Everyone uses Michael Jordan as the example of the kid who got cut from the team, only to become the greatest basketball player of all-time in his college and professional days. But let’s face it, how many Michael Jordan’s have you found at your local rec. center lately? And, did anyone stop to think that Jordan’s coach had to make that very difficult decision not once, not twice, but every time he coached a team?
That’s the dilemma I’ve been facing for nearly two weeks now. With a roster of 38 players, I’ve been faced with the dubious task of selecting just 25 players for my playoff roster. How many factors does a coach have to consider when cutting 13 players who have given you everything they possibly can to make the team? Dozens of factors, countless hours, lots of headaches, heartaches and sleepless nights.
When I was a kid, getting cut from a team was one of the most heart-wrenching, harrowing and devastating experiences. I was not athletically gifted nor was not blessed with size or speed. So every team I made as a kid were based on my work ethic, a little bit of luck and a lot of work ethic.
As a coach I see now what I didn’t see as a kid: That coaches go through a lot, sweat a lot, ponder a lot and then they have to live with their choices. Ironic how similar it is to decisions one might make in the board room, in a crisis or in matter pertaining to your family. Once the choice is made, you have to live with it, good and bad.
Tonight, I had to inform 13 very talented, great kids that their season is over. I’ve tried to encourage them as much as possible to stick with it, come back stronger, faster and with a more detailed knowledge of the game of rugby and perhaps their chances at making the roster will grow exponentially.
Nothing I say will ease the pain. But I hope that they see it as an opportunity and not as a mark against them. I have really enjoyed coaching all of the boys on the team this season and hope to see them all again next season when the rugby madness starts all over again.