10 items in preparing for life

A local high school coach retweeted a story on bigcountrypreps.com with the headline, “What college coaches say raise red flags about potential prospects.”

Intrigued, I retweeted it and read it.

Some really good stuff, there.

There are 10 things and none of them – zero – have anything to do with on-field, on-court stuff.

In fact, they all have to do, in one form or another, with attitude.

And, they can be carried into real life after college.

Attire (don’t dress like a slob).

Posture (don’t slouch).

Eye contact (do not avoid it).

A firm handshake (no dead fish).

Communication skills (no slang, no cussing).

Separate, but equal (treat Duke and ABC University the same).

Taking studies seriously (it’s harder in college).

Attendance records (be at school, be at meetings).

Tardiness (do not be late).

Disciplinary record (speaks for itself).

Written by Doug Pugh, he said he spoke with six college coaches (did not specify any sport) at the Division I or Division I-AA and many of these red flags overlapped.

One great line, I thought, was in attendance records: “Lack of attendance screams lack of commitment.” If you can’t get to high school on time, what makes a college coach think you can get out of the dorm and get to class on time?

Coaches hate late. Employers hate late. Teachers hate late.

Don’t be late.

There are few good excuses for being late.

When you are late and you don’t have one of those good excuses, just apologize and move forward. Do not try to explain it away unless asked.

That’s also the same in the professional world.

Pugh wrote about communication skills, “’tis best you apply the same oratorical consistency you would have in say, church or at your Grandmama’s house just to be safe.”

What the coaches did not touch upon was social media.

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about Pat Welch of Pembroke Academy and how the New Hampshire Basketball Coaches Organization named him as its Division II Boys Player of the Year. Two days later, the organization took it back, along with two opportunities to play in postseason all-star games.

Welch sent out a tweet to the team his team beat for the state championship.

“Shout out to Portsmouth, you may have won in the regular season…… But we won the ship you suck” and finished it with an expletive for a hashtag.

I have heard people saying the tweet wasn’t such a bad thing and the penalty did not fit the crime.

I ask this.

If Welch was standing at the free throw line with 20 seconds left in the game and screamed what he tweeted, would it have been OK then?

High school athletes who are bent on going to college to participate in athletics, coaches are watching what you do.

They are reading what you tweet and watching your body language when you visit their campus.

I watched my son play an AAU game Sunday and watched a player on the other team blow what he had done in the first 90 percent of the game.

His attitude turned bad and it became all about him, despite what the opposing coach tried to do.

If that player was/is looking to play at the next level and a college coach were to be in attendance, that coach would have left thinking about the 10 percent and not the 90 percent.

That’s unfortunate.


Speaking of attitude, there is Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling, who is in a heap of trouble.

People are talking about boycotting this or boycotting that.

Al Sharpton (oh, goodie) even put in his two cents.

This is about NBA Commissioner Adam Silver suspending him indefinitely and fining hin $5 million (or so). In some way, it is also about former NBA Commissioner David Stern doing nothing about Sterling in the past.

This is about the other 29 owners getting together and forcing him out by a 29-0 vote (although, don’t think this is a slam dunk).

It is about the Clippers’ sponsors slowly taking away their money (which has happened).

It’s also about freedom of speech and how, after something is said, that freedom exists for everyone else.

There are always possible consequences for that freedom.

I haven’t liked Sterling since he took the Clippers out of San Diego.

The entire problem about this situation is simple – everyone knew this wasn’t his first rodeo, so to speak, and nothing had been done previously.

If the same Penguins took a 4-0 lead and the same Penguins gave up three in the third to win 4-3, what part of that is on Dan Bylsma and which part is on the players?

(Mathison, a Weirton resident, is the sports editor of the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times and can be contacted at mmathison@heraldstaronline.com and can be followed on Twitter at @MathisonMike).