Brief news burst today about Rob Ford leaving his Executive Committee meeting to go coach football. I don’t for a minute think anyone’s really surprised (are they?), but in case they are, he has been very consistent on his promise to always leave City Hall to coach football. In 2006, when he was still a city councillor, he told me:
“I get criticized a lot, because from September and October every day from three o’clock to five o’clock I’m on the football field. And it drives people nuts. They’re like, ‘You’re leaving council to coach football.’ And you know what? I do. I do leave council to coach football for two hours a day and I come right back to council, I’m back down there at six o’clock. My constituents know it, they agree one hundred per cent. These kids, it’s unbelievable where they come from. But they’re playing football, they aren’t getting into trouble. A lot of them have been in and out of jail, a lot of them are in gangs, but they’re athletes. And if you give them an opportunity to play football, if they’re just natural football players, then it’s phenomenal, that they go to university. Because I’m very, very strict. If they don’t have a 60 average, they don’t play. If they miss a class at school that day, they cannot play the following day. You have to be at practice every day, just like you do at work, and I try to set them up in that environment. If you come late to practice? Don’t bother coming. It’s discipline, and they love it and the parents love it.”
I guess the question arising from that attitude is this: if your thing as a coach is that students who miss their obligation (classes) or fail to succeed in those obligations (get a 60 per cent average) don’t get to do the thing they want to do (play), and that is a principle of discipline that defines their character—if that’s your whole character-defining rule, then how do you skip out on your obligations to go do your own side projects? And “you have to be at practice every day, just like you do at work?” Yeah, you’re very strict, all right, coach.