First, let me say I appreciate your continued support in following the “Ask Oscar” blog. I enjoy sharing my thoughts with you and it seems there is no shortage of content to post regarding sport and its effect on our young people and our society.
With that said…
I submitted a post a couple of days ago about the behavior of coaches and parents with regard to sport and the experience of the young people who participate. After thinking about that post for a while and literally upsetting myself, I started to think about the reasons why these kinds of things happen.
As I pondered some possible answers to my questions I figured there was no need to look any further than the school administration. Athletic directors are ultimately responsible for what happens in athletics as the immediate supervisor of that department. The athletic director usually reports to the principal so everyone is “on the same page” much like collegiate coaches report to the athletic director who ultimately reports to the university president.
Why in the world would athletic directors and principals allow their student-athletes to be mistreated at the hands of coaches who could care less about the well-being of those they’re trusted to mentor? Why would you employ someone who has no regard for the young people they spend so much time with (in most cases more time than parents)?
After stewing for a while I decided to jot down a list of five “whys” that would explain the reasons this kind of behavior is tolerated. Keep in mind this is my list and yours may or may not be similar. You may think I’m completely off altogether… but I doubt it. Either way, this list is something that needs to be addressed… especially in high school sport. Here’s what I came up with:
1. Administration has no idea what’s going on in athletics. In my mind this is a cop out and if you’re responsible for running the school you should have your finger on the pulse of every department.
2. Administration doesn’t care to know what’s happening in athletics. A very sad but true fact. Especially if the program is considered “successful.”
3. Administration cares more about winning than developing young people. This is tragic because if you show genuine respect and care for young people they will give you their best effort without question. At that point success (however it’s defined) is inevitable.
4. Cash is king. Sometimes, especially in private schools, money makes all the decisions. Regardless of whether they’re good decisions or not. So if you have money you rule… otherwise you’re nothing more than a peasant.
5. They’re just kids…they have no idea. Again, an unimaginable thought for someone whose primary responsibility is to protect the kids. I had a conversation with a couple of young people I know personally and they said the coaches at their school make them “hate” the sport they’ve enjoyed playing their entire lives.
Ugh… is this seriously what we’ve allowed sport to become?
I’ll close with this… we have serious issues in youth/amateur sport today. Between egotistical coaches with no people skills, parents who refuse to be realistic about their expectations for their children and school administrators who bury their heads in the sand what in the world are we supposed to do? At the end of the day, the ones who are sacrificed are the kids… battered physically and emotionally by their “coaches,” stressed out by their parents and completely ignored by school administrators... and for what - the sake of winning? Hmmmmm… and we wonder why they would rather just play video games. At least in their video games when something isn’t right they can hit the reset button or turn it off.
Hey!!!! Can someone please hit the reset button???