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Job interview is a two-way street, a negotiation with preparation

Cape athletic talent coagulates around certain sports
November 24, 2017

Art of the Deal - Interesting that Donald Trump didn’t physically engage in the writing process for his best-selling book, but rather talked to writer Tony Schwartz who put form and coherence to the mildly interesting memoir. I have talked to a few coaches with interest in the Cape football job, and I stress to them that the inquiry and interview process is a negotiation, and if they are prepared, it’s unlikely the other side will have thought it through to any great depth. Obviously, start with strengths and never mention weaknesses, and offer a list of requirements that have to be met for you to take the job. But an all-or-nothing approach almost always results in nothing; it is a time for flexibility, just like scripted plays on game day. I would never hire a coach who was unprepared in the interview, and I would bring in a clinician like George Glenn who can expose a bull jiver in less time than a two-minute drill with no timeouts. I know nothing about coach prospects, which is better than most who know next to nothing, but I’d think Mike Tkach, J.D. Maull and Haywood Burton are three solid men Cape will talk to, along with others.

Distribution of wealth - Cape has grown into a pretty big four-year high school with more than 1,500 students. Speaking of sports teams, I always said, “Give me the talent I identify, assuming I can motivate athletes to work hard, and I will win state championships, from cross country to indoor and outdoor track and field.” The problem is, it doesn’t work that way, and a head coach only gets a percentage of who they need, even though the athletes are in the building. Girls’ basketball is the cheese inside the grilled sandwich. The problem is, the hockey and lacrosse crowds don’t flow into a winter sport; they are too productively busy playing indoor hockey or lacrosse or working on strength, speed and nutrition. Indoor track for girls is a potential player in statewide competition, but many identified athletes don’t want to do it, and they have their reasons. There are a few baseball players who would help build depth to the basketball team, but they opt out, electing to prep for baseball season. And many sports are cyclical, with great seasons followed by a season on the brink. It’s tough out there, and some good coaches just get worn down quickly and retire early.

My social network - I live an upside-down lifestyle, sleep at night and prowl in the morning. That’s why I cover so many road races. Where else can you find 300 friends at 8 o’clock in the morning and be back home by 10 a.m.? I like races that begin and end and are an actual competition like a sport. I’m not big into gimmicks, although costumes are OK if they help you run faster.

Eagles playing for home field - The Eagles are playing for NFC home field through the playoffs. You don’t want to play a championship game in New Orleans, Minnesota, Atlanta, Los Angeles or Seattle. The season is no longer about beating Dallas in the final week. The Eagles will be resting their starters, hopefully, unless they are playing for home field. I expect at least one wheel to come off the bandwagon before it pulls into the Reading Terminal.  

Sad, not sorry - There is no reason for me or my family to feel sorry for ourselves rolling into the holiday season because we are here and blessed in so many ways. We have so much for which to be thankful. I am sad my son Tom is not here to share, but I feel that he is somewhere – spirits don’t vanish. The universe is so vast just to hold them all. There have been signs, like two moons in a photo, or last week a starling sitting on the curtain rod in the downstairs shower like he was domesticated. I went right up to him at birds-eye level and he seemed to be saying, “What’s up?” Sounds like Tom, why not? Like Rod Stewart sang, “I look to find a reason to believe.” 

Snippets - I love wrestlers and have great admiration for them. I once wrote a cheer – goes back to 1990 – but the cheerleaders rejected it. “Sink in the cradle, lock up the crotch, if he starts to wince, turn it up a notch.” Go on now, git!  

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