The desire to win

I had a chance to have a long talk with the head coach. I asked him how he was holding up under the pressure to win in such a difficult situation. He told me that everyone knew it was going to be a tough road, but that they had come to the realization that in order to find success they had to stick it out and stay with the plan. We talked about how injuries had decimated the core of the team, and they could just not seem to find a way to win.

I had a chance to have a long talk with the head coach. I asked him how he was holding up under the pressure to win in such a difficult situation. He told me that everyone knew it was going to be a tough road, but that they had come to the realization that in order to find success they had to stick it out and stay with the plan. We talked about how injuries had decimated the core of the team, and they could just not seem to find a way to win. When I asked if the administration was going to be patient; he told me they had no choice, and they knew it. If they wanted a winning team, they had to give him a chance to turn it around. He told me they were completely behind him.

No, the conversation was not with my father, it was with San Francisco 49ers head coach Mike Nolan. It was nice to have a chat with Mike, who is struggling under the same kind of pressures as the coaches at Kentucky. The difference perhaps is that he believes he is not under a microscope, with an hour glass dropping sand onto his head. I wish Mike Nolan and his staff the very best. I also hope that a year from now, the pressure to win does not sway the belief of people in this very talented coach. Given proper time, he should be able to bring them some success.

Mike played at Oregon under my Dad, and had his first coaching experiencing under him as a graduate assistant at the University of Oregon. He has taken on the enormous job of turning around a team that has had trouble finding success in the last decade. Patience, he believes, is the key. Could the old adage "patience is a virtue" have a place in football, and be lived by, in a pressure cooker?

When did the desire for winning become the end all to our existence? As a society are we no longer teaching our children the philosophy "it doesn't matter whether you win or lose, it is how you play the game?" If you are teaching your children this, how do you not adapt this to your support of a college or NFL team? Kentucky is struggling, but the players are giving it their all. These players are someone's kids, and if they feel they are giving it everything they have, why isn't that enough? Can't we continue to support them even if they are not winning every game? Or even worse, winning any games?

If you were sending your child off to school, would you want to send your child to a school that couldn't seem to keep the vision? To a school that had a rotating principal and no true objective and path to follow? One principal may have an emphasis on education, the next on making money. I am certain you would want to put your child in a school with a vision of where it was progressing forward to. Constant upheaval and change is not the key to success, but perhaps, sometimes patience is. Giving a person the chance to bring his or her vision to fruition, instead of demanding too much too quick, may have a bigger payoff at the end.

When did we get so removed from integrity, that desire has become the basis for which we formulate our opinions? The desire to win at all costs can't be healthy for anyone. With this kind of mentality is seems only normal that coaches and teams would resort to breaking rules, cheating, playing dirty, and anything they could to give their school/team an upper hand to accomplish the one thing that would get people off their backs: winning. Oh wait, that was done in Kentucky, and look where it got the Cats. Instant gratification does not pay off in the long run. In fact, the long term negative ramifications can be so long lasting, that the short term gratification isn't even worth it..

With a little faith, and some patience, the current direction of the Kentucky football program is improving its core. The strength program is better than it has been. The football recruiting is going well, and we are making inroads at landing the top athletes that this program deserves to have playing for it. Baby steps may not be what anyone wants to pay attention to, but aren't they the true beginning to moving forward?

As a respectable program, Kentucky football is being run with integrity as a foundation. I admire that. I respect the desire to toe the line, and not stoop to the easy way of finding success by bending the rules. Is it harder to find success when you are not willing to compromise your integrity for the quick fix? It probably is, but the rewards you reap from finding that success in an ethical way is a much higher reward.

With all that said, we better start winning. Although I consider myself an optimist, the truth is, the mob mentality of win at all costs is a part of our society. Win or else. Win or else someone better get fired! Win or we need a new quarterback! So let me say it again: WE BETTER START WINNING! It is hard to wait, but patience is a virtue, and the rewards for patience could far outweigh the short sighted "quick fix." I am practicing my patience, but it is very hard, because no one hates to lose more than a Brooks.

Go! (Get out there and show them what you are made of!)

Fight! (Dig deep and give it everything you have, and then some!)

Win! (The Wildcat football team and fans deserve it.)

Go Cats!


Publisher's note: The contents of this article reflect the views of the guest columnist and are not intended to reflect the views of Kentucky Sports Report.

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