To me, coaches are often enigmatic figures

Having shot far too many sporting events for me to count, I've been around a LOT of athletes. And athletes have coaches. So, being in a dug out or sideline during all those games I've been close to coaches. In fact, they're often the main subject of some of my photos.

Coaches come in many flavors. I've been around coaches whose temperaments have spanned the spectrum from Mother Teresa to the Tasmanian Devil. As a scientist, they have become in a sense, an object of observation and "study."

Since I've been shooting a lot school sports recently I've observed that school coaches are, in general, "unfriendly" or so highly focused on the team/game that there's no head-nod, eye contact, or utterance such as a simple "hi." This is true even if they see me around many times and even go to my site to look at photos.

I've also observed that coaches are doing a LOT more hollering and yelling during a game. I mean a LOT more and often I've heard coaches yelling denigrating things at a specific player or too.

I've also been fortunate to overhear some incredibly encouraging comments and great advice and direction.

So what is it with them? Are they all meanies, or what?

Several coaches have also taught me not to judge a book by its cover. That perhaps their persona is all part of an act - sort of, a sheep in a wolf's clothing.

I witnessed a sheep doff it's wolf's clothing last night. Back story: I've been around the coach of the First Flight girl's basketball team many times over about 4 years. We've never spoken or acknowledged each other (I admit that this is a two-way street). I don't even know his name (my bad). Coach yells a lot during a game (mainly directions but also he'll shout encouragement; I've never heard him yell abusive comments). Yelling must be a part of a coach's job description

So the coach WAS an enigma to me. That is, last night I saw coach as a passionate guy who really cares for his players.

The scene was when a defensive player came over the back of one of his players and knocked her to the floor. Unfortunately, she landed on her back and hit her head - hard. I was very close and I hear her head hit - ouch. The player was clearly in a lot of pain and was crying. Her teammates ran to her.

Coach came out onto the floor and shooed away the players. The girl was still crying. The coach sat on the floor and said something to her. It looked as if they were they only ones around. The player stopped crying and began to smile. She then began to laugh. It was in those moments that sheep was exposed.

Respect coach.

Until next time, be safe, be kind, and read the whole book before you judge it.