Shoving players: The end of the world as we know it?

AndyVance's picture
February 26, 2013 at 9:03a
55 Comments
Cal coach Mike Montgomery gets in the grille of Allen Crabbe

To read a couple of California newspaper columnists last week, you would think that California men's basketball coach Mike Montgomery is the devil, a child abuser, responsible for global warming, and a bad dancer. You've surely seen the video by now: in Cal's Feb. 17 takedown of USC, Montgomery got in the face of star guard Allen Crabbe, giving him a handcheck to the upper torso that may as well be called "the shove heard round the world."

Montgomery's physical treatment of a player drew scorn from a wide range of critics: the PAC-12, a state senator, and a San Jose commentator who said the coach's action was "shameful." In its statement on the incident, the conference let it be known that it expected its coaches not to make a media spectacle of themselves:

"While emotions can run high in competitive environments, Pac-12 coaches are expected to conduct themselves in a manner that will reflect credit on the institution and the conference," Commissioner Larry Scott said. "Each Pac-12 coach must be aware that they are an example to student-athletes and other students, and consistent with this influence and visibility, must meet a particularly high standard."

Indeed.

While the voices calling for a strong rebuke or stiff punishment have been many, the bigger issue I find with the situation is that it again underscores a certain neutering of the male athlete - and perhaps a broader emasculation of the modern male in general.

  • DISCLAIMER: the sensitive nature of this very topic borders on political, and this commentary is not offered as political punditry, and I would remind my fellow 11warriors that we don't talk politics here, especially given last week's political fiascoes. That said, the issue of coaches "getting physical" is important, and should be discussed in our erstwhile forum.

To give you the background on this, I had completely missed this story until halftime of the Buckeyes' win over Michigan State Sunday. The CBS Sports studio crew discussed the incident, with most of the big-name analysts more or less dismissing the incident as an aberration. Greg Anthony, however, took a stance that caught my attention: "There was a time when this was socially acceptable."

Anthony discussed the fact that "back in the day," it was relatively common for coaches to give the young men in their charge a physical wakeup call in the vein of Montgomery giving Crabbe a pectoral shiver. CBS columnist Gregg Doyel, however, was quick to separate the Montgomery incident from other player altercations of yesteryear, including the infamous shot taken by our own beloved Woody Hayes:

I didn't see a bully. I didn't see a monster. I didn't see Woody Hayes slugging or Bob Knight choking or even Morehead State coach Sean Woods shoving and then verbally destroying a player.

Yes, like you I think the Hayes incident was much ado about nothing, but that's water long since under the bridge. I personally think The General is one of the greatest coaches in the history of the game, and Indiana was foolish to run him out of Bloomington.

While a fair bit of the Doyel column discusses the situation in the context of bullying, a strong current in the popular conversation surrounding the Cal incident, he goes on to make some great points about the role of physical correction in coaching:

Mike Montgomery wanted to win that game against Southern California, and he knew his players wanted to win that game. He knew Allen Crabbe, his best player, had more to give and he tried to make him give it. And it worked, though I'd be saying this same thing -- hope I would, anyway -- even if Crabbe hadn't scored 10 points in the final 4½ minutes to rally Cal from a 15-point deficit to victory.

 

Now then, there's a line a coach can't cross and Montgomery got up close to that line. He was breathing on that line, and that line could tell by the smell of his breath that Montgomery was chewing Dentyne.

 

Maybe that's your problem, that Montgomery came too close to the line, and you're OK that his school and his conference and even his state senator let him know that another inch would have been too far. That's one way of looking at it, but it wouldn't be accurate. Because if you'll notice in the comments from his AD and the Pac-12 and even Sen. Yee, nobody said anything like, "What he did was OK, but not another inch." No, what everyone said was, "Mike Montgomery went too far."

 

Allen Crabbe clearly thought he went too far, by the way. Crabbe eventually poured in those points and sparked that comeback victory, but his first reaction to Montgomery's shove was shock, anguish. He left the court and angrily paced a nearby tunnel before returning to the bench. Allen Crabbe was not the slightest bit OK that his coach shoved him in the chest.

Watching the video of Crabbe's on-court reaction to the shove, by the way, underscores the importance of "getting physical." Not unlike a petulant child, Crabbe stomped off into the corner and pouted for some time before being cajoled back onto the court and delivering a much stronger performance to help the Bears seal the victory. Does the end - a victory - justify the means?

Before you answer that question, understand that it's the wrong question to ask in the first place. The physical correction was not about winning a basketball game - it was about getting the attention of a star performer turning in a half-ass performance. It was a wake-up call.


POSITIVE REINFORCEMENT. The concept of physical correction is a frequent source of controversy and consternation among dog trainers (see here and here), and yes, even among members of our Armed Forces. Opinions on the use of physical force to correct behavior or performance, of course, are mixed and often emotional. As it relates to dog training, for what it's worth, I ascribe to the philosophies espoused by the Monks of New Skete and Temple Grandin: physical correction absolutely plays a role in proper training and development, should be used sparingly and only when the trainer doing the correction understands the appropriate force and method to use in a given situation.

But we're not talking about training dogs, are we? No, we're talking about molding young men. The differences are obvious, but the parallels should be as well.

Anthony said it plainly: what is socially acceptable today pales in comparison to what was socially acceptable 10, 20 and especially 30 years ago. In many cases, that is a great thing. When it comes to the shaping of young men, I fear the opposite is true (said as a man raised in a home where Dad's hand across his son's backsides was the ultimate deterrent to bad behavior).

I began to explore this concept in a newspaper column I wrote several years ago on the subject of "the problem with boys." I got started on the subject after reading comments from author and therapist Michael Gurian in his book, “The Purpose of Boys.”

“Girls outperform boys in nearly every academic area,” Gurian writes. “Many of the old principles of education are diminished. In a classroom of 30 kids, about five boys will begin to fail in the first few years of preschool and elementary school. By fifth grade, they will be diagnosed as learning disabled, ADD/ADHD, behaviorally disordered or unmotivated.”

Gurian went on to point out that the challenge of educating boys gets even more difficult after being labeled: “They will no longer do their homework (though they may say they are doing it), they will disrupt class or withdraw from it. They will find a few islands of competence (like video games or computers) and overemphasize those.”

Know any young boys who fit that description?

The author stressed that there are differences – some subtle, others more pronounced – between boys and girls of school age. “Boys have a lot of Huck Finn in them – they don’t, on average, learn as well as girls by sitting still, concentrating, multitasking, listening to words. For 20 years, I have been taking brain research into homes and classrooms to show teachers, parents and others how differently boys and girls learn. Once a person sees a PET or SPECT scan of a boy’s brain and a girl’s brain, showing the different ways these brains learn, they understand. As one teacher put it to me, ‘Wow, no wonder we’re having so many problems with boys.’”

 

Now, think about the Crabbe correction in the context of Gurian's comments. Is Crabbe's reaction to the correction merely an exhibition of the male ego at work, the beta dog called out by the pack alpha going off to lick his chops before coming back into the fold and getting line?


WALK THE LINE. Last week I read an interesting column, "The Incredible Shrinking Man." In it, writer Joel Hilliker observes that the modern male is suffering from a crisis of ambition, and that the woman of today is the man of our fathers' generation:

Measurements of men’s shriveling ambitions are everywhere. Consider the five milestones that sociologists traditionally use to define the transition to adulthood: finishing school, leaving the parents’ nest, becoming financially independent, getting married and having a child. In 1960, about two thirds of men had passed all five milestones by age 30. By 2000, it had dropped to half that. In 1970, four in five 25-to-29-year-old men were married. Now the figure is two in five.

 

What are these guys doing? Nearly six in ten of them—among 18-to-24-year-old males—live with their parents. Even among 25-to-34-year-olds, it’s still almost two in ten.

 

Lest you think this is simply a sign of today’s troubled economy, consider: Those figures are almost double the rate among women the same age.

 

And forget masculine financial independence. Nearly 60 percent of parents are giving money to their grown kids—a lot of money. Adults between ages 18 and 34 who enjoy parental subsidies receive a hearty average of $38,340 a year. It’s localized Social Security, flipped upside down, with older workers supporting younger “retirees.”

 

And wouldn’t you know it, young men seem perfectly content with—or perhaps complacent about—their dependency. They’ve grown up in a world that praises them indiscriminately and teaches them never to judge. As a result, research shows, these “failures to launch” actually have ample self-esteem, and they’re confident success will come to them (though they’re not necessarily motivated to chase it down). They feel plenty good about themselves, living in Mom’s basement.

By way of disclaimer, Hilliker writes for the official news magazine of the Philadelphia Church of God, so the entire piece reads as though it could easily come from a conservative pundit. I tell you that only by way of warning - I'm not sharing the piece to make this a discussion of politics or religion, but rather to open the discussion on an important issue: how do we rear our children, specifically young men who are - by most every measure - falling way behind their female counterparts?

California state Senator Leland Yee (D., Calif.), sees the issue as fairly black and white as it relates to athletic coaches: it is a hands-off proposition.

Coach Woody Hayes gets physical.

"You don't allow a history professor to push a student as a learning lesson. I don't understand why you'd do that in the athletics department. While this is a basketball game, this is still part of the instructional program of the UC system," said Yee, a Cal alumnus who called for the university to suspend Montgomery for daring to lay a finger on Crabbe.

I'll agree with Doyell: there is a fine line to walk when it comes to employing the physical correction. Given the litigious nature of our society, and a "no liability is the best kind of liability" mindset among athletic and academic leaders, I'm guessing that the Gene Smiths of the world are telling their coaches that the party line is "no touching allowed." No one wants their most visible coaches engendering a media maelstrom, after all.

While the line to walk is very fine and fraught with potential pitfalls, as a father-to-be (I'm in the hospital for delivery as I'm writing this, btw) I worry about the societal trend toward turning legitimate physical corrections into appearances of child abuse. Yes, my parents spanked my brother and me - not paddled, because Dad didn't feel that added any more to the correction, though my maternal grandfather was fond of the hickory switch freshly picked from the tree out back - and I'm content to say that I've turned out just fine, and indeed feel like my parents did an exceptional job.

The bottom line is that Coach Montgomery did what he thought was right in the context of the game and his relationship with his star guard. It worked. Woody Hayes and Bobby Knight were passionate SOBs who got the best out of their players through a strong will and a firm hand. Young men today, I fear, are slipping through the cracks at an alarming rate - the disappearance of men like Hayes and the public branding of men like Montgomery can hardly be viewed as a mere coincidence in context.

Comments

GlueFingers Lavelli's picture

Pushing I don't have a huge issue with. It depends on the setting. I've been drug around by my facemask or jersey before, and never felt threatened. If anything it pissed me off and inspired to to play/work harder.   It's the choking and punching I have a problem with.
Much of it has to do with the setting. If the coach does this in practice, the kid probably doesn't react the same opposed to being on television, and we probably never hear about it.

Dustin Fox was our leading tackler as a corner.... because his guy always caught the ball.

xFactor11's picture

I agree with this. I don't have any problem with physical contact but the problem is where do you draw the line. I think in practice, shoving and grabbing of the face mask is okay. Now during a game in front of everyone I wouldn't approve of it because of the way it is perceived by the media.

jeremytwoface's picture

But also, a game is where it matters the most and where things get more heated. If you see your star player slacking a bit during practice, you might not think much of it. But if he comes out during a game and that star player is not putting in full effort, you might get a little upset.
I'm not saying it was right or wrong. I just feel like it was overblown and that Crabbe's reaction probably caused the over reaction. If he would have just took the shove, moved on and played basketball, I don't think this would have gotten as much attention.

Riggins's picture

I think it just comes down to knowing your players.  Some can handle this "physicality". Others can't (nothing wrong with that).  It's the coach's responsibility to know where that line is with each player.  It never bothered me.  Our coach would get us by the jersey/shoulderpads every now and then.  I never felt threatened or demeaned. We loved our coach and he loved us. I knew he was just trying to get the best out of us. 
Re: your last paragraph.  In my opinion, there are miles between quick spanking or "physical correction" as you called it and child abuse. But that is its own can of worms and will probably get some heated discussion as everyone usually has a strong opinion on it.  I hope everyone keeps their head. 

AndyVance's picture

Definitely miles apart - I'm simply suggesting to that some percentage of society (and I believe it's probably a growing percentage), any spanking/physical correction is "hitting," and to those folks, "all hitting is wrong."

jeremytwoface's picture

Good post.
I think this situation is completely overblown. You're totally right in the fact that college athletes these days are overly coddled. They grow up as physical freaks in jr. high and then in high school, their coaches are too afraid to mess anything up... so they do nothing. They receive praise their whole lives through sports and when one coach yells at them too much or run laps, they think they are being overly punished and deserve some sort of retribution or apology.
It's only going to get worse as we move in a more PC direction as a society. It's annoying, but I don't think there's much that can be done about it.

xFactor11's picture

Looking at your link about running extra laps as punishment. Are you kidding me? You're playing a sport which means it is not mandatory and no one is forcing you to do it. You should know there will be physical requirements when you play a SPORT. That's pathetic that he was suspended for that. With that, my rant is finished. 

jeremytwoface's picture

Exactly... I heard this story a while back and about fell over. It's ridiculous.
And it just shows you how overly PC the world is becoming and how kids are spoiled and have a sense of entitlement.
Of course not every kid is raised this way and I'm not going to get into the rights and wrongs of raising children because I'm in no position to do so. But if I would have went to my parents (Mom or Dad) and complained that I had to run extra laps after practice, they would have said "Well, what did you do to deserve that?" not "That's capital punishment and should be banned!!"

AndyVance's picture

Great points, everyone. Discussion question: Is football inherently different in this regard from basketball?

jeremytwoface's picture

I would say football is different because of the physicality of the game and the fact that the players are wearing protection. It's a largely different story if you have a coach grab a football player on the sidelines by the jersey because he has shoulder pads on. It doesn't look as bad. Plus, football is much more physical and I think that has an effect on what is considered "the line"
That's just my opionion.

NoVA Buckeye's picture

Basketball is a very physical game itself.

The offseason begins when your season ends. Even then there are no days off.

xFactor11's picture

I believe so. Football is a collision sport while basketball is a contact sport. I think that spills over to how much physical contact is allowed by coaches. For example, no cross country coaches get physical with their runners. Also, with basketball you are on a stage. Everyone can see/hear you wherever you are on the court. With football, it is much harder to see everything on the sidelines and almost impossible to hear. I think all of these factors make it more accepted for football coaches to become physical with their players.
 

Run_Fido_Run's picture

AndyVance - this is a thought provoking, well-written, insightful discussion of a topic that - I agree with you - is highly pertinent to sports and the life-development of the young, athletically-gifted males who drive "big time" collegiate athletics. Yet, the mods might not allow us to pursue this line of discussion for reasons I alluded to a few days ago - it is not considered "political" to discuss reasons ways in which girls and young women might encounter barriers, prejudices/biases, etc. in historically-male-dominated spheres of collegiate athletics, but it is sometimes considered "political" to discuss the sociological dynamics facing male athletes.
As for your main question/thesis: your analysis underlines the overwhelming power and pervasiveness of culture in shaping human behaviors, decisions, outcomes. If that's the case, though, how do we know how effective were the "physical corrections" you describe in terms of past (20th century) methods for raising boys into manhood? In theory, if the culture(s) of the 1930s, 40s, 50s, 60s was generally more conducive to raising ambitious, strong, well-rounded, successful men, these success stories might have happened in spite of the "physical corrections" (i.e., that might have had a net negative impact) because other positive factors outweighed this negative factor? Given the importance of culture - which, again, is suggested by your analysis - then might not these "physical correction" approaches kind of get dwarfed in the grand scheme?
And, if that's the case, I'm not sure that "physical correction" is the best place for us to pitch our battles on these issues. To guage that question, I'm wondering: Are you suggesting that these approaches A). Have special importance; or B). That they're more like a barometer of cultural trends? To make the case for A might take some heavy lifting.           

AndyVance's picture

As an aside, have I mentioned how much I enjoy the high-level discourse you bring to the table?
Okay, into the topic, I think you're getting a lot of the points that I'm pondering in the big picture sense, but obviously couldn't cover well in a format here that wouldn't automatically become TL/DR.
That said, I think to your final graph, I think I'd answer C.) Both.
Relative to A, I think the approach - physical correction, in this example - absolutely has importance, and I base that simply on my study of the animal kingdom at large. Most, if not all species I've studied close at hand (dogs, cows and other farm animals, for the most part, but wolves and wild cats apply, too) use physical correction at some level to establish and enforce the pack hierarchy.
When it comes to rearing children, the hierarchy of the "pack" is important. My Dad earned, through both positive reinforcement (he is the greatest man I know) and physical correction, my respect and good behavior/compliance/obedience. Could he have done the same with a different approach? Perhaps, but I'd say his approach was fairly effective.
Along these same lines, though, I should acknowledge that he took the same approach with my younger brother, and the results were perhaps more mixed, at least during Little Brother's formative years (he's a very successful adult now). I just finished reading Amy Chua's The Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother (which I highly recommend), and Chua reported a similar conundrum in raising her two daughters in the style of the traditional Chinese mother. Daughter #1 took to the "Tiger Mother" style like a fish to water, while Daughter #2, in true second-child fashion, was a nightmare by comparison (my words, not hers, and I exagerate for effect).
On to point B, however, I'd say that you make a compelling argument that culture/society plays a huge role in the efficacy of various parenting tactics. In the culture in which I was raised, the "Time Out" is a subject worthy of ridicule and derision, but in the current culture, a significant percentage of the parenting public would likely view my Dad's tactics as borderline barbaric (they weren't, btw).
To that end, if I raise my daughter according to the same tactics (notice I said tactics and not principles) as my Dad, but in an upper-class suburban neighborhood surrounded by yuppie-type "Time Out" parents, there is a good chance, I suspect, that the process could backfire.
This leads us back to the concept of principles. I'm convinced that great coaches/parents/drill instructors know their children/players/boots well enough to know which buttons to push how hard to achieve maximum effect. Montgomery (or Hayes or Knight, for that matter), likely know who and when to give a good cuff to the pecs, and which players would crater after such a stern rebuke.
It's the principle, however, that I fear is going missing along with the tactics. In our "everyone is a winner" culture, we're losing the discipline, confidence and honesty enough to call people out when they're wrong, when they're half-assing it on the court, or when they're just not talented enough to accomplish "whatever you put your mind to." With that discipline and honesty come the principles to know the line between an appropriate physical correction and an abusive or bullying action.
Instead, we're letting the children/players dictate terms and tell the adults how they're going to be raised/coached, instead of the other way around.

Run_Fido_Run's picture

Andy - I appreciate the kind words, but you deserve much more credit than I do for elevating the discourse around here. Not only do you generate thoughtful original blog/forum posts, you're not prone to fly-off-the-handle like I am at times.
The problem/question I'm wrestling with is that the social/cultural environment in which boys were raised throughout much of the 20th century was profoundly different in many ways than what they've been raised in over the last twenty-odd years. I'm not a believer in the "it takes a village" outlook, but it does have some salience to the questions you're exploring. If the metaphorical 1950s "village" culture was highly conducive to fostering the development of ambitious, strong, well-rounded boys whereas the metaphorical 2000s village culture was not so conducive to fostering the same outcomes; then, hypothetically, even if the "physical corrections" more prevalently used by parents and other authority figures in the 1950s village actually had a negative effect on boys, the boys raised in the 1950s village would still probably fare better than the boys raised in the 2000s village, anyway.   
To extend these thoughts to the "culture" of basketball coaching: Bob Knight was an amazingly talented and well-equipped coach, all of the factors that go into coaching success considered. Maybe he would have done just as well, if not better, if he'd not practiced any "physical corrections" (and/or verbally undressed his players). I don't know. 

AndyVance's picture

Oh boy, have you hit the nail on the head with he difference in the "villages" that raised the Greatest Generation versus those that raised my generation and versus those raising the current crop of college hoops stars.
We could really hash this out to almost the Nth degree, but just take the makeup of the family unit today - and I'm not even singling out the prevalence of two-parent households versus single-parent families, but the role of grandparents, aunts and uncles, etc., in the life of the child... I grew up with close access to both sets of grandparents, and literally dozens of cousins to play with - and of course the eight sets of aunts and uncles often acting as quasi-parents when it came to discipline and guidance.
How prevalent is that in today's society? My wife and I are in the process of birthing our first child... We life at least 90 minutes away from both sets of parents, so the role of the grandparent will be much different for my daughter than it was for me. Likewise, all four of our parents had three or four siblings each; my wife is an only child and I have one brother. Dozens of cousins for our daughter? Nope.
Take it another step: how comfortable would you be disciplining another parent's child today? When I was growing up, my parents would not hesitate to discipline any of my peers by the same principles they used with my brother and me... More importantly, my friends' parents would have backed my folks up if their kid did wrong. Today, it's a "my kid does no wrong" mindset... We were raised guilty until proven innocent, while today the mindset feels more like "always innocent regardless of evidence to the contrary."
In a broader sense, I think this societal paradigm shift makes athletic coaching a more challenging profession than it was a generation ago, though I'll admit I don't have any on-the-ground experience to cite, myself, in backing up that gut feeling.

Chise47's picture

I don't often drink the 'Kool-Aid' of many posters on this site, but when I do, I drink AndyVance!!
Stay Thirsty My Friend!!!

AndyVance's picture

This comment has made my day :)
(And for the rest of the morning I'll be pondering... If I were a flavor of Kool-Aid, what flavor would I be? That's heavy existential thinking, if you ask me...)

dubjayfootball90's picture

Very well written, and I do share the same sentiments that you have and that you have expressed.  One line that caught my attention was:

Is Crabbe's reaction to the correction merely an exhibition of the male ego at work, the beta dog called out by the pack alpha going off to lick his chops before coming back into the fold and getting line?

Probably the best description of what occurred. But watching the video, it seems like crabbe was looking to go after the coach and retaliate after he got over the orignal shock of being 'jolted' by his coach, at least by the way his teammate was holding him back.
Good read, I thoroughly enjoyed it.

cajunbuckeye's picture

Great read as always, Andy. I played for coaches that had very vocal and physical "techniques".  Paris Island in the summer of 1980 was brutal.I have no problem with it. However, I learn more every day, how my beliefs are falling away from what is acceptable by todays standards.

An angry fan...rooting for an angry team...led by angry coaches

cajunbuckeye's picture

Wow, that's a little incoherent. I'll try cleaning that up when the cough syrup wears off.

An angry fan...rooting for an angry team...led by angry coaches

Run_Fido_Run's picture

Sounds like you were the victim of one too many "tough love" physical interventions from past coaches - time to sue them! 

cajunbuckeye's picture

I'm home with the flu. Mixing cold and flu meds has me a little groggy.

An angry fan...rooting for an angry team...led by angry coaches

cajunbuckeye's picture

Attempt #2. Great read as always, Andy. I played in the 70's for coaches that had very vocal and physical "techniques." While at boot in '80 at Paris Island, my D.I.'s used various motivational techniques to get the desired results from myself and fellow recruits. I see nothing wrong with a coach getting in a players "face" if he feels necessary. You can't punch, slap, choke, or kick, but everything else only results in hurt feelings. I think we've done a great disservice to the youth by trying to give everyone a trophy. Life in general is one tough S.O.B., and success demands effort and dedication. Life appears to always be available to provide you with a swift kick in the ass. Maybe, it's better for a coach or mentor to make a preemptive strike.

An angry fan...rooting for an angry team...led by angry coaches

AndyVance's picture

First off, Semper Fi and thank you for your service. I couldn't agree more that we're doing our children and our society a disservice by making everyone a winner just for showing up. We need a good shot of reality as a society, and this is one very important example.

jeremytwoface's picture

I will say this though, there is a line on that side as well. You don't want to scream and yell at your kid every time he strikes out or every time misses a layup. There's a hard balance to try to keep between being overly harsh and too reserved. Some get it right and some don't 

NoVA Buckeye's picture

This is borderline political so I'll leave my opinions out of this...
 
However, these kids are still amateurs and not professionals. When you sign your LOI, you made a commitment to that school and if a coach gives a little shove to try to get the best performance out of you, then you must respect it. It was very immature of the kid to walk out the tunnel and then come back out. He did help lead the team to victory, so maybe the message reached him at a delayed time. Coaches never want to harm players, just to help them.

The offseason begins when your season ends. Even then there are no days off.

Buckeye Chuck's picture

So Allen Crabbe, who is nearly 21 years old and thus a man, is actually little more than a "petulant child" because he reacts to being physically accosted the way a normal person would? No wonder Montgomery was a horrendous failure in the NBA.
I'm sort of busy today and it would take me too long to talk about the multiple ways I disagree with almost everything here, but suffice it to say I do disagree. Give me the coaches who have managed to get their points across without losing control of their emotions, let alone initiating physical contact with a player. Or maybe John Wooden didn't care about his players because he didn't hit them enough?

The most "loud mouth, disrespect" poster on 11W.

AndyVance's picture

Disagreement is okay, Chuck, and you're more than welcome to sound off.
My quick thoughts:

  1. Yes, Crabbe looked like little more to me than a petulant child, but the rest of your question is what bears examining - the term physically accosted makes it sound as though Crabbe was mugged... The contact I saw in the video is far, far removed from anything I would see as either abuse or assault.
  2. Certainly there are many, many ways to get across your points as a coach, to get players fired up or checked in to a game or buy in to a system. Woody Hayes threw yard markers and ripped the brim of his hat. Bobby Knight threw chairs and kicked balls into the stands. Kerry Coombs delivers fiery speeches and headbutts football players in full gear. Each man coached the way that worked for him. I wouldn't say you could bottle that formula and make it successful for every coach in the game.
  3. "Or maybe John Wooden didn't care about his players because he didn't hit them enough?" Wow, you may have actually given me the perfect example of the mentality I was discussing with the big picture of the post. "Hitting" is a very loaded word and concept, and connotes or implies that Montgomery punched, slapped or beat Crabbe. He didn't - he gave him a sharp push to the chest, a region of the body designed to absorb such a blow with almost no physical detriment in the vast majority of circumstances. And giving a player mentally checked out a physical wake-up call is nowhere near indicative of a coaching style in which players are regularly "hit" or indeed physically handled in any way by the coaches.
Poison nuts's picture

Vrabel did the head-butting, not Coombs. Sorry to be a stickler...

"Death created time to grow the things that it would kill" - Detective Rustin Cohle.

cajunbuckeye's picture

Just a question. Does it make a difference if it is a fellow teammate instead of a coach? What if a team captain grabs a facemask or shoves another player?

An angry fan...rooting for an angry team...led by angry coaches

WolverineKiller's picture

Very well written.  As The Vest would say "Hats off to you"  I will do my best to stay on topic here as this covers a lot of points that hit home for me.  All I can do is provide my perspective, I'm 28, have a great career, and family. 
To provide a backdrop, I grew up in a very traditional blue collar family, I was adopted from Korea as a baby.  My father was a Marine and retired from GM, a foreman on the line building Silverado and Sierra Trucks.  I grew up with spankings from both Mother and Father, meter sticks, spatulas, whatever was within arms reach.  I believe I turned out just fine because they instilled a strong sense of work ethic early along with the value of a $.  I played soccer growing up and never thought twice of getting smack upside the head, or cursed at during a game or practice.
I am a part of the 2/5, my brother (26 is the polar opposite)

Consider the five milestones that sociologists traditionally use to define the transition to adulthood: finishing school, leaving the parents’ nest, becoming financially independent, getting married and having a child. In 1960, about two thirds of men had passed all five milestones by age 30. By 2000, it had dropped to half that. In 1970, four in five 25-to-29-year-old men were married. Now the figure is two in five.

What I see going on is the "Wussification of America" (not what I normally call it, but trying to keep things PG.)  This started with my generation, many of my peers feel very entitled to everything.  They are comfortable living at home, they get ALOT of help from parents, they don't understand the value of hard work, networking (sorry Facebook doesn't count imo), and the value of money.  They are complacent and I don't 100% blame them. 
I blame 50% of it on Parenting, too many parents these days enable their kids to be bums.  I feel that it's natural for you to want to give your children everything you didn't have growing up.  I'm guilty of spoiling our 3.5 year old on occasion, I'll be the first to admit it.  I will also be the first to tell you that she will have a job at the age of 15, and will understand the value of work ethic, and a $.  Many of my peers who have great degrees, privileged families, and luxuries like their college paid for; IMHO could have benefited working a day in their lives before graduating college.
The other 50% I feel is a blend of lack of personal accountability (Listen to Man in the Mirror, Michael Jackson), the media and transition in what is now considered socially acceptable (Wussification of America), and tsun.
This is my rant for the day.  I hope it made sense, let me know your thoughts!

xFactor11's picture

I completely agree with this. My parents very rarely used any physical contact with me, but I'm also only 19 years old so it was a lot less acceptable to do it to me. How my parents raised me was very similar to yours. They taught me that you won't go anywhere in life if you don't have a strong work ethic and respect for others. My family did well for themselves but anytime I wanted something that was a luxury, it would be coming out of my own pocket. Which taught me the value of a dollar.
Most kids my age are completely content with staying at home, not working, and in my eyes, not doing anything with their life. To me, I see that as a lack of personal accountability because my parents have always taught me to be proud of yourself and your last name. I also see a failure on the parents part to not push their children to be as successful as they can be (however you measure success). 
I know that if I was still living with my parents at the age of 25 I would be doing everything in my power to get out of that house and to live on my own. I understand sometimes complications arise and it might be necessary, but for that it would be a temporary stop and definitely not a permanent home. 
I'm ashamed to say this, but I believe my generation will be a reason for a big downfall in America. Everyone is too complacent and many think that money/jobs/family will come without work. My facebook news feed has become full with classmates of mine that have become pregnant. I just hope that these people that are having children now will instill a good work ethic into their children, but I fear that isn't going to happen.
 

Poison nuts's picture

While you may be right to some extent about your generation, there are others like yourself out there, so it's not all bad...

"Death created time to grow the things that it would kill" - Detective Rustin Cohle.

TBDBITLinWIScantSON's picture

Everyone would say he was being a good coach, if he had just benched the player. As a coach, I know that this would just be failing him.
The comparison Sen. Yee makes about the History class is absurd.
Good write-up. Tough/ emotional subject to cover.

WB

harleymanjax's picture

IMHO the breakdown of our society is directly related to the wussification of men. I have no problem with a coach getting in your face and shoving you to get you to wake up!

"Because I couldn't go for 3"

penult's picture

Andy, you, like others, have gotten caught up in revisionist history when you say Crabbe lit it up when he got back on the floor. He played like crap and was ice cold for about ten minutes of game time after the shove, then started lighting it up with about two minutes left. To say he shove had any direct impact of a positive nature is a farce--though I could see how that could happen when you didn't watch the game and just caught the rehashed news version of it.
I also disagree with your characterization of Crabbe. Though I'd like to, I won't stoop to calling you a child who doesn't understand the emotions that 21 year old was going through. Whether it should be right or wrong for a coach to do that, I can see how a young man in current society would view it as something over the line, especially in the heat of the moment. Most of all, if a mature adult is unable to convey a message with words and resorts to any kind of physical contact, it is ridiculous to judge the young man's response to that action in such a fashion. He could have shoved him back, he could have stormed off to the locker room and stayed there. Instead, he found a quiet place to cool off and collect himself. Then when he was ready, he returned. That move was far more mature than your armchair response of calling him a child (seriously, get a hold of yourself). Again, this may be the result of getting the rehashed version of events from talking heads. I live out west and no one really seemed to have this sentiment about Crabbe after watching the game and finding out what happened after the game. 

cajunbuckeye's picture

Define "mature" for me, Penult. That word seems to be thrown around on this site quite often. For my own curiosity and no sarcasm intended.

An angry fan...rooting for an angry team...led by angry coaches

penult's picture

I've used "mature" in two slightly different ways.  In the first use I was redundant in saying "mature adult" but it does make it self-explanatory: of an age and/or experience of full development.  Mike Montgomery, for example, is mature.  He is an adult, he is fully grown and developed especially mentally, and he has many years experience working with boys and young men.  (He seems a good guy and I don't view him any differently, by the way.) This was his take on the event:

"It's obvious I made a mistake and I feel very badly about it," Montgomery said at his weekly news conference Tuesday. "There's no place in sports that you can basically put your hands on one of your student athletes. Got a little carried away in the heat and emotion of a basketball game so I apologized to Allen, I apologized to the team. I feel very badly. In 30-plus years of coaching it's never happened before. It's something I deeply regret. It's not going to happen again."
He acknowledged that he didn't initially recognize the gravity of the event. He first saw video of the shove when he got home that night and later issued an apology through the school.
He then endured what he called "a couple of sleepless nights" as he watched coverage of the event that to his shock became national news.
"I guess I shouldn't be surprised," he said. "It was a little bit surprising the legs that it got. I made the bed. I have to lay in it. I regret the incident. I thought Allen [Crabbe]  handled it very well. I'm really appreciative of that. Allen and I have a great relationship."

Crabbe also showed he was mature, as Montgomery acknowledged, in how he responded:

"He just did it as a way to spark my play," Crabbe said. "I don't take it as anything negative. I just take it as motivation. He expects a lot out of me. If I want to be a leader on this team I can't play lackadaisical. He was just trying to help me get my mind focused on the game."

The other way I used "mature" was in the sense of a judgment being made after slow and careful consideration.  Although ANDYVANCE submits good discussion points, in this particular instance he makes an immature judgment:

Not unlike a petulant child, Crabbe stomped off into the corner and pouted for some time before being cajoled back onto the court and delivering a much stronger performance to help the Bears seal the victory.

He doesn't know Crabbe, and I think it is clear he has misjudged the person in light of Montgomery's opinions and direct quotes from the person himself.  I have a hard time seeing any slow and careful consideration in that judgment of another human being. 
Please do not generalize my use of the word mature to the use by others, nor their use to mine.  I have not seen the word used often around the site.  I do believe I have a firm grasp of the meaning of the word, and have used it appropriately.

cajunbuckeye's picture

Thanks for throwing in the responses from both parties involved. Montgomery seems to echo the opinions of a few posters, stating that he was surprised so much was made of the incident. Crabbe seems to state that he understands his coach was just trying to get him to pick his head up. Andy's statement may be a little harsh, but after reading Crabbes' statement, he's not far off the mark. Sounds like all parties involved wish they had that one back. Thanks for being the "mature" one by keeping it condescending, but refraining from name calling.

An angry fan...rooting for an angry team...led by angry coaches

penult's picture

No, here is a good example of keeping it condescending:
 
cajunbuckeye on 23 Feb 2013 - 10:53pm #

Congrats that you can search the web and huddle at the water cooler while working. Work is just exactly that, work. That other stuff is recess, I guess. I don't care that 11W doesn't require photos to be linked. While I'm at work, I work. It's your problem. Until the staff changes the policy, roll the dice. I'm really sorry you can't enjoy your favorite site at work. Did that last sentence help any?

 

cajunbuckeye's picture

I just struck me as odd that someone championing maturity would belittle the opinions of someone else. There are better examples of condescending posts on that thread than that. You should have looked about 30 posts back. Just keeping it real....

An angry fan...rooting for an angry team...led by angry coaches

Boxley's picture

Cajun, I am an impartial party to this conversation as it occurred two days ago.
I did not read anything that Penult wrote that was condescending at all. I thought the response was extraordinarily well written and supported with excellent quotes.
The reason I come to 11W so much is for the quality of the writers, and the responses from the posters.
Please revisit the responses from all parties here. I think (my opinion) that the responses may seem different to all  a few days afterwards.

"...the man who really counts in the world is the doer, not the mere critic-the man who actually does the work, even if roughly and imperfectly, not the man who only talks or writes about how it ought to be done." President T. Roosevelt

cajunbuckeye's picture

Boxley, I was referring to his response to Andys prior comments. Go to his original post and you might have a different view. I was home for a few days with the flu and I am admittedly a true a$$ when I'm sick. However,I feel when one questions the maturity of another they should always exemplify that quality themselves.

An angry fan...rooting for an angry team...led by angry coaches

ShowThemOhiosHere's picture

More overblown crap.  I'm not saying the shove was the right thing to do, but it doesn't deserve the attention it got.  At the end of the day, you have to know that all your coach is trying to do is get you to be the best player that you can be.  If you can't handle his methods, then transfer, or quit.  There is a line.  A little shove like that doesn't cross it. 
Given the world we live in today - with the media, political correctness, etc. etc. - if there's no other reason to not shove a player, the world we live in today is the reason not to.  I'm not saying the coach should be punished or that he necessarily did something wrong - but he can save himself future negative PR by not doing that again. 

Class of 2010.

Poison nuts's picture

Andy, if nothing else, this is a very, very well written piece. It provokes thought & invites debate. The overall spirit of the piece seems to be the pussification of America & specifically young men. While I cannot speak to this specific incident (The Shove) with any authority since I did not see the game, or the shove, I can say I generally agree that society has become too afraid of discipline & that kids are not too tough these days, even though life is as tough as ever...So, on the whole, I agree. 
On the other hand, unfortunately, a few of the things Woody Hayes did were just wrong. His punching of the Clemson player in his last game made it necessary to fire him & I agree with that action (the firing), even as I still wish it all had never happened. I loved Woody Hayes. I've read a lot about him, and he is someone who's words, teachings & principles are things I try to apply to my own life. I was a very young child when he was the coach. I remember the day they let him go, it was a sad, sad day in Columbus...Still, he was wrong to have punched an opposing player. That should never have happened. I guess I chose to take issue with this small part of your story. When you said the Hayes incident "was much ado about nothing" I would have to disagree with that. However, if you meant the time he threw a yard marker, then yes, that would be much ado about nothing. As to the rest of your thoughts, As I mentioned above, I definitely agree with the gist of what you are saying...BTW, my grandmother was also a fan of the fresh picked switch...
Well anyways, you're probably sitting there with your brand new baby right now...enjoy that!!! Hope all's good.

"Death created time to grow the things that it would kill" - Detective Rustin Cohle.

brandonbauer87's picture

I don't see a problem with any of it. Hell, in high school (only 8 years ago) I had to run laps around the entire golf course as punishment in GOLF. We were caught chasing geese around the course during practice. We were a really good golf team and our coach wanted us to be good golfers and good people. Lesson learned for sure. 

jeremytwoface's picture

Same here. Although I personally never had to, my golf coach made a couple of the guys run the golf course for something they did. Needless to say, they never did it again.

TBDBITLinWIScantSON's picture

Both the coach and the player learned something, and grew from the experience. Basically, it was an effective strategy to use the moment to attempt to get the most out of a person. Who, as a coach, hasn't tried everything with an athlete, only to get frustrated by their consistently letting themselves, and their team down.
who isn't ok with it? Talking heads. Those that stand to gain by making it a hot topic talking point. They don't care about the player, the coach, or the outcome. Just the page views, and the self-righteousness that comes along with bashing anything they know a lot of ignorant people will applaud them for deriding.
The best outcome, IMHO, would have been if Montgomery had come out afterwards and said he is paid to be a COACH- to push players to be the best they can be. His apology just pushes the ability of all coaches everywhere to be further compromised, and further neutered.
Great comments everyone, I've enjoyed reading this write-up, as well as the comments. Nice to know we don't have to all agree, but can still share thoughts.
Thanks 11W

WB

Buckeyeneer's picture

I did not watch the shove either, but the downfall of the American man has bugged me over the years. I can hardly watch sitcoms over the last decade due to this. How many shows have we seen where we have the beautiful, intelligent wife who is never wrong or at least rarely makes a mistake and the man of the house not only is something of a slob but also is an idiot. I know that it is meant to be humorous but when that is the example that is again and again placed out there as normal, I think it does a disservice to society. I hate that so many programs show that the role of father and husband is meant to be nothing more than comic relief.

"Because the rules won't let you go for three." - Woody Hayes
THE Ohio State University

Run_Fido_Run's picture

Exactly - and seemingly every commercial reinforces similar messages, too. Some folks who most adamantly defend, rationalize the proliferation of such messaging don't seem to appreciate that the debasement of 45 - 49 percent of the population might be bad for them in the long-run, too. 

Dougger's picture

Andy, I think you hit this out of the ballpark. There are a lot of facets to this, so I'll try to stay on point:
First, hopefully the pregnancy is going smoothly.
Anywho, I think that parents for the most part want their progeny to have it better than they did. That's why kids and grandkids get spoiled. Giving their children something they didn't have probably feels really good, and it's a good way to show they are loved. Obviously this creates a mentality in the children that can be negative. 
To circumvent the problem of physicality in men's athletics, barring no previous physical abuse if I were a coach I would employ the following method. That would be to introduce this physicality when the cameras are away, so that the players wouldn't be as "shocked" when their coach tries to send them a message using physical means. If the kid has never been shoved before by the coach I'm not surprised he's shocked - but if the player understands the coach's intentions and has been acclimated to physicality, then he should be able to handle it better. And while I was reading this, when I saw that Cabbe sulked around I thought, "come on dude, freakin grow up, be a man". IMO It's not that bad. I guess the reason I voice that is I believe he is in a position where he should be receptive to instruction. I'd be mad as hell if I was that kid!
I must add that I think it's very sad that this line that is presumed to be crossed is getting closer and closer to being deemed "abuse". Everybody's different and doesn't have to teach like John Wooden, but coaches need to teach, and it looks like maybe their most effective tools of doing so are being taken away from them because of the media and what society deems as appropriate or inappropriate.
To end I agree with what you wrote, and to be honest I can personally think of men and their housing/job situations this relates to.. Also 85% of the graduade students in the program I am applying to are women (anyone surprised?).. Men (and people in general) should be up to the challenge and embrace the situations they're in. It's a disservice (to ourselves and those who raised us properly) not to.

I like football

Boxley's picture

Fantastic conversation, very illuminating, Excellent give and take without animosity.

"...the man who really counts in the world is the doer, not the mere critic-the man who actually does the work, even if roughly and imperfectly, not the man who only talks or writes about how it ought to be done." President T. Roosevelt

buckeye76BHop's picture

I was just having a conversation via email about how coaching (at least for me) has changed dramatically.  It's not pushing or yelling that I have a problem...it's the way ppl are supposed to be robotic as coaches these days.  If you get loud...you need anger management.  Or if you tell a kid to suck it up or stop crying...or heaven for bid...call them a prima donna, then you may be talking to the president of a university or superintendent if you're at a HS (like me).
 I had a 3 year Varsity Baseball player, not only spike the SS sliding into 2nd on a steal attempt, but then he spiked the 3rd baseman too and pushed him off of him for falling onto him bc of getting spiked (all this after getting tagged out after his second steal attempt in a row, both of which I didn't give him the sign for...bc there was 2 outs for crying out loud).  The bus driver was his mother...so I got talked to for calling him a prima donna and telling him he thinks he's more important than the team.  Apparently the Superintendent didn't see it my way...so I handed in my keys.  Haven't coached since...and won't.  
I won't even get into what my football coaches did to me and others...shoot...they'd get brought up on assault charges the way things are now-a-days.
Times they are a changing Andy...thanks for making this thread too btw.  

"There's nothing that cleanses your soul like getting the hell kicked out of you."
"I love football. I think it is most wonderful game in world and I despise to lose."
Woody Hayes 1913 - 1987