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Alabama coaches Saban, Oats mark 50 days until The World Games 2022

Alabama football coach Nick Saban speaks at an event to commemorate the 50-day mark in the countdown to the start of The World Games 2022. (Solomon Crenshaw Jr. / Alabama NewsCenter)

By Solomon Crenshaw Jr.

Alabama Newscenter

Leave it to Nick Saban to define the terms of the discussion.

The University of Alabama football coach appeared with Tide men’s basketball coach Nate Oats for a “fireside” conversation to commemorate the 50-day countdown until the start of The World Games 2022. Host Jim Dunaway asked the pair about punishment and Saban explained that discipline isn’t synonymous with punishment.

“I want to clear the air here about discipline, because discipline is not really punishment, as some people think,” the football coach said, acknowledging that by “people” he meant media. “There’s lots of definitions of discipline.”

Those definitions include doing what you’re supposed to do, when you’re supposed to do it, the way it’s supposed to be done. It includes doing the right thing the right way at the right time, all the time, he explained.

“Those are definitions of discipline,” Saban continued. “But what is self-discipline? We make hundreds of decisions every day that come down to two questions. Here’s something I know I’m supposed to do that I really don’t want to do. Can you make yourself do it? Over here, there’s something you know you’re not supposed to do but you want to do it. Can you keep yourself from doing it? If you can make these choices and decisions the right way, you’ll be able to make progress, develop the right habits so that you can accomplish the goals that you have. It’s feeling versus choice. Are you going to do what you feel like doing, or are you going to choose to do the things you need to do to accomplish the goals that you have?”

“Decisions begin when the alarm clock goes off in the morning. You don’t feel like getting up today and you’ve got an 8 o’clock class.

“How many times do you hear your kids say, ‘I don’t feel like it?’” Saban said. “You should say, ‘You need to choose to.’ You need to choose to go to class. You need to choose to study.

“These things create the right habits and those habits create the right choices, and the choices you make, make you who you are,” he said. “Ultimately you have a chance to be successful if you can make those choices and decisions the right way. Discipline is not punishment is my point. As soon as one of our players messes up, the first thing you’re going to ask me is, ‘What are you going to do to him?’”

Alabama basketball coach Nate Oats speaks at an event to commemorate the 50-day mark in the countdown to the start of The World Games 2022. (Solomon Crenshaw Jr. / Alabama NewsCenter)

Spotlight On Birmingham

Around the globe, athletes are making the right choices to prepare themselves to be part of the athletic competitions that will highlight the 10-day spectacle that is The World Games 2022. Meanwhile, local organizers continue to push toward the historic event that will place a spotlight on metro Birmingham.

Former Alabama and NFL quarterback Joe Namath was scheduled to join the conversation, which took place Wednesday at The Fennec in Birmingham’s Parkside District, via video conferencing, but did not because of technical difficulties.

Dunaway, host of The Next Round sports podcast, tossed light-hearted subjects at the event’s featured guests. Like getting Saban to talk about his first hole-in-one that came under the cloak of secrecy as the Tide was on a bye week before squaring off with LSU.

“We were on a 230-yard par 3 and I hit a 3 wood and it went in the hole,” he said. “There were eight of us playing and I said, ‘Look, guys, this is a secret. No pictures. No internet. No nothing, because if we lose to LSU next week and people find I was playing golf, they’ll run me out of Alabama.’ Nobody ever knew.”

Dunaway said he knew of the coach’s feat but kept it under wraps.

The conversation became a bit more serious as the subject turned to Name, Image and Likeness, the rules change that allows college players to profit from their celebrity.

“Name, Image and Likeness – it’s a great concept for players,” Saban said. “Players have always been allowed to work. This is just a different opportunity for them to make money by working and using their own name, image and likeness, whether it’s signing autographs, whether it’s doing commercials or ads for someone’s company or whatever. There’s nothing wrong with that.

“I told our players when this whole thing started to get agents, get representation so you create opportunities for yourself,” he continued. “Our players last year created $3 million of the opportunity for themselves by doing it the right way. I have no problem with that.”

Saban cited no problems with the 25 members of his football team who earned NIL money, saying they earned it. The issue and problem with Name, Image and Likeness, he said, is coaches trying to create an advantage for themselves.

Wednesday night’s festivities included recognition of Edgar Welden and Ron Froehlich, who were instrumental in bringing TWG 2022 to Birmingham. An honorary life president of the International World Games Association, Froehlich counsels The World Games 2022 as a special adviser to the Birmingham Organizing Committee. He served as president of the International World Games Association from 1992 to 2014 and was awarded the Olympic Order, the highest award of the Olympic Movement, in 2010.

During four decades, Welden has made significant contributions to education, athletics and economic development through business and philanthropic ventures. A founder and business partner in several real estate companies, he has a lifelong passion for sports and founded the Birmingham Athletic Partnership (BAP), which supports youth athletic programs in Birmingham. BAP helped bring high school state championship athletic events to the Magic City.

The story appeared originally on www.alabamanewscenter.com