What is the most stressful job in America? President? Pretty tough, but you’ve got a lot of advisors and sidekicks to help take the blame, er credit. Brain surgeon? Can’t say that I wouldn’t find it stressful to cut someone’s brain open, fix what’s broken and put it back together so everything still works. Air traffic controller? You’ve got all these planes in the air, lots of people talking to you at once, and you have to help the planes filled with people’s moms and dads and sisters and brothers fly and land safely without anyone crashing. How about the guy who carries around the briefcase with the missile launch codes? He’s always such a drag at parties with that briefcase handcuffed to his arm. “Care to dance?” “Sorry, I’ve got this thing strapped to me.” Nobody wants to take HIM home after the party. And just when he’s finally gotten used to carrying that darn case around, some pesky crisis arises and he has to bring it in so they can change the launch codes. Who’d want that job?
Well, turns out it’s none of the above. The most stressful job in America today is…drumroll… college football coach!. Yes, that’s it. We know it’s true, as evidenced by recent events at last week’s Michigan State University (MSU) versus Notre Dame game. Poor MSU coach Mark Dantonio was not feeling well. The game (and I emphasize the word GAME here) was dragging on, headed for OT. Coach D. just wanted to go home and lie down. He wasn’t sure what was wrong, just knew he was not feeling his usual chipper self. Maybe have a cup of tea, curl up with a blankie and then take a leisurely trip to ER. But noooo, after all, this is football. Thousands of fans, alumni, the board of reagents, the television network and most importantly TV sponsors are counting on an exciting finish and an MSU win. Coach D. could not just skip out and let the assistants handle this. After all, it was an important GAME. So, chest pain aside, Coach D. soldiered on through regulation and into overtime. I suspect that what some called a gutsy winning play, the Dan Conroy/Aaron Bates fake punt, was Coach’s desperate attempt to end the darn thing so he could finally get some morphine and an ambulance ride in peace.
Winning college coaches are typically paid $1 million and up, to coach 90 students to kick and pass a ball well enough to win a GAME. Meanwhile, university presidents who are responsable for the well-being of thousands of students engaged in academic pursuits that will shape the rest of their lives, receive median salaries of
$436, 111. A significant chunk of change, but far less than coaches in most cases.
Although the media reports that Dantonio will make a full recovery, the reality with heart attacks is this: time is muscle. For any delay in treatment, some heart muscle is lost for good. In Dantonio’s case, the amount of heart muscle lost was probably small. Yet, Dantonio is 54. He has a lot of years left for living, and presumably for making millions in coaching. For a college kid’s game, is it worth it?