Todd Beane

Waiting for Godot — Football Federation Folly

Todd Beane
Waiting for Godot — Football Federation Folly

The scene is set. The curtain rises on Samuel Beckett’s “Waiting for Godot.” Vladimir and Estragon take center stage and wait and chat, and wait and chat, and wait some more.

That’s right, the entire production consists of two men paralyzed by the expectation that Godot should arrive. Engaged in conversation for the entire stark play, the men never encounter the very character they expect to appear. Lots of dialogue - no results, no climatic revelations. No Godot. Curtain falls.

Might we all be Vladimir’s as we sit about with expectations of our country’s governing body? Might we all be Estragon’s buying time until something actually happens? I may suggest so.

Good people work at a football federation. This blog is no slight on them. They have children, they have dreams, and they seek fulfillment as any human might. Let’s let them do what it is they do without expecting them to make meaning of our commitment to coaching.

Federations are massive organizations with the principle purpose to administer sport. But administrative organizations are not hotbeds of innovation. It is we who must not babble in the park awaiting inspiration from an office in Chicago. They do what they do sincerely but are irrelevant to our play.  

We need not look for innovation from Goliath. It is David who bears that responsibility and sees opportunity in vulnerability. The administration of the sport has very little to do with the innovation within it.

Does the Recording Academy produce remarkable music? No, they give Grammy’s to artists, mostly to Adele actually, who put emotion into melody. It is U2’s “The Edge” who picks up a guitar in Dublin and explores this world one rift at a time. Does the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences drive innovation? No, they give out Oscars to those who bring characters to life. They honor Meryl Streep and artists like her because she is a master of her craft and honed her skills far beyond the constraints of policy makers and presidents.

Innovation is not administered. The rethinking and redesigning of the craft of coaching will come from a bizarre place, but certainly not from the offices of our soccer federation.

We, as artists, will not wait for Godot.

We will put on our crusty shoes and polish our complaints into solutions. We will drive innovation as we drive to the soggy turf on which we hone our art. The pitch is our stage, our players the protagonists, and we are directors of a play that has power to maximize the potential of our young.

What more do we need?

The Federation has bylaws to attend to. We have children to attend to. A Federation may award us when we, ourselves, step out of the shadows of creativity and bring our production to life. And the moment that we accept that praise, another vocalist will challenge the very assumptions upon which our praise was based. And that is how it should be.

Picasso was crazy until he was a genius.  Edison a failure until he lit up the world. Keller blind until she made us see. Bannister, Cruyff, Ali, Fosbury, Jordan, Palmer, Didrikson, Howe, Evert, and so many more have sculpted beauty through sport. We need only look to Mandela or Ghandi to see that innovation comes from vulnerability coupled with an indomitable will to defy the norms under which we are governed.

GODOT or NO GODOT – That is not the question.

Let’s leave Godot doing what he must off stage. Let’s leave the park of discontents and get to the glorious task of educating our young.  We are not wasting another breathe on excuses nor on accusations.

Act One may have been about our disappointment. Act Two must now be about our aspirations.

Let’s join a collective movement to rethink and redesign talent development. The stage is ours and the players await direction.

Exit Federation stage left.

Coaches, center stage please and... ACTION!