In case you missed them — and I have a feeling most of you probably did — there were some coaching legends at the Winder-Barrow High School football game last Friday.
Yes, even as the Bulldoggs battled Flowery Branch on the field, sitting in the stands on the WBHS side of the stadium was none other than coaching icon Paul “Bear” Bryant. I know some of you probably didn’t notice him, but I knew it was him after he yelled out some “coaching advice” during the first half.
I mean, who else but a coaching legend but Bryant would be qualified to offer such sage advice as “THROW THE #**#*#* BALL!!!!”
It was at this point that I heard and spotted another legend of the gridiron in Vince Lombardi. The former Green Bay Packer Hall of Fame coach let it be know that he agreed with Bryant’s assessment of the situation.
Finally, there was none other than Tom Landry of Dallas Cowboy fame at the WBHS game Friday. Landry was at the Rockdale County game as well. I remember seeing and hearing him then too as he let the coaches know what plays needed to be run.
It’s one thing to offer advice from the stands. While those doing so never know more than the coaches on the field, it’s a common practice at football games. What made the incident at last Friday’s game so vile was the language that was used. It was bad enough that it was yelled for all to hear at a high school game, including the players, but also consider there was a small child sitting right next to the wanna be coach as he hurled his great “advice.” My first instinct was to let this fool, um, wanna be coach, know what I thought about his actions. Yet, would it really matter? Does someone who thinks no more than to use the kind of language he did care what anyone else says? The answer is simple: “no.”
I’ve often wondered if the coaches in the stands who offer their advice actually think the coach is going to hear it and then do what was encouraged.
“Let’s see,” the coach thinks. “Some bozo in the stands is yelling at me to throw a pass. I think I’ll do that since he clearly knows so much about the sport that he’s sitting in the stands with a bag of popcorn yelling obscenities.”
When will these people learn that the coaches, including our local ones, pour hours upon hours in formulating game plans for each Friday night? When will these people learn that no one knows the personnel of the team better than the coaching staff? When will these people learn that just because they played football 30 years ago or watch it on TV doesn’t mean they are qualified to direct a high school program?
When will they learn? Probably about the time Bear Bryant, Vince Lombardi and Tom Landry actually attend a football game in Barrow County.
Chris Bridges is sports editor of the Barrow Journal. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.