Da coach and the manager

Opinion: Columns

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By John Hubbuch

Last week was filled with important news. I could barely keep up with it all. I was relieved to learn that Manti T'eo's girlfriend had not died. The girl who had previously been involved in a serious car accident had suffered enough. Then Lance Armstrong admitted to taking illegal substances to win the Tour de France. I was shocked that Lance took drugs, but in hindsight I guess it was kind of unlikely that a drug-free Lance could beat all the riders who were taking drugs.

Closer to home, there were two important hirings. The Bears hired Marc Trestman to be their new head coach, and Oak Park hired Cara Pavlicek to be our village manager. Now I did not review the resumes of the candidates for these two jobs or speak to their references or participate in the interview process. So I have no idea whether these hirings are good or bad. It is amusing to observe how some have strong opinions about something they know nothing about, but that has happened before.

However, I couldn't help but notice some striking similarities between the two hirees. First, these are very important jobs. Mr. Trestman is charged with entertaining me weekly during the fall and early winter. I don't really expect the Bears to win a Super Bowl. I just want the games to be meaningful in late December. As for Ms. Pavlicek, she needs to make sure the snow and leaves are picked up and that crime is confined to remote parts of the village after midnight — and be sure there are only very modest property tax increases.

Both of their predecessors did pretty good jobs. Lovie Smith had a winning record for his nine years. In fact only George Halas and Mike Ditka won more games. Ms. Pavlicek follows Tom Barwin, who was the village manager for five years. During that five years, the budget was flat, opinion surveys evidenced that the citizens really liked living here, and the village won some awards. Not bad. One thing is certain: Mr. Barwin is a lot warmer today in his new job as the boss of Sarasota, Fla.

Both were praised as being "thoughtful and intelligent." Good. I am definitely opposed to a thoughtless, stupid person getting hired or elected to a job that impacts my life. That too has happened before.

Neither has ideal experience and will have to learn on the job. Ms. Pavlicek was previously the village's interim parking and services mobility manager — whatever that is. Her new job is much bigger, but she has been the interim for almost a year. Now the practicing is over. The regular season begins. Mr. Trestman knows the difference. Let's hope Ms. Pavlicek does.

Which isn't to say Mr. Trestman doesn't have his work cut out. You see, for the last seven years, he has coached in Canada where the football rules are different. You only get three downs and the field is longer and wider. I'm so glad I don't live in Canada. But maybe the Bears will pass more. I just hope our new coach doesn't send out the punting unit on third down. The other team will laugh at us.

Finally, there is another similarity. They'll both need very thick skin.

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