USWNT Coach sets positive example for all
Coach Stauber personified ‘grace under pressure’
The 2018 gold medal winning women’s Olympic team’s head coach was a role model at the highest level. Coach Robb Stauber personified ‘grace under pressure.’
With the world watching, an Olympic gold medal on the line, and a star player on the ice resulting from a questionable hit, Stauber kept control of his emotions.
The camera showed Stauber at the boards, clearly–but calmly–signaling for a 5-minute major penalty. He wasn’t screaming. The coach wasn’t ranting. He wasn’t red-faced. This was the gold medal game in the Olympics, it would have been understandable if he were more… animated. But he wasn’t.
It’s a lesson that all hockey coaches can take away, and put in our pocket, and hopefully remember the next time we want to lose our religion over a very close offsides call at a squirt game.
Here’s the rundown of the play
The hit was between two of the game’s finest. Brianna Decker–who received the hit–is a Team USA alternate captain, and an agile forward. Not to mention, Decker is the 2016-2017 season’s NWHL MVP. Canada’s Captain, Marie Philip-Poulin, levied the blow. Philip-Poulin has not one, but two Olympic gold medals, plus she has captured the CWHL MVP twice.
“I don’t think the hit was deliberately dirty,” Zoe Bear said. “She [Philip-Poulin] is Team Canada’s captain for a reason. I watched her play a few times in college [Boston University]. She plays hard, but she doesn’t play dirty.”
At first, it looked like the shoulder caught her head. The replay showed it may have been Philip-Poulin’s elbow that caught Decker’s head. But she didn’t extend the elbow, which is an important distinction. Nonetheless, it was head contact, which should have carried at least a minor penalty. With Decker slow to get up, and forcing a stoppage in play, there was a legitimate case for Stauber to make for the major penalty.
No call. Coaches, how would you have reacted?
Instead the refs chose to keep the whistles in their pockets. We have seen many a youth, high school, and college coach completely lose their cool in similar, even lesser situations. In the interest of full-disclosure, each of the three of us may be guilty of over-reacting a time or two. But Stauber didn’t. Instead, the coach retained his composure.
Even when the ref came over and explained the decision, there was no argument from the coach. His facial expression said he didn’t like it, but he accepted it. He let it go, presumably, and continued with the task at hand–coaching an Olympic gold medal game.
What would have happened, if he let his emotions get the better of him? Would it have changed the officials call? Nope. Would it have effected his team? Possibly. But it could have effected the team negatively as well. If the coach lost his cool, the team may have followed suit and lost their composure, as well. Would that have brought home a gold medal? Probably not.
Team USA followed Coach Stauber’s example to Olympic gold
But the fact remains, Coach Stauber didn’t lose his cool. He maintained his composure. His team followed suit and went-on to win the gold medal, breaking a 20-year Olympic draught for the women of Team USA.
Next time we are thinking about screaming at a questionable off-sides call in a squirt game, we hope we remember Coach Stauber. We hope we remember his composure on the world stage. We hope we remember his wonderful example.
Every coach can take Coach Stauber’s example to the bank.