It’s graduation season, and America’s demented uncle, Jim Harbaugh, has been called upon to dispatch wisdom to the youth.
On Sunday, Michigan’s head football coach delivered the commencement address at Saline (Mich.) High, where the children of both his offensive coordinator, Tim Drevno, and his video coordinator, Phil Bromley, were among the graduates. This followed a speech last June at Coronado High in San Diego, where he spoke to his son James’s graduating class. Later this week, Harbaugh is scheduled to give another magnanimous commencement address at Paramus (N.J.) Catholic High, an elite prep school that just so happens to be home to Wolverines signee and the top-ranked prospect in the nation, defensive lineman Rashan Gary, as well as multiple recruiting targets for 2017. (Paramus Catholic also produced Jabrill Peppers, a star rising junior linebacker at Michigan.)
We now have an ample selection of Harbaughian advice. So, what pearls of wisdom does he have for our nation’s best and brightest? Below is a selection of Harbaugh’s life lessons — followed by times he adopted those messages as his own.
Go above and beyond, and don’t show off about it.
“Do one more thing. Do your job well and find one more thing to do. Don’t advertise it. Just do it. Everybody you compete with from here on out is going to be doing what they’re asked. They’re going to be doing what’s expected of them. If they don’t, they’ll get weeded out as the competition goes along.”
Hello, youngs! It is I, Jim Harbaugh, relatable figure and devoted aficionado of all the things you love! While other coaches may drone on about depth charts, blocking schemes, and “the Process,” I understand what it’s like to be a high school senior in 2016. I love Migos. I love jerseys. I especially, really, truly, sincerely love Nicki Minaj.
“Compete. Wake up each day and attack the day with an enthusiasm unknown to mankind. Or, try not waking up with an enthusiasm unknown to mankind and not hustling, and take that skill set out into the world and see where that gets you.”
How many coaches climbed trees to entice recruits this year? How many offered to have sleepovers? How many made mock prom signs, went to world religion class, and downed gallons of 2 percent milk to win the hearts and cleats of the country’s youngsters?
“Be honest. You will have choices to make. There will be situations where a dishonest edge can be gained. And whatever gain is made will be undermined some time down the road. As our dad told us, flat out, never lie, never cheat, never steal. It won’t be worth it.”
Never back away from the things you love, especially when one of those things is Judge Judy.
Harbaugh is fond of one of the good judge’s quotes about honesty: “If you tell the truth, you don’t need a good memory.”
Ignore the haters.
“Another thing to remember is everyone will make fun of you. Everyone has something that someone will make fun of. I can tell you almost every day of my life that I can remember, including today — it happened today — someone is making fun of me for something. Your teeth were crooked or the clothes you wear, how you look, what you weigh, how you talk, what kind of car your parents have. The list is so long to mention, it’s too long to mention. … I had a coach, Mike Ditka, legendary coach who [coached] the Chicago Bears, he once told me, Jim, you will have your critics. ‘Screw ’em.’ ”
Haters gonna hate. Install a “Khaki Cam” so they can appreciate your pleated, $8 beauts more thoroughly. Go shirtless — and put on, like, maybe a lot of sunscreen.
“Winston Churchill said: ‘You have enemies? Good. At least you stood for something sometime in your life.’ ”
Nick Saban thinks satellite camps are damaging the sport? Sad!
Always carry an extra Spider-Man mask.
Take it away, Jim:
“When I was a kid, I’d head out on Halloween, have my little cowboy hat and my little belt buckle with the guns, and I would be running from house to house. Most of the kids would still be asking their mom if they could go out to trick and treat, and some would be walking up the driveway, but I was running. I’d get my little pumpkin filled up before everybody else was halfway down the street. And the other thing I did, too, was I figured out I could take off that cowboy hat, unstrap that gun belt, put on a Spider-Man mask, and I could go hit the same houses again.”
Teens of America, you could do a whole lot worse.