I know it’s basketball season and not football season, but in Oklahoma, football season is almost year-round. For college, it is time for spring football, and for fans of the University of Oklahoma, there is some anticipation because of head coach Brent Venables beginning his time of leading the Sooners.
Many are excited about Coach V, and it can be understandable because whenever he talks, he exudes excitement and motivation. This week, he had his first spring football press conference, and it was quite entertaining.
Sportswriter Bob Przybylo asked Venables if he was going to allow recruits to visit other schools after they make a commitment to come to OU. Click on this link, which should go directly to the point Przybylo asks Venables his question. Venables’ response is about four minutes long, but it’s worth watching. There is a lot to unpack in his response, which I do. Here’s my six takeaways from Venables talking about commitment.
- ‘What’s commitment mean to you?’
I always love it when someone getting interviewed answers a question with a question. I’ve watched this exchange at least 10 times, and it’s great to see Venables give a little smile after taking a drink of water and right before he responds.
And what a heavy question Venables offers! What does commitment mean? In an ever-changing world, commitment almost seems impossible in just about any circumstance, so it can be hard for some people to fully explain let alone demonstrate commitment.
I don’t know Bob Pryzbylo, and in some ways I feel bad for him, but in other ways, I’m glad he asked the question because the response Venables gives is powerful and—yes, he’s promoting OU football—should be watched by many, even beyond OU fans, because this is a lost but important message.
- ‘A commitment is not a reservation’
Now Pryzbylo is getting grilled about the time he proposed to his wife. Even though Bob is not on screen, it appears as if he’s willing to be a good sport in taking the direct shots from Venables. Bob also received an uncomfortable nickname, which I won’t mention in this blog, but again, I get the feeling he is willing to be a good sport.
One fascinating aspect is how Venables emphasizes the commitment a man and woman should have in a marriage, especially from the point of engagement. Of course, the coach doesn’t single out specifically man and woman, but even after this week when a candidate for the Supreme Court can’t give a definition of what is a woman, the understanding Venables offers of not only the distinction between and man and a woman, but also the understanding that marriage is to INVOLVE a man and a woman.
And then Venables gives an even more important measure about commitment when he says what commitment is NOT. It is not a reservation. A reservation you can cancel. A commitment you cannot, if you are a person of integrity.
- ‘Teach young people what commitment means’
Venables mentions more than once how it is important for young people to learn about commitment. Young people want to be taught and have role models and mentors. This is refreshing for Venables to point this out.
He talks about teaching young people ethics and morality. Of course, it is possible, though on a limit basis, to learn ethics and morality and not be a Christian, but I would go further than what Venables said and disciple young people to grow in Christian faith.
“Train up a child in a way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it” (Prov. 22:6).
- ‘It’s bad form’
Venables even challenged his own peers in the coaching profession. He said it is just as important for coaches to commit to players and not desert them in the recruiting process. He’s right, it is bad form.
I know Venables is only in his first three months as OU’s head football coach, but I am getting more and more excited about him leading the Sooners—and not just on the field.
- ‘I’m not going to apologize for having a moral compass’
Knowing that it is common practice to handle recruits differently, especially players who are highly recruited, Venables is aware that some coaches make some exceptions for players who could have a major impact. Honestly, it can be easier said than done when it comes to treating all recruits equally, especially if it means they miss out on some exceptionally-talented players.
Venables saying he won’t apologize for having a moral compass means if a big-time recruit won’t go to OU because he wants special privileges then Coach V is OK with that.
In my personal opinion, more often than not, players like this don’t always turn out to be as special as expected. Yes, they can be flashy and fun to watch, but there could also be some extra baggage that’s not worth taking.
So good for Coach V for expressing the importance of keeping a commitment and wanting to teach young people what is right and how to behave and treat other people.
- Rewired also emphasizes commitment and having a moral compass
I end this week’s DHD with a message for men. Commitment is not just for college football players. It’s for all people. Men have the opportunity next month to spend a weekend with other men and focus on what it means to be committed. On April 29-30 at Falls Creek Conference Center, near Davis, the annual Rewired Men’s Conference will happen, and I invite all men no matter your background, marital status or church involvement.
This is a great experience with a lot of fun and a great time for men to connect and learn what it means to be committed.