One of the most fascinating results of the social media explosion we are living in is the humblebrag. Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus and the like provide the perfect place for coaches and athletes to humbly proclaim their greatness. Of course, one cannot humbly proclaim his or her greatness. The phrase is an oxymoron, but despite the obvious contradiction, we have become masters of this fascinating phenomenon.
In October of 2013 one of my favorite bloggers, Tim Challies, wrote a tongue-in-cheek post titled The Art and Science of the Humblebrag.It was hilarious and very convicting making me laugh and regret many of my own humblebrags all at the same time. With his permission I have rewritten the post for coaches and athletes. I pray this satire lovingly urges us all towards holiness while also reminding us to laugh at how ridiculous we all are.
Here are my tips to athletes and coaches for mastering the art and science of the humblebrag.
Tell others what you receive
Gear has become a status symbol that lets everyone know your program is legit. Here’s how you can humbly let others know about the abundance with which your gear flows.
Athletes: When I signed my DI letter of intent I had no idea how much free gear I would get. I wish someone had told me how hard it would be to decide what to keep and what to give away.
Coaches: I didn’t get into coaching for the benefits, but getting free gear sure helps balance the budget.
Brag about your opportunities
From All-Star games to speaking engagements there are many opportunities for all the great athletes and coaches to establish themselves as among the very best.
Athletes: Lots of games coming up. Between my school team, my club team, and all these All-Star games I’m going to need new shoes.
Coaches: Playoffs are a rough time of year. Tons of game prep to do and hours of work preparing for all the clinics I speak at each year.
Make sure they know who you know
One of the best ways to let others know you’re headed for greatness is to make sure they know who you associate with and/or who you are learning from.
Athletes: Who Lebron? He’s pretty cool. We played on the same summer team in high school. He wasn’t my favorite teammate or anything, but he was cool.
Coaches: (caption to a pic of me and Urban Meyer) Made a new friend at the clinic today. Looking forward to talking ball in the future.
Side note: did I drop a subtle one of these when I said I had received Challies’ permission in the intro? I mean he does know my email address now. In 2014 that’s like being friends, right? Was my heart trying to humblebrag when I shared that? I’ll have to pray about it.
Remind them that you’re popular
In the age of social media the best competitors are celebrities.
Athletes: Ever since the newspaper did that over the top article on me winning four gold medals at the state track meet I can’t go anywhere in town without people recognizing me
Coaches: I didn’t think the stuff I spoke about at the clinic was too impressive, but my inbox has been full of requests for more information since then.
Tell them about your charity
Nobody likes a superstar who doesn’t give back to the community that made him. Set the record straight on this topic.
Athlete: Between school, practice, and games I barely have any free time, but I always make time for being a volunteer coach for the elementary team.
Coaches: I couldn’t take one more day of watching our kids use that beat up old blocking sled. I told the AD to use my coaching stipend for the year to buy a new one.
Hide it in a question
Questions involve others in your success and give your friends and followers a chance to participate in the challenges that come with winning.
Athletes: Does anyone know how to follow all my new followers all at once? I want the fans to feel the love.
Coaches: Would any of you be willing to build an extension to our trophy case? #TooManyTrophies
Declare your humility
If you’re truly humble there’s no need to side step that reality, right? Just say it!
Athlete: Humbled to have been selected one of the top 50 players of the century.
Coaches: Humbled to have been named the coach of the year by my peers.
Blame it on Jesus
God is sovereign so just give Him the credit He deserves.
Athlete: I just messed around and got a triple double. God is good!
Coaches: After winning 3 straight championships we know one thing for sure: Jesus wants to give us a big stage to talk about Him.
Feign embarrassment or awkwardness
Celebrity is supposed to be exhausting and difficult for the humble. Make sure that’s clear to your friends and followers.
Athletes: I was so embarrassed when coach kept talking about how good of a player I was at our annual banquet. Enough already. LOL
Coaches: I’m learning to embrace the awkwardness of doing interviews with reporters in the aftermath of our championship.
Never be afraid to share a success along with the difficulties that success brings to your life.
Athlete: I wish someone had told me how many hours I would spend in a plane as DI athlete. #IHateStudyingOnPlanes
Coaches: Ugh. Another whirlwind recruiting trip concluded (8 days, 7 different hotels), but we did sign the #1 recruit in the state.
I think that covers it. You’re now ready to humblebrag like the humble, magnificent, champion you are!