There’s little doubt left that Alabama Crimson Tide head football coach Nick Saban is one of the most talented tactical gridiron minds of this, or any other generation. Given a full month to prepare for an opponent prior to another battle for the crystal trophy, he is absolutely lethal.
When given the opportunity to, Saban will always praise the “process” as the reason for his own professional success and the success of the Tide, who are arguably a budding dynasty that will be one to reckon with for some time to come.
Nick Saban’s personal demeanor — especially when dealing with the press — is cool, calculated, even dismissal. It’s hard to tell whether this is a carefully-crafted character that he plays for all of us as a front to separate his professional life from this personal life, or, if the man is really so driven and focused that any outward display of emotion is seen by him as weakness and, well, “off-task”.
While Nick Saban’s process absolutely yields results, does he take any pleasure in these results? In each post-game press-conference following the Tide’s last two National Championship wins, Saban seems disconnected from the praise he is receiving for a job well done and instead worried about things he must get back under control that have gone sideways — at least in his opinion — while that same National Championship run was being made.
In most walks of life, such obsessiveness is seen as a borderline personality disorder. Sure, it gets results, there’s no arguing that, but at almost every turn it also causes distress — not only for the person involved in the process but those who are involved in it with them by association.
While you and I don’t know how Nick Saban celebrates behind doors, it seems reasonable to assume that his focus on process, while admirable, takes away from his ability to live in the moment and enjoy life a little.
I’m not saying he should do backflips or run around laughing with his shirt off, but I am suggesting a smile that stays on his face for more than a few seconds won’t make us think he’s weak or prideful.
Enjoying the process doesn’t mean a successful person shouldn’t enjoy its results. The process isn’t going anywhere. Moments of success are fleeting.
Taking a minute to enjoy the latter would certainly help Nick Saban enjoy the former.
H/T to Adam Kramer who was my inspiration for this story.