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Inside Column: Weis uninhibited

Ryan Sydlik | Monday, October 30, 2006

I’m sure you saw it. And in case you didn’t, I’m sure someone in your dorm taped it.

“60 Minutes” essentially advertised their piece last night on Charlie Weis as “Weis Uninhibited” and starting out, that’s what it seemed to be. But after the first few minutes, the portrayal changed. It was still “Weis Uninhibited”, but it had a very different kind of frankness.

There are many complicated people in the world, but Charlie Weis will never be one of them. His behavior focuses on two simple goals: 1) Complete, utter and undisputed victory and 2) Family.

Sometimes you have to prove a point. One way to make your case is to reason with someone. Example: “Hey, I need you guys to work hard in practice because if you do you can get stronger and win more games, so pretty please, could you run a littler faster today?”

Ok, I’ll step back a bit. Appeals to reason are not necessarily that wimpy and ineffective. After all, Weis has been known to use simple math to encourage recruits. Example: four Super Bowl rings X you = you + NFL. But everyone, by their human nature, will have periods in their life where they are tired, lazy, or just a little too comfortable when they shouldn’t be. So, how does one solve a simple problem of human nature? Using very loud, but yet very basic methods!

Jimmy Johnson, former coach of the Dallas Cowboys and Miami Dolphins, once criticized head coaches who say they rank God and family ahead of coaching. He said something to the effect that many, if not most, coaches spend an hour a week in church, two hours with family and the other 165 hours in a week doing something related to coaching. It even seemed that he himself was conceding the fact that he was living an upside down life.

Weis said he was a brutally honest man in the “60 Minutes” piece and by the frank tone of his voice, I believed every word he said. Many coaches live personal tragedies obscured by false public glory. But while they might feel hopeless in dealing with family, Weis lacks that major flaw. Just as he’ll use any words necessary to win a football game, he also said he’d do anything necessary to remain a faithful husband and a dedicated father. And though he might be vulgar on the field, he’s certainly not one to bring his work home with him.

“I don’t do anything for just me. I don’t play golf. I don’t go fishing. I don’t even go to a ball game,” is a witty Weis crack, but it speaks volumes about his priorities. The priests at Notre Dame might have been offended by Weis’ language last night, but they should take much greater solace in the fact he is a symbol for the whole world to see the importance of the bedrock institution of family.

Are Weis’ means pretty? Not always. But is he an honest man living towards the ends of a noble life? You better (insert your favorite Charliesm here) believe it.