I received this letter a couple of days ago. Ordinarily I wouldn't print anything without identifying the person who wrote it, but in this case I think the reason is pretty obvious. I even deleted the name of the school, but will tell you that it is a Bossier Parish school.
What is a coach’s responsibility to his players at a Middle School level?
We are new to Louisiana and to Middle School. This is my son’s first year playing football for this school and we were warned that this was “football Country” out here and football, even at a Middle School level, was political and fueled by favoritism. We had heard great things out this school and weren’t too worried about the rumors; after all it is Middle School right? These are young boys in early adolescence, not quite true athletes yet- but wanting to be. Waiting to be mentored and molded. Coached and validated. Waiting to grow into upper division athletes, all while dealing with hormones, puberty, pimples and the myriad of other Middle School things to worry about, all the while looking up to their coach as their hero, their demi-god while on the field.
During football season these boys spend more time with their coach on the field than they do with their own families during the week, and that affects them. The coaches become important to them. So then what is the coaches outlook when they have 50 plus young boys all looking to them for so many things during this overwhelming and confusing times in their lives? Do the coaches look through these boys not seeing the individual young men they are, and only seeing if they are played will they win? Do they not see them as young men needing to be taught, mentored, molded, encouraged to be the best they can be? Or are they just numbers on a playbook.
Do the coaches just want to win at any cost, and ignoring and forgetting some kids on the team is the price they are willing to pay? Is winning so important now that coaches have forgotten how incredibly important their jobs are at this crucial time in a young boys life. That they are there to TEACH young men how to become athletes, to foster each child’s individual talent, and encourage and teach new skills, as after all, they are teachers – right?
We had an incident at our Middle School Game last night. It was just a scrimmage game mind you – a scrimmage – and the coach chose to not play the entire team.
It was a scrimmage.
A game atmosphere in the stadium.
A great opportunity as a coach to play each player and see what they can bring to the table. An opportunity of a measuring tool for himself to see what each kid has. How they handle playing in a game situation. If the child should be used in a certain position? And above all, where he needs to work more with each kid.
They are children, remember – not just numbers. Simple, right – perfect opportunity to be fair, play everyone, to evaluate each child and let them experience play time and show the coach their stuff, especially since the score doesn’t even count.
It’s just a scrimmage after all, right?
I mean we are here for the kids, right? We are fostering their desire and optimism to play a sport they are so passionate about, and have paid their dues training for 2 hours a night in the heat, going to bed late because they have to stay up and finish homework. Well, that is not what happened at our school. Apparently we were proved wrong in not believing the rumors about politic and favoritism at this level.
The coach chose to not play all of the kids. This is Middle School – not Jr. – Sr. High school ball. This is Middle School where are boys are just learning to become men, to become athletes, to become themselves! The coach chose to not play every child that was new. Really? Ten young men who were new to the school or to the team were intentionally not played in a “scrimmage” game, their first game (that did not count).
What message is the coach sending to these young boys? “You are not good enough – not even to play in a scrimmage game” – WOW!!
To be betrayed by a coach that way – at this level – at a scrimmage game that every one knows, means NOTHING to the stats…. Was that really the best message to send to our children?
Was it because they were new?
Because you haven’t played with me since “Dixie League” you need to pay your dues?
Politics? Well, if so, shame on him. Then you are not a coach – you are a puppet and you should be removed from your position, because this is not just football you are teaching our kids here. Your position is so much more important. I am not a whining mommy who is throwing a fit just because my kid didn’t play… None of the new kids played. That is odd and it speaks volumes about what is really going on in our schools athletic system.
When my son walked out to the car, the light had gone out behind his eyes. He looked devastated and was just shaking his head like he didn’t understand what happened.
The only thing he said on the way home is “I am so embarrassed to go to school tomorrow”. Being a new kid is tough enough, throw in the atmosphere the school has created and allowed behind Football Rules the School and add the coaches decision to not play the new kids… what do you have?
What you have is someone out to win at any cost, even if it IS our children.
Shame on you ****** Middle School Coaches!! Perhaps the reason you lost the scrimmage last night is BECAUSE you didn’t play one of those kids. You never know, THEY could have made the difference in that game. What I do know is YOU could have made a difference to them!