Thursday, February 02, 2017

Second String

Gary Kubiak resigned from his head coaching position with the Denver Broncos. This came in the wake of a nine win, seven loss season which came in the wake of a Super Bowl winning season the year before. The Denver Broncos will not be defending their championship this Sunday. Instead, like so many of the rest of us, Gary will be sitting back and watching from the comfort of his couch. Or maybe a luxury box somewhere in Houston. Gary used to be the head coach for the Texans, whose stadium will be the site of Super Bowl Fifty-One.
Gary did not coach the Texans in a Super Bowl. He won his share of games there, but never "the big one." He did coach in more than the Super Bowl he won as the Broncos' head coach. He was an assistant coach with that same team for ten years, including the two that included the franchise's first two Super Bowl wins. He was also an assistant coach with the San Francisco 49ers when they won a Super Bowl back in 1994. And before that, he was the backup quarterback for the face of the Denver Broncos, John Elway, starting in 1983.
That was a long time ago. It took Gary Kubiak thirty-some years to rise to the pinnacle of his profession, after spending a career watching from the sidelines. Such is the nature of second string. If you ascribe to that notion that a chain is only as strong as its weakest link, then you can imagine that spending that much time around Super Bowl caliber players and coaches must have forged quite a sturdy bit of character for Mister Kubiak. I want to believe this because I spent a good chunk of my athletic career on the second string.
I was a wrestler on the B Mat. This meant that I wrestled the second best wrestler that the opposition had in my weight class. This was because I had the relative good fortune of being on a team that generated three different state champions. Eventually. We were in junior high at the time, but these were guys whose families lived and breathed the sport. I went out for wrestling because it wasn't basketball, and my older brother had some success in that endeavor. Lots of sweating, lots of nose bleeds and still more sweating, and every Wednesday night we would have wrestle-offs to see who would be on A Mat for that week's match. I made several valiant attempts, but never made the grade. Most often, I felt secure enough in my B-ness to let it ride. The world needs more B Mat guys. That's what I told myself, anyway.
And now, the ultimate B Mat guy, Gary Kubiak is riding off into the sunset. Congratulations to him for managing all those egos without ever losing track of his own. And winning that trophy for himself. Thanks for showing us how important that second string is.

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