Having finished another season of coaching flag football – 2 teams this time – I find it’s always good/self-indulgent to reflect on the season(s). There are so many lessons to learn from coaching that I hope I coach long enough to compile a long enough list to make a ton of money off a book that people download, something with a title like “The Basics of Success: 2287 Tips to Get to The Top From Your Personal Rock-Bottom,” or “Win Today: Turning The ShitShow You Call Your Life Into a Success Orgy.” But I probably won’t do that too soon.
This entry is more about some people I encounter regularly who believe that making noise – literally and figuratively – somehow equates to “get shit done,” or GSD. This happens at work, on the field, in the 7-11 parking lot, church choir planning retreats, we could go on and on… In coaching sometimes I have to yell. I mean BELLOW to get a kid’s attention. A lot of kids seem to go by a nickname, so I yell their name and they don’t respond. Instead, they’re just NOT dropping back to cover the flat and just gonna stand there having a go at their, apparently very itchy bum while having a good look at the opposing player running past them. You can’t coach instinct, but you can yell about the lack of effort.
A co-worker of mine is like a human whistle. Noise. Just noise noise noise. Dropping f-bombs in a way that most people use a comma. Got it. You’re fired up. You’re a rebel, a breaker of convention, a THOUGHT LEADER. From 70 feet away, over the tops of cubicles, WE HEAR THAT YOU ARE CONCERNED AND YOU’RE GONNA BE OK. Good job. Now please, shut up so we can GSD. This person, I swear, equates being loud to Leading. That’s “Loudership” (just invented that, trademark 2018), and it’s annoying.
My wife tells me I “really need to yell louder” on the sidelines. I always do. About as loud as I can yell, I let it rip. She’s also usually on the same side as I am, 3 feet behind me, and 30 feet to my left or right. So she can’t hear me trying to get Kayd’n’s attention so he’ll TAKE 5 BIG STEPS FORWARD. Again in the past 3 minutes. And I’m shouting for him to move up, and waving my hand to move up, while yelling “KAAAYD”””N! TAKE 5 BIG STEPS FORWARD.” He looks at me, palms up, as if to say “I am holding an invisible sandwich that is at least 3 feet long. It will drop if move!”
Later, when I ask “Hey, were you able to hear me out there?”
“Yeah, I heard you.”
“Why didn’t you move up?”
“I didn’t know why I should.”
“OK… We don’t have time in the game to explain every little move. We coach that in practice so that, when we tell you where to move, you’re in the best position to make a play for the team. The basic spot you start from is on that corner of the penalty box. You’re not in the wrong place, but if you move there’s a better chance good things will happen. You moved up and the other player had to try and come back inside, and lost the ball. Good job out there!”
“Good talk, get some PowerJuice.”
And this seems to be the way right now, in America. Being loud gets attention. It diverts us away from the constant thrum of whatever else is being hammered on. I’m not saying Kayd’n is trying to divert attention way from his meddling with his sister’s sleepover, or accuse his brother of eating all the Nutella with a spoon. I’m just saying that being loud has its place in the world. But not in the workplace, unless you REALLY need to be LOUD, or just like to yell at kids.