Atomic City Update: Coaches should be applauded for how they handle tough seasons

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By Phil Scherer

One of the toughest things for a coach to do is continue to keep the motivation of a team high during the tough times. Not every season can be a rousing success, but coaches who are able to keep a team fighting when the going gets rough are the most impressive.

I have seen that quality this season out of Los Alamos High School boys’ basketball coach Mike Kluk. No, the season hasn’t gone as well as some might have hoped. But that team shows up every game ready to fight and make life as difficult as possible for the opposition. 

The team was rewarded with a district victory last week over Moriarty. Some teams might have given up and stopped fighting long before that game. Even after that win, LAHS is only 6-17, but it is obvious they are playing for so much more than just a record. They are playing for pride, and they have a strong desire to keep fighting for each other and improving. 

These kinds of rebuilding seasons happen at all levels of sports, and not everyone handles them with grace and class. At the professional level, coaches often lose their tempers and end up losing their jobs because things don’t go the way they expected. 

Nobody ever said going through a season with a bad team was easy, but the way a coach handles themselves during these trying times is a good way of measuring how strong of a coach they are. 

Honestly, I think that building a team up and gaining success is the greatest thing a coach can do with a team. It’s one thing to have success right away with a group. But it’s an entirely different thing to grow with them and earn success together. 

Difficult seasons also help a fan base to appreciate the good years. Sure, watching LAHS boys’ basketball this season may not be the easiest thing, but if they are better next year, when most of the team returns, everyone can look back on this year and appreciate how far the team has come. 

I think patience is the biggest thing everyone needs to maintain during the rough times. I know it’s not always easy. Everyone wants immediate results. But those are not always possible. 

I think most high school coaches do a great job of handling difficult times with grace and honor. They are much better at handling it than many professionals, and they aren’t getting paid nearly as well for their efforts. Most of the high school coaches do it for the love of the game, and they value the experience even when things are not going their way. 

This is especially true in Los Alamos, and almost every interaction I have ever had with an LAHS coach has been a positive one. We have some of the best and hardest-working coaches in this community. 

So appreciate your favorite teams whether they are winning or not. You never know, success might be right around the next corner, and you wouldn’t want to miss out on that.