A take on Team Leach – by Charlie Hodges

It is November and it is a time to contemplate on what we’re thankful for. The Pirates of the Palouse will be a year old at the end of this month and what a ride it has been. It has been truly a pleasure to meet such an outstanding and magnificently diverse group of people: those who post regularly on the Facebook Page, those who subscribe to the Pirates of the Palouse Daily, those who follow the Twitter Feed, the Blog, those who message me privately and those who simply like to read postings. We have a serious group of knowledgeable sports fans that could collectively crush any other sports centric site. I mean that, collectively we are amazing. Y’all know your stuff! And it has been fun to see friendships grow through posts between people that didn’t know each other  a year earlier. We have something here and I am thankful to be a part of it. Very thankful.

I cannot fight the feeling that a few years from now these current difficult times will be simply a memory that we’ll look back on with nostalgia. There have been a few Saturday’s too many where my heart was broken and my voice was hoarse from yelling at the TV, the radio, or the play by play written on the internet with those annoying X’s and O’s with arrows.

However, no great story begins without an inciting incident, something to overcome, something to conquer. This current football season is that part of our story. The next year is the second act and it will be exciting. I believe! This is a real life example of Joseph Campbell’s Heroes Journey. Keep the Faith. We are going to get there!

And finally I am thankful to be a Coug…Big Time.

Today’s post by Charlie Hodges is a take on Team Leach.

Swing’em!

-Erik

 

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A take on Team Leach – by Charlie Hodges

Despite what people say, think or believe, I am not nor ever have been the leader of the Facebook group Team Leach. No one was ever paid to be in the FB group Team Leach and no one from the FB group Team Leach was ever paid to be a blogger or post material on any website, group page or whatever.

The FB group Team Leach continues to be a topic of conversation almost three years after it was formed as a protest to the suspension, and then ultimate firing, of Mike Leach.

For disclosure, let me say that I’m no longer a member of Team Leach. I was hired to organize a rally and then did PR work for one month. All other work I did for the group was volunteer.

After all of these years though, I thought I’d give my two cents a question. “What is Team Leach?”

Answer: “Team Leach” is more than Team Leach.

When the Facebook Group Team Leach started, the membership rose to over 60,000 people. That’s SIXTY THOUSAND. The posts moved on the group page so quickly that if you left for 15 minutes, it would take about 30 minutes of reading to catch up with what you missed. It was a totally organic movement of people who support Mike Leach. Plain and simple.

Numbers that strong, and the group’s ability to quickly raise $10,000 for the rally, got the attention of the school’s administration. The money was raised before I came onboard thanks to the hard work of all the administrators.

Emails from Team Leach members flooded the University and politicians in Austin. The barrage was so strong, there was an order from the governor’s office to the Tech University System administration to: “Make Team Leach go away.”

For a number of years, Tech tried to eliminate the Facebook group. Their efforts have been unsuccessful.

Opponents to the Facebook group point with glee that membership has fallen well below the tens of thousands of previous levels. On paper, that’s true. But it wasn’t because a majority of people simply left. It was because Facebook changed it’s page structure and most of people who were listed as members just went off the page. That led detractors and some at Tech to believe that because the numbers are gone, the overall Team Leach concept is no longer effective.

They are wrong. Why? Because Team Leach is much more than a Facebook group.

“Team Leach” is the thousands upon thousands of Tech grads and Texas Tech fans who are still upset the University fired Leach and are still vocal in supporting the coach and opposing the administration through other venues other than the Facebook group. A good many of those who support the coach and oppose the administration show up to Tech football games and cheer for the Red Raiders; able to separate the current football team from what happened three years ago. And just about all of them demand massive leadership changes at the Texas Tech University System.

“Team Leach” is the thousands who read Swing Your Sword and Double T Double Cross and feel that Tech did Mike Leach wrong.

“Team Leach” is the thousands of Wazzu fans who are glad Mike Leach is coaching the Cougars, but are sick and tired of hearing about Tech this and Tech that.

“Team Leach” includes those who support coach but don’t like the Team Leach Facebook group. That’s understandable because you can’t have a highly-charged, emotional movement go on for so long without people getting upset.

Most importantly, “Team Leach” is the scholarship at Texas Tech University for junior or senior level students who want to become coaches. Coach is still very supportive of the scholarship. On a side note, and for the record, friends of coach with Tech ties recently made a strong donation to the Washington State Athletic Fund.

And last but definitely not least, the Pirates of the Palouse are most definitely “Team Leach”.

If you support the WSU program and want to see it succeed, you are “Team Leach”. Even if you’re critical of the coach, you’re “Team Leach”. After all, both groups of people want the same thing, Washington State to be a winning successful program.

“Team Leach” has become the lessons we learn from simple acts kindness: Showing care and compassion for a Tech grad seriously hurt in a wreck, comforting friends who are sick, spending hours on the phone with a friend whose spouse died or providing a shoulder for the family that lost a child.

“Team Leach” is not about a Facebook group. It’s about Mike Leach, the coach and the teacher. People are attracted to and have come to love the quirky pirate whose loyalty, humor and outlook on life falls, most of the time, outside of the box.

People simple like Leach. They like him a lot and want him to win.

We are all that emotional body called “Team Leach”. That isn’t going away. It isn’t going to die. It’s going to continue to support Mike Leach.

So to all who read this who support Mike Leach and Washington State Football: You are “Team Leach”.

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