Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Doesn't Play Well With Others

I like to point out all the time the benefits of sports in teaching life lessons.  The values of hard work and honesty, realizing that there are always going to be winners and losers, and learning how to be a good teammate and to contribute toward common success are just a few examples.  Unfortunately, not everybody seems to learn those lessons--no matter how long they play the game.

Take for example former UW Oshkosh Baseball Head Coach Tom Lechnir.  For those of us who interact with UWO Athletics on a regular basis, yesterday's appeal hearing of his termination as coach revealed nothing that we hadn't heard from athletes and other coaches for years.  Unhappy that his ball diamond wasn't included in the first phase of improvements to the Oshkosh Sports Complex, Lechnir executed a power play and just solicited funds for his own project--making sure that all contributions were to be kept completely separate from OSC funds.  He held his bosses within the Athletic Department in contempt--even using the media to call them "criminals" and "pawns".  Lechnir acted like he was untouchable, refusing to change his behavior despite repeated requests and warning from his superiors--and even bragged about how "confrontational" he is.

I wonder how Coach Lechnir would feel about such behavior if it was one of his players who was acting like this.  Let's say "Player Tom" always ran through stop signs at third base--and then justified that behavior by saying that his scoring a run anyways should be celebrated.  What if "Player Tom" refused to participate in the work out program with his teammates?  Or how about if "Player Tom" did media interviews and derided his coaches and teammates--calling them "talentless" and "useless"?

I guessing that Coach Lechnir would kick that player off his team--because someone like that is a cancer on the program.  But what if "Player Tom" then appealed his dismissal--and demanded an open hearing in front of non-Athletic Department personnel--to claim that the Coach was "being unfair" to him--and to demand that he be put back on the team?  Would Coach Lechnir make arguments to how detrimental re-instatement would be?  And how rewarding such behavior would make it nearly impossible to coach other players--or to maintain a positive team-first atmosphere in the locker room?

I don't know the backgrounds of the faculty committee members that conducted the appeal hearing on Tuesday--but hopefully they played some team sports in the past--and remembered the lessons they learned.

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