Preparing for next school year

By Anthony Rhoads

Even though the 2002-03 school year has basically come and gone, it's not too early to think about next year.

No, I'm not talking about football coaches preparing for fall practices or sports writers to think about coverage of the 2003-04 year.

It's something that holds much more important than that.

With many new head coaches in the 2003-04 school year, it's imperative that they are acclimated with something that will serve them well for the rest of their coaching careers.

The sports clich?.

Sports cliches will help them when they are interviewed by their friendly, neighborhood sports writers.

I address the subject now so that the new head coaches and current head coaches who might not be familiar with cliches can peruse the cliches over the summer and fully be ready when the school year starts back up again.

So, here is a sampling of a few choice and useful cliches:

n"I'm proud of the way we played."

This quote is a versatile quote that can be used in a variety of situations. Like most great sports cliches, it can be used after a big win or loss or just about any other game situation. Any head coach would be wise to add it to their file of quotes.

n"This was a great high school (insert sport here) game."

Another versatile quote but it can't be used in all situations. For instance, a basketball coach wouldn't say this about a game that ends in a score of 77-20. This quote is to be used for those special occasions when games come down to the wire and outcome is not decided until the final seconds.

n"I'm excited and thankful about (insert honor here.)"

This quote is useful for coaches and players alike. It can be used if a team makes it to a state tournament or if a coach or player wins an individual award or honor.

n"This is a rebuilding year."

This quote can be used by any coach who knows his or her team is going to have a less-than-stellar season. It is especially useful if a team has lost many seniors from the previous year and practically any new head coach can use the quote.

n"We have a lot of respect for (insert team here). You can never take them lightly. We can't take any team lightly. We have to be ready to play."

This is a sampling of quotes that are useful for preview stories. Coaches can use these quotes when talking about the upcoming opponent or some of them can be used when talking about his own team.

Lovejoy head coach Al Hughes is a master of these kinds of quotes.

All week, he'll talk about how great the upcoming opponent is, about how his team will have to prepare and how much respect he has for the opposing coach.

Then on Friday night, the Wildcats will go out and beat their opponents 56-7.

Anyway, I hope that this brief look at sports cliches will prove to be useful for head coaches out there. Cliches are a part of the game; they're fundamental parts of the business just like blockin' and tacklin'.

They will serve you well. Have a good summer and see you in August.

Anthony Rhoads is a sports writer for The Daily. He can be reached at arhoads@news-daily.com