The Baseball Observer Nov-Dec 2015 vol 5 - Page 8

The Baseball Observer - Nov/ Dec 2015

Coaches’ Favorites

By Scott Rosberg

Early in my coaching career, fellow coaches and teachers sometimes talked about the idea that we had to make sure we didn’t play favorites. I totally understood and bought in. While everyone is unique, so we could never treat all kids exactly the same way, we needed to make sure that we were consistent and fair in how we treated them all, and that we did not treat kids so differently from one another that it appeared we had favorites.

But a funny thing happened on my way through my teaching and coaching career. I realized that I was a human being. A human being with feelings. A human being that, like all human beings, likes certain types of people for the way they do things and how they treat others more than he likes other people for the way they do things and treat others. And I realized that I felt this way about my students and athletes, as well.

“WHAT!?!? The Horror! How could you, Scott? They are all to be treated the same, no matter what they do, and no matter how human you think you are!” But the more I tried to fit into that neat little package, the more I struggled with it. And the longer I taught, coached, and directed athletics, the more I came to realize that it was okay for me to feel that way. I realized that no matter how hard I tried not to, I was going to have favorites.

Once I realized that, I was able to honestly and openly assess what that meant. When I would discuss the concept with other teachers and coaches, they confided in me that they felt the same way, too. And then I came up with the line that has been my mantra on the subject for most of my career – “Because I am a human being, I have favorites. However, I don’t play favorites.” That idea has guided me for many years now. It freed me to be able to just teach and coach all kids to the best of my ability while at the same time recognizing that they are all different, and I am going to feel differently about each of them because of that.

When I say, “I have favorites,” I mean that there were players who had a combination of talent, skills, effort, attitude, and character that made me like them so much. When one has all of those things, they are going to be our favorites, and so they may get treated a little differently. This happens in all walks of life. I am not saying that they got special treatment, or they weren’t held accountable, or they got whatever they wanted, or anything else like that. But I am saying that, all things being equal (namely talent and skills), the kids who received more of my attention were the ones who I liked more because of the kind of players, workers, teammates,