Blogs > From The Bleacher Seats

A roundup of news on sporting events, people and places in Southeast Michigan by columnist Jim Evans.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Parent Trap III: Revisiting high school sports

I’m not much on confrontation.
Trouble at home, I revel in watching the return address disappearing in the rearview mirror.
Same with work. Any rumor of discord, and I just do the Three Monkeys routine.
See no evil. Hear no evil. Write no evil.
Only it does not always work.
I try not to get involved in the hiring and firing of high school coaches.
It can get awfully discouraging.
Honestly, most coaches do a very good job. The vast majority try to do what is best for the kids and the program.
Very occasionally, there is a bad apple in the coaching bushel. But that is about it.
Most parents are good people, too. They love and protect their kids.
But there are always a few whose parenting skills are lacking.
They mistake obsession for paying attention.
That obsession can extend to athletics.
At one of our local high schools, an outstanding soccer coach is being pushed out by parents.
The coach is a good guy, too. He has done a very good job with the program and making sure his players got their share of publicity.
He would call on the phone after games. He’d send emails with recaps, too.
It was always about the players. Was is past tense and so is he.
Another area soccer coach was being harassed by a parent who thought he should be the coach instead. He had experience in youth soccer. Forget the fact the coach’s resume was much more extensive. The dad thought he could do a better job.
I get so weary of this same tired song and dance, season after season, year after year. Parents marching into the principal’s office, the athletic director’s cubicle, or to a school board meeting bitching.
They don’t like the coach. The coach is not qualified. Basically, what they mean is, the coach is not playing his or her son or daughter enough. Or the coach is playing his or her daughter in the wrong spot.
The coach is ruining the player’s chance for a college scholarship.
Forget the fact that the kid couldn’t dribble a soccer ball unless it came equipped with a string from a yo yo.
Or that he’s a 5-10 offensive tackle who weighs all of 175 pounds and has the muscle mass of a gecko. Or she is a softball player who needs a change in time zones to get from the batter’s box to first base. Or he is a basketball player who is slow, short and can’t hit a jumper more than 10 feet away from the hoop. Or that she is a volleyball player with the vertical leap of a Clydesdale.
College scholarships are mostly a myth, but try convincing parents of that.
I’m not sure when a price tag was stuck on the flank of high school sports. I’m not sure when fun left town on a Greyhound bus and was replaced by the anxiety of earning a college scholarship.
College scholarships are mostly a hoax. Full rides, especially. In all of my 30-plus years of covering high school sports, there might have been a dozen full scholarships to NCAA Division I athletes. While the count increases when it comes to Division 2 and Division 3 athletes, it is still tough to play into college.
But try to convince parents of that. It is the coach’s fault they have to shell out tuition payments.
The coach did not play Sam enough. The coach did not let Suzy shoot enough.
I have had enough of it. Good coaches lose their jobs. Bad parents bring tar and feathers to school board meetings or into the principal’s office.
Sadly, happiness sometimes is seeing the return address of a local high school disappearing in the rearview mirror.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home