Welcome to the Friday edition of The Cooler, where it’s always about me. Let’s get to it:
*Generation X isn’t Generation Xs and Os, at least when it comes to high-profile Minnesota head coaches.
That wasn’t the big-picture takeaway, of course, from colleague Rachel Blount’s interesting look at the five 30-something coaches of high-profile Minnesota sports teams currently in charge. But as a bona fide member of Generation X, I couldn’t help but notice an interesting gap.
In the chart accompanying the story, 11 coaches were listed. Four of them were 57 or older — certified Baby Boomers Bruce Boudreau, Wild (64), Mike Zimmer, Vikings (62), Adrian Heath, United (58) and Bob Motzko, U men’s hockey (57).
And then there were the five coaches 38 or younger, all of whom classify as Millennials if we accept that the birth year for that generation starts in 1980: P.J. Fleck, Gophers football (38); Rocco Baldelli, Twins (37); Lindsay Whalen, Gophers women’s basketball (36); Richard Pitino, Gophers men’s basketball (36); and Ryan Saunders, Wolves (32).
Three of those Millennial coaches have taken over within the last year, including the most recent (Saunders) as an interim.
That leaves only two of the 11 in Generation X: Brad Frost, 45, with Gophers women’s hockey and Cheryl Reeve, 52, with the Lynx.
Research suggests that Generation X is ascending to the majority of business leadership roles and is playing a key role shaping society — contrary, perhaps, to the narratives the surrounding generations would like to advance — but that’s not playing out in Minnesota sports.
Maybe it’s just a small sample size and a blip on the radar?
Maybe stakeholders are buying into the stereotype — sometimes humorously portrayed — that Xers are the middle children between two more celebrated generations?
Maybe at least on the young side, millennial head coaches appeal to (and are being exploited by) team owners for their willingness to work crazy hours in the wake of coming of age in a time of economic insecurity, fierce job competition and massive expectations? (I’m not sure if Malcolm Harris, author of the excellent “Kids These Days: Human Capital and the Making of Millennials” would agree with this hypothesis, but reading his book at least led me to consider the possibility).
More than anything, I just find it interesting. And I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that in spite of the low representation, the generational Minnesota coaching championship standings among the 11 coaches reads:
Generation X: 8 (four each for Frost and Reeve), Millennials + Boomers: 0.
*Sometimes sports are very good. Mitch Marner of the Maple Leafs made sure of that on Valentine’s Day.
*The Anthony Davis drama in New Orleans took a turn Thursday when the star was hurt — but probably not injured — in a victory over the Thunder. An MRI showed a shoulder contusion (a fancy word for a bruise) — a procedure Davis obtained when he left the building with his agent during the game and did not come back. Davis, of course, wants a trade. But he’s stuck on the Pelicans through the rest of the season. Head coach Alvin Gentry is not really pleased with any of it. Per ESPN:
“I’m happy for all of them,” Gentry said after the Pelicans handed the Thunder only their second loss during Russell Westbrook‘s record streak of 11 consecutive triple-doubles. “Because to tell you the truth, this whole thing has been a dumpster fire. … We want guys to be professional and we want them to do this, but it’s hard for guys to go through what they’ve been through. And to be able to come out and beat a team of that quality, I’m happy for all the guys. I just thought they did a great job.”
Asked if it bothered him that Davis left the building, Gentry repeated that he was “happy for the guys that played the game and we won.”