|Always on the Attack|
The coach and I discuss in order: the past, the present and the
future. Creason is a man of meticulous order, he thrives on it. He does not
like his world cluttered with unnecessariness. He has too much to do in his
already 80 hour work week for such frivolity. If it makes us better, we do
it, he explains. If not, we don’t.
| Coach George Creason and |
Asst Codi Winslow
Creason tells me he wants his players to know how to play as a team without him dictating every move. “Our players over the years,” Creason says, “have been mostly program players. We have had a few players who could get by just because they had so much talent; but not many. We set clear expectations and then they have to figure out how to meet our expectations, not the other way around. What they learn by fitting into the program is how to keep moving forward, no matter what. If we take a step back, we figure out why and then start moving forward again. That is a life lesson; you fit into the group plan but you as an individual are responsible for figuring out what you need to do to help the team.”
I offer Creason my sympathetic acknowledgement of what must have been a nightmarish way to enter the world of coaching. Good thing, I rationalize, that the Smithton community had to have low expectations of what the new coach could do. He confirms that the team had a lot to learn so they hired a coach that could learn right along with them. “But, you know, we survived and we did okay,” Creason tells me.
Creason claims that not knowing much about a sport as a young
coach is not always a negative. There is a syndrome in sports called 'paralysis
by analysis.' Many young coaches fall victim to it, often out of insecurity,
but Creason avoided that pitfall; he didn’t try to overcoach his early teams,
conceding he had not the knowledge to overcoach. However, he was not trapped by
a false sense of security, either. “I learned as we went, I admit. But, I don’t
care how long you have coached, how successful you have been, you must always
strive to improve, to learn more and to get better.” When the innerdrive that now
propels him dissipates, “I will be done,” he says.
Located at the intersection of Missouri highways 7 and 58, Pleasant Hill is 20 miles from the Jackson County eastern suburbs and 40 miles from downtown Kansas City.
Living in a small town can be like living in a large family of somewhat contentious relations. Growing up in a large city is more like being an only child with lots of secrets. Small towns can suffocate or nurture; in essence the best of fun times or the worst of awful times - and the flip can be as sudden as a Missouri weather change.
|Student Body support|
Codi Winslow is in her first year as the assistant coach to Coach
Creason. She played for him for four varsity seasons, the first freshman
Creason had ever used in the varsity rotation. After graduating from PHHS in 2014
and playing volleyball at nearby William Jewell College, Winslow graduated last
spring with a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology. She is currently back home,
substitute teaching as much as possible and preparing for grad school. She and
Creason both agree she has been impactful in her first year on the
|Set for the Kill|
Both coaches tell me it is good to have a female on staff to keep that comfort level, that safe buffer. “She has been very good," Creason says. "We lost a very good assistant female that took some time off for her family she was starting. Hiring Codi has kept that balance going. She does a good job of preparing the younger players for what they can expect when they get to the varsity level. That is something we talked about and I wanted her to take on.”
High School volleyball in the state of Missouri has in recent years been dominated by private schools. In Pleasant Hill's six final four appearances under Creason, they have been eliminated by a private school all six times.