I dreamt I was living in a bizarro altiverse where mediocrity was rewarded and real stars were taken for granted. Then I heard the news and realised that nightmare had come true.
Some players have all the answers.
They can read the defense and know when to curl or fade off the screen. They make the right decisions in game situations. They know the scout and can defend their match-ups.
A coach can rely on these players. At practice, when the coach pulls up the team to point out a mistake, they already know what it is, and can tell the rest of the team how to adjust to it. In games, the coach can safely expect them to execute whatever they had worked on in training.
They are the go-to players. They are leaders who can show the rookies how it's done; they are selfless when they're called upon as the defensive stopper; and they stand out like high visibility vests when the rest of the team are missing in action.
In a logical world, they would be hailed in all their mighty awesomeness. Or at the very least, recognised for their contribution with a "good work" high-five.
But in this world, they get nothing.
I find it somewhat hypocritical that associations expect only positive things to be said about their players, when you would have a hard time dragging a compliment or acknowledgement out of their own coaches.
Is this why coaches prefer to work with players who need coaching? They get to constantly fix the flaws in their players, all the better if they keep making the same mistake?
I hear coaches reminding players to stay "coachable". To remain humble and listen to what the coach is saying. That's valuable advice. But perhaps some coaches also need a refresher on humility. On giving recognition to players who deserve it, even if it means admitting someone else should be credited with developing that talent.
These players out there, they deserve their props. They do work. They have answers. Maybe coaches should be paying closer attention when they ask the question.