To the Editor: Lessons learned — and not learned — in high school sports
By: Merle Kelley, Pine Journal
To the Editor:
What’s fair anymore in local high school sports? What are coaches teaching our children who on some days spend more time with them than we have a chance to?
Here’s what I’ve learned as a parent of a Cloquet High School athlete.
It’s OK to talk or not stand at attention during national anthem.
If you work hard, you may not be rewarded.
It’s OK to be negative towards other players and officials.
Promises will be broken.
It’s OK to quit the team.
I’ve seen all of the above over the years; yes, right here in Cloquet. What happened to rewarding the players that give a 110 percent every day? Why are eighth-graders, freshmen and sophomores playing over upperclassmen who have equal or better talent? Why are players not standing at attention with hands over hearts for national anthem? Why do players whine on every foul called or not called and every strike called or not called? Why are promises made to players and broken? Why are so many players quitting teams here in Cloquet?
Instead of worrying so much about winning, teach the players something besides that. Show them you care about what the future holds for them. Help them through the ups and downs of high school and everyday life. Ask them how their day or week has been. Keep them on the team, don’t let them quit. Discipline them when they get a technical foul or talk back to referees or umpires. Discipline them for not standing at attention with hand on their heart. Discipline them for mistreating a teammate. Don’t promise them anything, surprise them for their hard work. Reward the upperclassmen who are just as talented as the underclassmen. Let the upperclassmen play their way out of the lineup, not have their fate decided before the season has even started.
Players need coaches who care about them on and off the playing surfaces. Players all remember their coaches and what they taught them later on in life. Right now I’m concerned what my child will remember.
Merle Kelley, Cloquet