One of the cognitive benefits children can derive from sports is the ability to think critically. These critical thinking skills can be developed in a multitude of ways, ranging from calculating statistics to making snap decisions on the field based on estimating probabilities to evaluating the decision making of others.
Recently in Goal Posts, we have talked about irrational beliefs in sport. These belief systems too often permeate sports, with the media and fans holding unrealistic expectations of players and coaches. In the past week, two notable college coaches ended their tenure at two of the more prestigious football institutions in the country: Charlie Weis at Notre Dame and Bobby Bowden at Florida State.
Charlie Weis was the offensive coordinator with the New England Patriots when he took over as head coach of Notre Dame. Immediately, Irish fans believed their football program would return to its rightful place of prominence in the football world. Few teams captivate the public's attention the way Notre Dame football does - it is one of those love/hate relationships where fans feel strongly one way or the other about the Fighting Irish.
Five years ago, Coach Weis took over a 6-5 program and said, "You are what you are, folks, and right now you're a 6-5 football team. And guess what? That's just not good enough. That's not good enough for you, and it's certainly not going to be good enough for me." Two years later, Weis had taken Notre Dame to back-to-back BCS Bowls and had a 10-year contract. His brash, even arrogant attitude rubbed some the wrong way, while others rejoiced in their coach who talked big and backed it up. A mere three years later, Weis' record is worse than his predecessors Tyrone Willingham and Bob Davie, fans were calling for his firing, and this week, that is exactly what happened.