Obviously, I’m not going anywhere. I’m the same guy I was. Still running ITL and journaling regularly in this space for people interested in succeeding in the biz.
I hope you’ll accept a funny War Story, since it’s Wednesday, for your trouble.
In the 90s, before the Internet, ATM cards and Pay Pal, money was a lot different. When coaches were going out to recruit, schools handed them a wad of traveler’s cheques — I’m not even sure if these things still exist — and sent them on their way. Today’s WSW is about one coach I know. He even went on to be an FBS head coach and had great success. Maybe today’s story explains how things had a way of working out for him.
This coach was not especially disciplined. In fact, during his time as an assistant coach in the early 90s, his team had been reluctant to send him on the road, fearful he might get himself into trouble. Eventually, the team relented, sending him to South Florida, around Miami. What could happen, right?
Plenty happened. In his first days in South Florida, he discovered Jai Alai, a kind of ‘team racquetball’ contest that was exceptionally popular in the area in the late 80s/early 90s, especially with gamblers. Back then, pari-mutuel wagering and Jai Alai went together like Miami and vice. In the space of a day or two, two things happened. One, the coach got a crash course in Jai Alai. Two, he became dead broke.
That left him with few options. There were no cell phones, and what would he say if he called the school anyway? For the coach, a burly sort, there was one thing to do: find the bars on the Hispanic side of town, where he had an idea.
He’d wait for things to get busy, then challenge a fellow bar patron to arm wrestle. Arm wrestling was this coach’s game, and this became his hustle. For several nights, he spent the evenings arm wrestling for $10 a match, then sleeping in his car.
At this point, fortune smiled on him. Details are scarce, but either he was able to locate a former coach in South Florida, or he bumped into him a friend one night at the bar. Either way, he found a sympathetic ear, and his friend allowed him to sleep on his floor. Now the coach had access to a phone and non-vehicular lodging.
From there, with a small loan from his friend and his earnings toppling arm wrestling enthusiasts, the coach went on a whirlwind recruiting trip, hitting all his stops and making all his contacts before returning to the school. It all worked out, though odds were against it almost from the start.
I like to provide a moral to my anecdotes, or at least make a point. I’m not sure there’s a point today. Maybe today’s lesson is that even when things work out, you’ll need a few breaks. Good thing my friend, this coach, got plenty during his recruiting trip to Florida.