Sunday, January 13, 2013


All that ridiculous banter about Rex Ryan’s tasteless tattoo basking in the sun of the Bahamas last week really got me thinking—shouldn’t Rex be reflecting on his season as head coach of the New York Jets?  Reflection is an important ingredient for lifelong learning and if the notion of “Hit me once, shame on you, hit me twice shame on me” is true then shouldn’t all coaches engage in reflection?

From his frenzied conversation with WFAN, to his press conference soundbites, New York Giants coach, Tom Coughlin, is doing everything but lying in the tropical sun.  He is frantically searching for answers and reflecting on a losing season.  "For us, right now, to not be in the playoffs; to be the Super Bowl champion and not be in the playoffs, if that doesn’t bring you down to earth and create the kind of humility that comes along with getting your nose back to the grindstone, I don’t know what does,” said the lamenting coach according to an article published in the New Jersey Star Ledger.

And let’s not forget that our very own Joe Girardi did his soul searching in the early part of the fall.  "I don't look back and second-guess myself. I was making moves, trying to win ballgames,” said Girardi at the end of October according to the New Jersey Star Ledger’s article Joe Girardi:  Yankees didn’t accomplish what they set out to do.  He added later in the article, "I believe when spring training starts we'll have a championship caliber club."  This kind of positive talk parallels the post we had up titled, THINK POSITIVE, NOT PERFECT

Sure, reflection needs to be ugly.  It needs to be honest and truthful.  That’s how you get answers on how to improve.  It’s where you conduct a full “Crime Scene Investigation” of your season, pick out the clues and artifacts that caused the season to go in that direction, make decisions, and move on positively.  You can’t cry over it, but you can do something about it.
It was hard, emotionally for the Yankees, who rely on their captain for not only offense but persistence and passion, to lose Jeter at the end of last season.  It was a terrible blow for them.  “It’s hard to put into words just how much losing Jeter hurts the Yankees. Not only is it a huge psychological and emotional blow to see the face of your franchise, a guy who doggedly plays through pain like Jete has been doing for a month, literally carried off of the field like that, but Jeter was one of their best hitters at the moment to boot,” said SNY’s Brien Jackson (HERE.)  And let’s not forget that we lost Mo at the beginning of the season, for the whole season. 

But, we know and certainly, Girardi knows that it was more than that.  Frankly, both Girardi and Coughlin both thought their teams were good enough to win.  But something very different happened on the field.  Something was clearly missing when it came down to actually closing the deal.  And each New York coach may have been missing something that you can’t readily see when everyone’s working hard in practice.  Yet Coughlin saw it as he reflected and Girardi may have also.

 "I had gotten myself so into this preparation, so into us playing well, my competitive juices were flowing so, I should have made sure everyone was drug along with me,” said Coughlin in the Ledger article Giants’ Tom Coughlin ‘walking around like a crazy man’ after missing the playoffs, (HERE.)

That sort of high-level reflection is what makes losing, gaining.  It makes losers, winners.  Coaches need to taste humility a little in order to be better in touch with their players.  Reflection teaches you that. 

What are your reflections?  We want to hear them because as fans we need to all be on that same competitive drug if we are going to cheer on champions in 2013.

--Suzie Pinstripe, BYB Opinion Columnist
Twitter: @suzieprof

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