Is your image of a coach the person who stands on the sidelines during a game shouting our directions and sending in plays? Granted, when I think of coach, I can’t help but see Tom Hanks as Jimmy Dugan in the 1992 movie A League of Their Own. His eyes nearly popping out of his head as he yells at the fragile, sobbing Evelyn, "There’s no crying in baseball!"
Whatever your image of a coach, it is probably of a person who focuses primarily on results. However, some of my favorite movies revolve around stories of coaches who go beyond the score to create an environment where players move to another level. In effect, the coaches are the catalyst for a shift in consciousness. Movies like Remember the Titans and We Are Marshall are prime examples that touched my heart.
For me, a 2000 movie directed by Robert Redford made that shift by way of a perfect swing. The Legend of Bagger Vance was the big screen version of the 1995 book whose subtitle is even more on point: "A Novel of Golf and the Game of Life." Will Smith added his smooth touch to Bagger’s Hindu flavored wisdom: "I hear you lost your swing. I guess we got to go find it."
"There’s only ONE shot that’s in perfect harmony with the field… One shot that’s his authentic shot, and that shot is gonna choose him… There’s a perfect shot out there tryin’ to find each and every one of us."
Even though I never thought of this before, you could say poker chose me. I know I have found perfect harmony within the game.
Am I a poker coach or a poker mentor? I would like to think of myself as some of both, always focusing on how to better your life. Although as the years fly by, I realize that I am more of a student than a teacher. As for wisdom, well, I’m wise enough to know that I will always have mentors in my life. In fact, I would not want a mentor unless she or he also had trusted counselors of their own.
In my quest for self-improvement, I must grin and confess… my head trash sometimes still echoes Jimmy Dugan’s words in Tom Hanks’ voice, "Start using your head… that lump that’s three feet above your ass!"