Aug 20, 2013 - By Craig Blumenshine, Staff WriterAs dusk was turning into night Monday evening at Riverton High School, the dozen or so coaches of the Wolverine football team and Lady Wolverine volleyball team were still hard at it, working with their players to get as much out of their first-day practices as they possibly could.
And believe me, they were getting a lot of the 120 or so young men and women who by then may have been wondering what they had bargained for as fall sports commenced.
The volleyball girls, after already enduring hours on the court as part of their traditional early season practice regimen, were out on the track trying to meet the team's conditioning standards.
The football players ran drill after drill, some testing their young bodies in ways that all of the sudden seemed foreign when dinner didn't really want to stay down in their tummies any longer.
For one young athlete, dinner won.
But what can't be lost is that all of this effort is under watchful eyes of men and women these kids will forever call Coach.
It's true that that these coaches put in their athletic and activity time, lots of it, for a few dollars an hour when you add it all up. Monday was the first day back to work for Riverton school employees, which meant that most of the coaching staffs of the swim team, tennis squad, cross-country runners, football and volleyball players also compressed a full day's work in their classroom or in meetings planning their days for the upcoming school year in addition to their rigorous practice schedules.
Other coaches completed their non-school day jobs and then joined their athletic teams.
When school starts, it's normal that coaches will put in 10 to 14 hours per day, every weekday, and many more hours on Saturdays and even Sundays when planning for the coming week.
Why bother? It can't be for the money. If you understand how coaches are paid in Wyoming, it really isn't much. And, many coaches work year-round with their sports. Summer weight rooms and open gyms need supervision. Kids don't go to their summer team camps by themselves. Fundraisers need to be organized.
Some high school coaches in Texas make $100,000 per year or more. In Wyoming, the average teaching and coaching salary combined is well south of that.
Each day, we ask our coaches to lead our young people.
They are responsible for motivating our kids. They communicate with athletes directly. In many cases, kids will interact more with their coaches than they will with their own parents at home.
Let's remember again this year that we are lucky to have quality coaches here in Riverton. For those of us who routinely see coaching staffs all over the state, its easy to say we are blessed, and that's true for all seasons.
Coaching is an important vocation.
Why bother coaching? Because these men and women realize that they are directly involved in molding the lives and having a positive impact on our young people.
Just how good is Tim Tebow? Consider what USA Today pointed out yesterday.
Let's add up the NFL playoff wins of former Heisman Trophy winners Andre Ware, Ty Detmer, Gino Torretta, Charlie Ward, Danny Wuerffel, Chris Weinke, Eric Crouch, Carson Palmer, Jason White, Matt Leinart, Troy Smith, Sam Bradford, Cam Newton and Robert Griffin III.
I'll save you time on the math. The answer is a big fat goose egg. Zero.
Is it really true that Tebow, with his one playoff win, is the best NFL former Heisman trophy winner and quarterback since 1987?
Using that standard, you can almost make a case for Tebow greatness.
But many pundits now say that we'll come to our senses again and that he'll be unemployed when the calendar turns to September, and NFL teams trim their final rosters.
Have a great sports week. Go Big Red!
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