Lessons to be Learned From the Steve Sarkisian Mess


Life is unpredictable; one day it might raise you up to the clouds and the next it might knock you flat on your ass.

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This inevitable truth seems all too real right now for Steve Sarkisian and the USC Trojans. As the University of Southern California enters the ‘Post-Sark’ era, it is important to take a step back to absorb the odds-and-ends of this situation.

For all of us, there lie hidden reminders in the turmoil that is Sark’s implosive exit from football. It is imperative that we dig beyond the surface to expose the redeemable wisdom from this chaos, but more importantly, we must learn from it.

A Life Without Predicament Only Exists On The Big Screen

What do I mean by this? It’s fiction; it’s fake. It’s a best-selling narrative, it’s a unicorn, it’s Santa Clause (Sorry kids.) The simple truth is that we all encounter complication on a minute-to-minute basis. Whether you are the President, the head coach of USC football, or homeless, you won’t live a day unchallenged. We are united across-the-board by this presumption.

Not only does hardship consistently tie us to one another, but it does so with great intention. Sarkisian’s deportment over the last few months validates this dark and surreptitious concept: Mishaps need to exist. It’s true, we need them. More often than not, we learn, we adapt, and we grow from the things that went wrong. We are a product of our ability to learn from our experiences, and it is these challenges that make life so fruitful.

Know Yourself 

Does Steve Sarkisian have a drug/alcohol problem? From my shallow and very limited knowledge, I would say so. Does he think so? Who knows?

Where am I going with this? Well, only Steve knows Steve as well as Steve knows Steve. Seriously. While that sounds like a Dr. Seuss line, it actually alludes to an important piece of insight.

It is impossible to find a solution if you can’t even identify the problem. It’s a shame that Sark didn’t have the foresight to correct his actions, but either a) he didn’t think there was a problem or b) he didn’t want to admit there was one. Nonetheless, it takes either seriously introspective thought or a complete crash and burn to turn to ‘self-help.’ Unfortunately for Sarkisian, it was the latter.

I commend Steve for taking the high road and voluntarily entering rehabilitation. Unfortunately, it wasn’t until after the ash settled that he reached for the hose; the damage has been done. His job and reputation are tarnished. This leads me to my last lesson learned.

Life Is Greater Than XYZ

Replace the variable with your favorite thing in the world. For Steve Sarkisian, it might be football. Whatever you decide, it does not trump your beating heart.

We often get so caught up in our day-to-day that we lose sight of sanity. A grown man evading clinical treatment, pushing (months? years? decades?) through depression, alcoholism, drug abuse, etc. to coach football? It doesn’t add up.

I can gladly say that this is a relatively happy ending for all involved. Nobody was hurt and nobody died in a situation with potentially fatal consequences. In the grand scheme of things, doesn’t that seem like a win?

Final Thought

I truly believe that Steve Sarkisian is a good man and a leader, undeniably troubled by his vices as we all are. It would be a disservice to let his crisis pass us by without taking it to heart and learning from his missteps. At the end of the day, we could all use a good reality check.

“If we all threw our problems into a pile and saw everyone else’s, we’d grab ours back.”

-Regina Brett

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