17.GET BACK (378)

Having played six man high school football I love watching “you tube” clips of Texas six man.  One of the few places it is still played.  Crowell High School seems to be among the best teams.

I spent twenty-one years at a college that didn’t field football. I was out of the loop when Elon College hired me.  It was 1985 and Elon had won two NAIA football titles in 1980 and 1981.  The then “Fightin’ Christians were ranked #1 the NAIA when I arrived.  As part of my job was administration and football was  very important, I tried to learn all  I could to be helpful.  My main source of information was Clay.   Clay Hassard was a former ALL AMERICAN, and though 6’5” and about 275 lbs, he was kind till uniformed. Clay was on the football staff that included Larry McClain and shared an office with another oversized nice guy.   They indulged my interest and helped in a lot of ways.  Clay had a year ahead of Larry and thus laughed when staff appointments revealed Larry was now the “get back coach”!

The  what I asked?  Clay explained there were some crap jobs all staffs have to cover.  Every team has to have a “get back coach”, because the non playing teammates get excited and edge up too close to the side lines.  While dangerous, which seemed to matter little, your team can be penalized!  Next game watch for this coach, pushing and shoving and yelling “get back! get back! get back!”

(For your information the worst assignment is monitoring the “mess-up” list.  You have to meet the screwups at 5:30 am at the stadium to supervise  early runs.)

Like all athletic departments we had an awards banquet. Every year.  We also had an annual Hall of Fame banquet.  And a couple of others at which outsiders spoke.  We became astute at getting these done in about two hours.  It requires some effort.

Tennis fans watching Wimbledon will soon recognize a guy dressed in black with a black straw hat sitting in the same box seat annually.  That is the players box and 75 year old, David Starling is the “steward” of the box.  Sort of a host/guardian task.

Maybe a steward is a good idea for speaking events.  You have to be discreet, up to a point.  I watched the Gong Show with Chuck Burris back in the day.  Can’t gong ’em.  Maybe you rent David and the black suit.   Out of sight and unobtrusive until “that guy” violates the time limits or decent behavior,  the Get Down coach simply stands.  And we mean it.

We worked hard  to protect our events.  It pays off.  Find yourselves a GET DOWN coach.  Below is a reprint of some guidelines we hammered out that worked:


1. While this is a special time for you, your time is limited.

2. Rehearse your speech and try to finish  under your allotted time.   Brevity is the soul of wit.

3.  Respect your audience.

4.  If you speak for too long, you infringe upon the other speaker’s time, and create the potential for audience discomfort.

5.  Many speakers “get in and can’t get out” — it’s okay to just stop telling a story and move on.   Practice it.

6.  Some speakers are surprised by their emotions.    Talking about parents, family, team mates, coaches and schools can trigger deep and powerful and surprising emotions.

7.  The monitor runs the show.   It’s essential that the moderator make the ground rules for speakers clear in the rehearsal.   If you should exceed your time limit, the monitor  GET DOWN COACH will rise.   This is the signal to wrap it up quickly.




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s