|OPINION PAGE - OCTOBER 6, 1999 - JEFFERSON, GEORGIA|
The Jackson Herald
October 6, 1999
No need to 'buy' industry
The Jackson Herald
October 6, 1999
Says all boys should be allowed to play
My son loves football. He has hopes of one day playing for the Georgia Bulldogs and possibly even going to the NFL. I told him that was a mighty big goal, but as his mother, it is my responsibility to help him see it through.
The first thing I did was to sign him up to play football in the Jackson County Parks and Recreation Department. I thought he would learn the fundamentals of football and gain a little experience playing. Wrong! What he learned was that the coach's kid gets to play every minute of the game. The coach's kid gets to play first string offense and first string defense. I told him not to worry, that maybe next year he would have a different coach. Wrong! Same coach again, same bad experience. I asked the JCPRD director why my son has to have the same coach year after year. I was told that the returning coach usually gets the team. A lot of good that does my son. That means he will have a bad coach year after year.
Well, I guess a little complaining paid off. This year, he has a new coach. There are 31 kids on the team. Perfect. There are enough kids for an offense and defense. That should cut out all that favoritism. Wrong! What he has learned is that the coach's kid and the assistant coach's kid and even the coach's friend's kid gets to play the entire game. He learned that eight kids get to play both first string offense and defense while the other 23 fill the other six positions.
This past Saturday, he even got to see two coaches fight on the sidelines. They weren't opposing coaches, they were on the same team. It took three men to keep the two coaches apart. Well, since these two men were just there to help the head coach and his assistant, we knew they would be asked to leave the field. Wrong! Even after jeers from the crowd calling for the two men to be removed from the field, the game continued with the two unofficial coaches on the sidelines calling the plays.
As the time was running down, the call came out. "Who hasn't been in yet?" Boys began jumping up and down with their arms up. The desire to play was there - you could see it in their faces: "Put me in, coach." That statement could be heard throughout the stands.
Not every boy got to play that day. After the game, I saw a boy with tears rolling down his cheeks. He had been in for one play, just a few seconds of the game. It's a shame, too. I have been to every practice and have seen the kids play. The child is a good little player. He runs like a deer and has the desire to learn. Even more important, he plays the game with all his heart.
I'm not upset for just my son. I'm upset for the child who left the stadium in tears. I'm upset for all the boys who were treated like a bunch of scrubs.
Every child who signed up to play football deserves a chance to play in the game, and I'm not talking about going out for that one token play and then back to the sidelines, either. Let the kids play. You coaches need to hang your egos up at home before you come out onto that field. If your desire to win overshadows the hopes and dreams of those boys, then maybe you shouldn't be a coach at all. Furthermore, I blame JCPRD for putting so many kids on one team and for letting this kind of behavior continue year after year.
Parents, if your child wants to play but doesn't get a chance, you don't have to take it. Stand up! Speak out! Let's get rid of that "good ol' boy" mentality and let the kids be kids!
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