I spend some time on this blog bashing football coaches because, well, because many of them are numbskulls who use and abuse players, cheat to win, and do all sorts of other nefarious things, all while being treated like kings by their schools or universities.
But every once in a while along comes a leader on the gridiron who deserves our acclaim, and I just found one on Wednesday.
His name is Matt Labrum, and he coaches at Union High School in Roosevelt, Utah.
After his team’s loss last week, and faced with a string of off-the-field incidents involving his players skipping class and bullying other students, Labrum suspended all 41 players from the team.
“We felt like everything was going in a direction that we didn’t want our young men going,” Labrum told the Salt Lake City Deseret News. “We felt like we needed to make a stand.”
Labrum met with players Saturday and gave them a letter outlining what they needed to do to earn their way back onto the team.
An excerpt from the letter:
“The lack of character we are showing off the field is outshining what we are achieving on the field. It is a privilege to play this wonderful game! We must earn the opportunity to have the honor to put on our high school jerseys each Thursday and Friday night!”
I love it. A coach reminding his players that playing football is a privilege, not a right, is nothing new. But a coach actually meaning it, and taking it away from his kids when they behave like fools? That is something great.
Here’s an updated story on Labrum and the team; after two days of volunteer work, he allowed 32 of the 41 back on the squad. I would’ve liked to see him follow through by having them miss a game or two, but hey, I don’t want to pick nits.
Take a bow, Coach Labrum. I love what you did, and I’m sure many others did, too.
Hell, I bet even Eric Taylor at Dillon High would’ve been proud.
**Next, in my continuing sorta, kinda fall TV preview, I’m happy to report that as awful as “The Goldbergs” pilot was, I can’t say enough good things about “Mom,” the new CBS show starring Anna Faris and Allison Janney, the latter of whom will always hold a special place in my heart for being C.J. Cregg on “The West Wing.”
I watched “Mom” last night and it was really, really funny. Faris is a recovering alcoholic waitress with two kids, no husband, and a loser for a mother (Janney).
Sadly, Faris’ Christy is repeating all the same mistakes her drug and alcohol-addicted mother made with her, and the first episode deals with them tentatively making up and forgiving each other. (My favorite line, spoken by Christy at an AA meeting: “Some mothers teach you how to cook. Mine taught me how to beat a cavity search and still feel like a lady.”)
French Stewart and Nate Corddry are also both in the cast, and both hilarious. I laughed out loud at least 10 times in the first episode; the jokes come fast and furious and are pretty raunchy, but you can tell there’s a strong heart beating in this show.
Chuck Lorre created it and he gave us “The Big Bang Theory” so I figured it was worth a shot.
Sometimes a show’s pilot is the best thing it ever does, and it all goes downhill from there. I hope that’s not the case here, because “Mom” was surprisingly awesome.
**Finally today, the NHL season is almost hear and I’m of course quite psyched. I have no idea if my Rangers, under a new coach, are going to be much better or much worse, but I feel confident it’ll be one extreme.
One thing I know for sure: Henrik Lundqvist will be awesome in net. He’s also proved to be awesome in commercials too; the Peyton Manning of the NHL, if you will.
Check out this new ad he did for a Swedish version of Head and Shoulders shampoo, showing a model how best to “sell” the product.