Sunday, September 28, 2008

Practicing what you preach

How many coaches out there haven't said something profane in practice, during a game, or in the locker room at halftime or after a game?

In an emotional, pressure-filled business, cussing is something that happens. That's not an excuse, of course, but you can see how it could happen in the heat of battle.

Well, one NBA coach has sworn (no pun intended) that it's not going to happen with him again.

TOR coach Sam Mitchell, a guy I've genuinely admired since his playing days in the CBA and NBA, is making a concerted effort not to cuss.

Knowing Sam for more than 20 years, I can tell you that when he sets a clear goal, he's likely to achieve it.

Here's what Sam had to say about the reason for the decision:

"I made a vow, a promise to the players and myself that I'm not using any profanity this year, I've been two months and I haven't slipped. I really believe people in general appreciate someone who's always trying to get better. I just think if you become a better person, you become better at your job. I just really believe that.

It's something to let (the players and public) know that, one, I'm growing and maturing every day. Two, I'm trying to get better not only as a coach but as a person; and, three, who wants to be screamed and yelled at and cursed at every day?

You're supposed to try to get better every day of your life and I'm always preaching to those guys about professionalism, about getting better, about doing the right things, about saying the right things. Well, you've got to practice what you preach.

And I'm supposed to be an example for my players. It lets them know if I can make subtle change, so can they."

[There's actually a book out that offers tips for curbing cussing titled "Cuss Control."]