East Lyme's Jack Biggs: The guy who can coach anybody
East Lyme — It was on "Cheers" once that the great Norm Peterson said, "Women. You can't live with 'em ... pass the beer nuts."
An anonymous funny person once said, "A husband is someone who after taking out the trash gives the impression that he just cleaned the whole house."
Ah, yes. Men are from Mars. Women are from Venus. Is there anybody on Earth who really understands any of it?
This is what's called a rhetorical question.
There is such a person. He even walks among us. And his name is Jack Biggs.
Biggs, an effortlessly good dude, has been coaching sports at East Lyme High since 1998. He can coach anybody, evidenced by his exponential levels of success with girls (16 ECC volleyball titles and two state championships) and boys (a combined 10 ECC regular season/tournament baseball championships). He even won championships in the same year (2010) coaching girls and boys.
To repeat a line written here 11 years ago: To think they pay Dr. Phil all that money when there's a guy right here who truly has the sexes figured out. How long until his own "Dear Jack" column appears in Cosmo and GQ?
Biggs did one better this summer, adding pre-teens to his resume. He led his son Greyson's 8-10 Little League team to a sectional title and a deep run into the state tournament. High school girls, high school boys, pre-teen boys ... what's next? Octogenerians and shuffleboard?
"We basically treat the 10-year-olds the same way we treat the high school kids," Biggs was saying earlier this week, preparing his volleyball Vikings for the upcoming season. "We modify the drills but we hold them to the same standards. They're still doing the same thing the high school kids do. They're like sponges who want to take in every word and please you any way they can."
This can't be easy. Think about the vagaries of high school girls, high school boys, coaching your own kids and coaching other 10-year old kids.
High school girls, for instance, could extract drama from a knitting class. High school boys are about as deep as a roadside puddle. And 10-year-old boys (I say this with an 11-year-old) get together with their friends and speak video game language that might as well be Swahili to the rest of us.
And all Jack Biggs does is win with them.
"I honestly try to treat all of them the same," Biggs said. "There are some differences, sure. Girls play with emotion. When they feel good, they play well. So we might do things like having music in practice and keeping things loose. But they are just as tough physically as the boys and work just as hard.
"Boys need structure and discipline. Otherwise, if you give then an inch they're going to take three yards. They will think their way is the only way."
Then comes coaching your own kids. It's helped Biggs immensely that he was a coach before he was a dad. As Yogi once said, "you can observe a lot just by watching."
"When it comes to coaching your own kids, I don't think there's a right formula," Biggs said. "Each one of my sons has a different personality. Sometimes, if they have a bad day playing, it's better to wait for the next day to talk to them. But they know I will always address effort and attitude immediately."
More Biggs: "Being a coach before I was a dad taught me patience. One hundred percent. You have to be able to adapt to who you are coaching. Same thing as a parent. You have other responsibilities in your life, too. So you adapt to each day. Try to win each day, whatever it takes. Think about all the parents going through COVID and everything that throws at you. It's a day-to-day thing."
East Lyme is fortunate to have Dr. Jack. Face it: This is a day and age when parents generally consider the high school coach to be dumber than people who push the elevator light when it's already lit. East Lyme has a guy who wins with everybody he coaches. It's a gift.
This is the opinion of Day sports columnist Mike DiMauro