“I’ve been fobbed off, and I’ve been fooled
I’ve been robbed and ridiculed
In daycare centers and night schools.”– The Traveling Wilburys
It’s a Friday for a holiday weekend. I decided to turn my head away from the political mess and into the fray of local sports. I certainly offer my commentaries at those places too these days. The Houston Texans fired their coach yesterday after waiting an excruciating four days to make a command decision.
There are all kinds of views on these things. Those from far enough away see the bigger picture I guess. They saw an untalented team that somehow won the same number of games as the season before when there was more talent. They saw a team that played harder down the stretch and seemingly improved in the second half of the season. They saw dysfunction as something beyond the coach.
As usually happens, the closer you get to the situation the more you see. You saw decisions within the game that just didn’t make sense. You heard explanations of those decisions after the game that made even less sense. Finally, it came out that at least two people were on the headset at all times telling the coach what to do. When we heard that this wasn’t enough some of the time we kind of knew.
It was in those moments when our humanity had to take over. You can laugh at someone for only so long before you begin to pity them. Eventually you just want to shake their hand, pat them on the back, and send them on their way. The organization cited philosophical differences on the direction of the team. I’ve always been a fan of a good euphemism, but even I found that obscured the facts just a little too much.
If you listened to the coach talk at any point in the year, you understood why the regime took four days to let him go. Rumors were running rampant that only two years of his contract were guaranteed. They knew. What they also knew is that you get one of these blunders. The next one you have to get right because this one went so horribly. There’s really no defense for something everyone saw before it even happened.
Ultimately, the David Culley story will be a fish out of water story. It will be a story about a guy that held a position at least two rungs above his capabilities. All it takes to feel sympathy is to experience that kind of thing yourself. I have experienced that on multiple occasions.
Dozens of younger teachers get degrees in counseling and middle management. They do that because they want to leave the classroom some day. Everybody wants to rule the world as the song always said. With new found opportunity comes new found responsibility. The best advice I always give those teachers is that they have to manage their opportunities. You can’t afford to jump at every opportunity out there. I did and it probably cost me another one.
We all have our place where we are most comfortable and ultimately most competent. I’ve talked about this guy before in this space because he so obviously drives home an important lesson for all of us. We wish we were the boss until we discover that the boss’s job is a little harder than we imagined. Then, there’s no going back. I wish the best to David Culley and hope he can find his level somewhere. Unfortunately, it wasn’t here.