Mike Leech is the latest example of a troubled sports mindset in America. It is time for him to go away.
He needs to just crawl under a rock and hide for a little while. He
has made his statements about how it was a nice area where he kept the
kid, and we might have believed him. That is, until his video came out
showing the area where he kept a college sophomore. He locked a kid up
like he was some sort of barn animal because he was not sure if the kid
was actually injured. Never mind the fact that Leach is a coach, not a
Of course, there are also the remarks of other current players
essentially saying that Leach is a bully. Then on the last day of 2009
he came out with the beautiful interview where he made a statement from
a doctor about how putting a kid with a concussion in a shed does not
endanger him even if the kid did have a concussion.
I get that Leach thinks the kid is faking a concussion. But that is
not Leach’s decision. The doctor’s said that he did and that should
have been good enough for Leach and his staff.
Furthermore, it doesn’t matter if you put him in danger, putting a
kid in a shed because of an injury is just wrong. There is nothing more
needed to know.
To be fair, the guilt doesn’t lie completely with Leach. In America
we have taken the whole warrior mentality for athletics too far. It is
a useful metaphor as long as it doesn’t cause us to lose sight of what
college athletics are actually about.
I realized this the other day as I was listening to the post game interview on one of the bowl games.
The winning coach talked about his kids being warriors and how they
battled during the game. Then he said the only truthful statement of
his interview. He said, “They put on quite a show tonight.”
That is the truth of it; college football is entertainment. Coaches
are not training kids to go to war. They are not making warriors; they
are making entertainers. They are getting rich while the kids make next
Ideally, the kids learn some life principles and get a decent
education in the process. Of course, there’s a few too many stories out
there (FSU anyone?) that cause me to doubt even that most basic tenet
of college athletics.
The metaphor of warrior has gone on for too long.
It has enabled men like Leach to actually think that putting someone
in a shed is an acceptable behavior because it could teach them
discipline or some other sort of warrior mentality. Leach has confused
the position of coach with that of a drill sergent.
Listen to your local talk radio, if it is like mine, you will hear
“war stories” about atrocities high school coaches could inflict on
kids in the “good ole’ days” of yesteryear. Anyone who would dare to
not play and subject themselves to what the all mighty coach wanted to
do was and is somehow less of a man.
We feed a kids a lie from the time they start playing as little four
and five year olds. We tell them that what they’re doing is going to
matter beyond them. We make it into some sort of mytholgical tale. Of
course, it’s just a tale.
Don’t believe me? Then you never played high school athletics. Why
is it cliche for the guy who has not done anything as an adult to
always fall back into telling stories about his High School days?
Because he was sold a lie.
Like medicine that is helpful when taken in appropriate doses, but
dangerous when used in excess this metaphor/lie is tearing at the very
fabric of the values our sports are supposed to be teaching.
Mike Leatch’s actions are just one more example of how dangerous
this metaphor actually is and the danger it can cause if left to go