I Don’t Care

It’s the last week of summer break.  My family is back from vacation.  Michele, Sam and I spent six days and five nights in Arlington, TX.  Arlington and the Dallas area had 41 straight days of highs in triple digits, but the Texas Ranger baseball team was just as hot.  We watched five games, four wins for the Rangers and two of them were last inning, walk-off wins.  My grandson, Jacob, got back the same night from spending a month with his dad in Oregon.

The final weekend of the summer we spent at home in Maryville.  In the early evening, I asked Sam and Jacob what they wanted to eat.  Both responded, “I don’t care.”  They said they were thirsty and wanted pop.  I asked what kind of pop and they again said, “I don’t care.”

The eating should have been easy for Sam.  All he eats are peanut butter sandwiches and cheese pizza.  He still said, “I don’t care.”  If I would have brought back liver and onions, I’ll bet he would have cared.  Pop could have been a little tougher.  Even if you chose a Coca Cola product, you have to decide on original Coke, Coke Zero, Diet Coke, or Coke with a flavor in it.  Do you like vanilla, cherry or lemon?  That could be an “I don’t care,” moment.

In the Dallas Love airport, I went to buy a smoothie while we waited for our flight to Kansas City.  There were two young ladies working the counter and no customers in sight except for me.  The menu was full of all kinds of shakes and smoothies.  I asked, “What do you make the best?”  The worker on my left said, “Everything,” while the worker on the right said, “I make a great chocolate shake.”  I went with a chocolate shake and she was right.  It wasn’t as healthy as a strawberry smoothie, my first choice, but always go with a decisive worker.  She got a nice tip too.

I once was a step-father to three young ladies, ages 6, 9 and 12.  It was almost comical when the family decided to go to nearby Lincoln for a meal and a movie.  I would ask, “Where do you want to eat.”  Everyone would respond, “I don’t care.”  I say, “Great, we’ll eat at a Mexican restaurant.  They would all shout at me and go “Yuk!”  There answer should have been I want to eat anywhere but where the mean, old step dad wants to eat.

I would repeat the process on a movie.  I would give choices of an animation, chic-flick, shoot-em up, or tear jerker.  Again, every single family member would respond with, “I don’t care.”  I would go, “Great, we’ll go to a Clint Eastwood shoot-em up.”  You could guess their response.  No one wanted to see a Dirty Harry classic.  Back then it was a new release.

Making up your mind should be easy.  Just go with the first thing that pops into your head.  You want to kill a marriage, be an, “I don’t care,” weakling.  I mean that for males and females.  Want to drive your kids nuts?  Let them make all the decisions of unimportance and you’ll never get anywhere.  Decision making is a learned skill.

A real area of basketball where weak decision making shows up is in making a schedule.  Some coaches are horrible at deciding when and if to play a certain opponent.  I had a friend who had moved to a coaching job in Minnesota.  He wanted to come to our Winstead-Reeves Classic that is held the weekend before Thanksgiving.  I told him he would play one NAIA team and one NCAA II team.   That NCAA II team would be Northwest Missouri State University.

The coach kept saying he would call me in a week.  I would wait two weeks and he would then say he was trying to rearrange his schedule.  Finally, about Christmas time, the Minnesota coach agreed to come to Maryville to play in the pre-Thanksgiving Classic.  In truth, he couldn’t decide if he had a chance at beating us.  We had been a little under the .500 mark the year before.  He didn’t know if we would improve.  I finally forced him into a decision.  He decided to play in the Winstead-Reeves Classic.

The trouble with decisions, they can be changed.  Just before classes began of the next school year, I sent out the schedules to all the teams.  The Minnesota coach called and denied he was in the event.  He claimed I had lied to him.  The decision-challenged coach claimed I had promised him two NAIA games.  Since he hadn’t signed a contract, his verbal commitment was no good.  See you later, Northwest.  What really happened is he didn’t like his decision since we had made the NCAA tournament the previous year.  He didn’t like his chances of winning in Maryville.

This next paragraph will really irritate a few coaches.  Men’s coaches are terrible at making decisions about their schedule.  I have mentioned that to many men’s coaches and they all agree with me.  They always look at the game in about five different ways.  First and most important do they have over a 75% chance of victory.  Is it a home game and if it isn’t, do we get an obnoxious amount of guarantee money?  If victory is a sure thing, how will the game affect our standing in the region?  What is the past history of the opponent?  How many seniors are they returning?  Do I have enough rest between games?  Do the opponents have a terrible schedule before they play us?    I think that more than five things to consider.  Coaches, make it easy on your assistant in charge of putting the perfect schedule together.  When asked if you want to play a certain team, you should just respond, “I don’t care.”

If you want to find a great partner for life, I have the perfect solution for both men and women.  All the written tests to see if a couple is compatible are irrelevant.  To find a great partner who can always make up his or her mind is to find a point guard or quarterback for a significant other.

I can’t speak for quarterbacks, although most signal callers I know can make a quick decision, especially with a 250 pound, foaming at the mouth, linebacker barreling at them.  There is one exception to that rule.  Josh Lamberson, a great Northwest quarterback that now coaches at Central Missouri, seemed to wait a long time to make up his mind on the football field.  He knew he could outsmart the linebackers and make things happen with his feet.  Why make up your mind in a hurry when you can outrun your critics.

Point guards are the best decision makers.  I once read that in an ordinary 40 minute game, a team’s point guard has to make over 200 decisions.  They have to handle the ball, decide if a pass is possible, figure out if they can beat an opponent off the dribble, should they pull up and shoot, kick it to a great 3-point shooter, or finish with a flashy lay-up.  It’s not easy being a point guard.

However, it is easy to live with a point guard.  Anyway, I can only imagine it would be a real advantage.  When I met Michele, she sadly told me that she knew nothing about basketball.  I guess I missed the boat if I wanted a point guard for a spouse.  Don’t worry though; Michele has definitely made up her mind about one thing.  She now is very definite when she sadly proclaims now that I know nothing at all about basketball.  I should end this blog now, but “I don’t care.”

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Gene Steinmeyer

About Gene Steinmeyer

Gene Steinmeyer coached the Northwest Missouri State women’s basketball team for 13 seasons before retiring after 26 years as a collegiate head coach after the 2011-12 season. He retired as the second winningest women’s basketball coach at Northwest as his 2010-11 team won both the MIAA Regular Season and Tournament Championship advancing to the NCAA National Semifinals one game shy of the national championship game.