Leaders thrive when they feel creatively empowered, when they trust the people around them, when their confidence is swelling. Leaders make mistakes when they lose that same confidence, when they’re fretting about their power base, when they’re reacting instead of acting. The worst kind of leaders hang on too long, get seduced by their own voice, start doing things from memory — because that’s the way we’ve always done it! — stop thinking outside the box, start playing checkers instead of chess. – Bill Simmons
I extracted this quote from Bill Simmon’s piece today on Grantland.com on NBA Commish David Stern. I loved it. Used my recently acquired ability to cut and paste to add it to the blog without having the slightest idea how I would use it. So after a long day of practice in which my frustration grew to such heights I had to insert myself into the scrimmage to avoid choking to death on my own vomit, and scouting, I read the paragraph four times.
The first time, I thought of the weather-worn face of Bobby Bowden percolating with glib quotes during in game sideline interviews while the team faded from relevance. His son a disaster as offensive coordinator. Bowden’s teams once played with daring and poise, but in the end often buried themselves with mental mistakes and penalties. Perhaps too many championships missed by the narrowest of margins, or just plain age sapped the essence of his coaching. As he was finally pushed out the door, he came off as incredulous that the school wouldn’t just give him one more season to turn it around. Fact is he had eight too many.
The Second time, it was JoePa. His success on the field cast a shadow over a community without much more than he ever gave them. I can’t think of Happy Valley, JoePa, Sandusky or any of it without thinking of the movie Mystic River. I’m not sure why exactly other than at the heart of all that twisted pedophilia are some antiquated, dysfunctional relationships. On the topic of pedophilia, can we please drag Chris Hansen out of mothballs for a sexual predator special edition which plants Sandusky in the kitchen of a suburban home buck naked with a four pack of wine coolers?
The third time, featured my mom and dad, fully clothed sans wine coolers and Chris Hansen. I thought of the mild humor in talking to them on the phone, specifically how they recap each other’s conversation with me. A pointless exercise that should be avoided at all costs. I thought of 30 minutes of my life that I will not get back having spent it instructing them on the proper use of an internet address bar. Then I thought somewhat fondly of the fact that in all liklihood they have wasted over 30 minutes of their lives wiping my butt….literally. #WINNING
On the fourth and final time, it all made sense and I thought of the heretofore mentioned legend, lower case intended, for whom every Simmon’s word is the truth. From afar, his program seems solid top to bottom with a consistency that rivals death and taxes, but behind the wizard’s curtain is a mess. He is disconnected from the game itself and more prominently his players. Upon close inspection, it’s apparent that he has no interest in coaching. Developing players and men, building teams and ironically enough winning. Not just a pile of games, but things that matter…districts, regionals and states. He lingers with stories of the past, but cannot connect them to the now. His manifest anger a bad actor’s attempt at intensity. When the curtain is pulled away entirely is a self-interested, small man lost in his own web of delusional lies.