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Coach's Corner: St. Joseph Benton's Kevin Keeton 12/8Photo Credit: Kevin Keeton

I experienced an interesting sequence of events the Wednesday after our season was completed. This story has several take-aways – one of which being the incredible lunacy of social media.

Sometime during the afternoon classes my phone started blowing up. Several friends in our profession texted asking if I was ok, if something was going on, if my situation had changed. All of which is loosely vailed language for – “Hey did you get fired?”

I’ve been fired – or “been resigned” as several of my closest peers like to joke – twice. Sometimes you feel it coming. Sometimes you don’t. Sometimes both happen at the same time – two sides of the same coin. I immediately called back one of the texts, and during the conversation I received a text to call my principal. I took a deep breath, emotionally gathered myself, and called her. The conversation began like this: “Am I fired?” “Nope.” “Are you resigning?” “Nope.”

She then filled in the blanks for me. It was announced at a Northwest Missouri Principals’ meeting that I would need to be replaced on the MSHSAA Advisory Board because I had taken a job in Kansas City. Digging deeper, I learned that after an unfortunate game of social media “operator,” someone mistook came from KC with going to KC.

In roughly 30 minutes of time, I had the opportunity to emotionally process through the act of getting fired again. In an interesting viewpoint, maybe that was a blessing. As coaches, we spend so much time in preparation – getting ready for every possible outcome and scenario from A to Z.

Do we prepare for it all, though? Do we see our own finality?  I wonder how many of us know this fact – YOU took this job TO get fired. I’m aware that’s not a popular way to see our profession. It’s certainly not the way to start your first job. However, the truth is this – most of us will be told at some point a variation of the end. If the scoreboard isn’t right, that conversation is inevitable. Minus the very few, we all have an expiration date.

Each off-season, the turnover begins again. “Hey, this job is open.” “Hey, did you hear about that job?” The experts postulate who is the front-runner for each. Several of you wait with bated breath wondering if the turning of the wheel will be to your advantage.

I get all this. I’ve done it myself. I do not stand in judgement. I do, however, feel for my peers who are going through a “resignation.” If that’s you, take a breath and give yourself the space to process. Whatever you decide to do, emotionally get ready to bite your tongue through May. Those who know what you tried to do, know. Those that don’t, never will. Keep moving forward.

I try to express these truths to assistant coaches as they complete our GKCFCA Leadership Academy. Most of the time I just see bright eyes looking back at me – eyes that remind me of my own years ago.

Coach Gourley, you were right.

Fellas, you’ve been warned. Happy hunting.