The Tao of Groh

Best Seat in the House column by Chris Graham

“Really,” Virginia football coach Al Groh said the other day, addressing reporters after a UVa. football practice, “the issue of hydration occurs before the issue of dehydration occurs.”

That is … well, it’s either profound, or I don’t know what profound is.

Let’s look past for the moment how obvious the statement was – or how slow a news day the particular UVa. football practice had to have been to have forced a reporter to get a $2 million-a-year football coach to pontificate on the subject of proper hydration.

OK, so it’s impossible to try to do that.

Because as the news item in the Daily Progress continued, Groh went on to explain that the best time for players to hydrate “is in the evenings and in the mornings before practice.”
Now, keep in mind that I am a sportswriter and sports broadcaster – so I think I’m as well-qualified to speak on this subject as anybody else.

So when I say, We have gone way, way, way too far in this idolatry that we give to sports figures, I hope it registers.

Because, seriously …

I mean, the guy’s a football coach – not Mr. Wizard.

Hell, by his own admission, he had a hard time graduating from UVa. when he played there a hundred years ago.

Come on, the guy still uses the 3-4 – and we want to know what he has to relate to us on the subject of proper health and fitness?

Not for nothing, it doesn’t make sense to me that you have to have football practice out in the heat of the day when temperatures are above 100 on the fahrenheit scale to begin with.

Here’s an idea – have practice at, say, ten-thirty at night, or three in the morning, you know, if you want your kids to still have legs when the season starts.

But I’m just a writer, which means I basically know nothing except what my editors tell me to ask.

And I’m sure that’s where this boner of a discussion got started – because some goofus with an editor’s title back at the office sitting in front of the air conditioner wanted to know what the ball coach had to say about having his charges sweating in the summer sunshine.

Here’s an answer for you, scribe – it’s summer in the South, so we deal with it.

My reading of the answer from Groh on the subject of dehydration is that’s basically what he was saying, without having to be so direct about it.

That, or he misunderstood and thought that we wanted to hear him dissertate – you know, given that he is the highest-paid employee at one of the nation’s premier institutions of higher learning.

In which case we’d have to reply – thanks, Coach, but really, what we were wondering is, are you still going to use that stupid 3-4?

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The book, with additional reporting by Scott Ratcliffe and Zach Pereles, will take you from the aftermath of the stunning first-round loss to UMBC in 2018, and how coach Tony Bennett and his team used that loss as the source of strength, through to the ACC regular-season championship, the run to the Final Four, and the thrilling overtime win over Texas Tech to win the 2019 national title, the first in school history.
 
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