I’m the type of person that says, look, if you want it done a specific way and everything that I do is incorrect or not to your liking, well then fine. DO IT YOURSELF.

And that’s what happened. I do miss coaching those kids and naming the connection with them. I do watch them at their games and cheer them on. The sad part is that Mo got in the way and pushed himself into a situation that was totally under control.

Hopefully he learned his lesson. The regret shows on his face when he’s on the sideline. It’s quite ironic - this was the same guy that spoke his goal to me in the interview -

I want to be able to work on growing the business and not have to coach.

Well, it looks like that one backfired when he decided to become head coach of a team that already had a head coach.


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