Thursday, April 3, 2008

Nepotism in high school sports

In life, if often seems that success is not about what you know, but who you know. More than that, it's who your family is. I mean, how else did George W. get into Yale or Harvard? And that's just one example. I'm of the mindset that a person should earn the right to a good job or a good education, and not coast through existence on his/her family name. Though familial favoritism is rampant throughout society, a forum in which it is readily apparent is in the arena of sports-- namely high school sports-- which is why I'm writing this in the first place.

Let's speak in hypotheticals shall we? (And by hypotheticals I mean thinly-veiled literals, mmk pumpkins?) So I know this kid who happens to be a phenomenal baseball player. Let's call him "Stuart." He goes to "Plentiful" High. He is not only a natural talent, but a hard worker who truly loves the game. In fact, he was able to start varsity as a freshman last year, and he did a great job. Fast forward to this year: Stuart is relegated to JV, shagging balls for the team he used to start for. Seriously?

You may be thinking, hmm, I wonder why this kid's not playing varsity this year. Maybe they got a new transfer student with the skills of Robinson Cano. Maybe Stuart's just not that great of a player. Or maybe the new assistant coach wants his son to play. (Just so you know, it's the latter.) Yes, good old Plentiful hired a recently FIRED coach to continue the legacy of coaching-mediocrity that is rampant in its sports department. Said coach has a son who plays Stuart's position... so it looks like Stuart's out of luck.

Now it would be one thing if this kid were an all star athlete in his own right, with the build and the skill for the game. But the truth of the matter is this: he didn't even play last year (remember, daddy got fired) AT ALL. And to make matters worse, he's 5' 4" and maybe a buck twenty. Oh yeah, and ask me if he can turn a double play... nope. Ask me if he went 0-14 with ELEVEN strikeouts before he got his first little hit. And Stuart's the one riding pine. Makes a lot of sense, doesn't it?

Oh wait, it doesn't. Am I the only one going WTF right about now?

Sure, there are a lot of instances where fathers coach little league teams and the like so that their kids can play, and I don't have a problem with that. In some cases, this is the only time those kids will be able to play sports, and there's always the option of joining another team. So the problems of nepotism are then mostly alleviated. Let the kids play all they want with the teams they want and have a great time.

But what about in high school? A kid doesn't have the luxury of being able to choose which team he plays for. In fact, if the kid wanted to transfer schools, he loses an entire year of eligibility. So nepotism becomes a problem. I think it's pathetic and sad that high schools are so adversely effected by politics. Especially in Plentiful's case. I saw it when I went there, and it gets progressively worse. You get underpaid teachers in there that need an extra $1000 who know nothing about the sport and have a huge chip on their shoulder. And good kids don't get to play, merely because they don't have the right last name, or (sadly enough) the coach resents the fact they're good. It's very sad and very true.

I worry about the kids who are mistreated in such a way, who are denied their well deserved right to play. What about those who would be inclined to get into trouble if they didn't have a goal in place? What about those that can't afford to go to college unless a scholarship is provided? Instead of having coaches who are supportive and helpful, they have coaches who wish they were coaching football and put their awful sons into the game. It just doesn't seem right to me. And it definitely doesn't sit well with me.

I've thought about what I can do to bring this problem to light, but sadly, nobody at Plentiful really cares. So at least I can blog about it right? Sigh.

** For those of you who read this as of 4/9/2008, I am sorry to report that I had to further change names to protect the innocent. They were way more funny before. **

14 comments:

Josh & Kenna said...

Have you noticed that most of the couches are fat too...hmmm...

rachel said...

Hey Lauren! I ran across your cute blog and wanted to stop in and say Hi! It looks like you guys are doing great - what a fabulous & wonderful couple! So good to get caught up on your life!

Cami said...

A girl that I know lets call her "shami" she didnt make the BHS highschool team for those exact same reasons. She didn't have any older siblings to put in a good word for her and get her on the team. So political. Tell Dan to keep his head up!
Cami

mary elizabeth said...

hi, my name is mary. i also went to "Smountiful" (i'm eliza c.'s lil' sis) and i just want to say that this wasn't only the case with sports. it was the same in regards to the musicals & plays. if you had a certain last name, but not much talent -- you were given parts, when others deserved it more. so dumb.

sorry about your brother! that really is just lame.

Brad & Britt said...

ok. so well written and I am so happy that you got that written so elloquently. Its absolutely true in b-town....unfortunately. Our convo at Young women's hopefully helped! haha!
-britt

Blogdor said...

Yeah, that's pretty bad. But it's even worse when it happens at your private professional post-baccalaureate school. All I know is I feel sorry for whatever patient ends up going to be treated by some of these dentists. They should never have been playing.

Anonymous said...

I realize that you wrote this article a few years ago, but unfortunately this is the time in my family's life where it has happened. It has gotten so bad that we have moved out of town after it has turned into a huge legal mess. Just be sure to know that my family is not giving up the fight and we will continue to fight for all of the children that do not have the ability to fight for themselves. There should most definitely be some laws against this behavior. The scary thing is that this are the professionals that our children are supposed to respect.

Anonymous said...

What can be done about it? We have the same thing happening her in San Antonio, Texas.

Anonymous said...

We went through this mess a year ago, it was awful. Fortunately, enough parents, present and former players, etc came forward to get these coaches out. True what you said about jealousy and suppression of talented players. A year later there is still division, dirty looks and mean gossip from these former coaches and their small handful of supporters. Their kids are still on the team, constantly undermining the great new coaches. It will take a few years to get over.

Anonymous said...

Yes, sad to say this is happening in San Antonio Northside ISD, and coaches get away with murder. Parents afraid to say anything because child might lose playing time or be cut. We have a coach who placed her freshman daughter on varsity. In addition, she puts her daughter's friends on JV volleyball team. Parents pay thousands of dollars getting their daughters ready for high school, only to have coaches play favoritism. Sad to say no one will speak up in fear of backlash....

Anonymous said...

It's even worse in small towns where the coach went to high school with the player's parents, are friends with the player's parents, or because the parents are teachers at the school too.

Snowplow MOM said...

My children have been destroyed due to sports politics and parent's coaching the teams of several different sports. My son is very talented and was out shining coaches kid and so the coach made him feel like he was not being a team player and caused my son so much anxiety he ended up having a vocal cord dysfunction. He has lost his love for sports.Than one of my daughter' has natural talent but get's intentionally blocked out on the court by her team mates and coach acts like it is not happening. My oldest daughter, junior in high school gets to warm the bench so the 8th grader can play her position. What is the reasoning for this. The 8th grader does not make that much of a difference and has 4 more years to play. My junior only has 2. Ridiculous! My son plays football and can pull the ball out of the sky but yet he is put on the line while coaches kid and friends play all the important positions. Even after the coach said everyone would have opportunity to play different spots. Coaches kid and friends get to remain in same spot. AAAAAAAh! I don't know what to do to try and help change this system. Kids are suppose to be having fund and learning some life lessons but what are they learning here except the fact that they don't count at school because they don't have the right name or are not in the right crowd. Are there not rules that help protect kids?

Anonymous said...

I have dealt with the same type of thing. My son was starting point guard on a team last year and did well, and the backup point rarely played more than 5 minutes each game. He had a great try out for the team this year. He got cut. The back up point did not, even though during try-outs my son had to play this kid one on one and obliterated him 11 to 3. Why? Because the new coach coached this kids brothers and knows the family. The kids from the team last year who played with my son and this kid were like... WHAT???????????? when they found out this kid was picked over my son.

Anonymous said...

This article speaks volume! This just happened to my son. Cut his junior year due to nepotism. Was team co-captain two years. Assistant coach came up to me the last year and told me how much he liked my son and how he's a good kid and player. Now head Coach is related to player, assistant coach is related to two members of the team and coaches another player in the summer. No one likes their kid to be cut, but if they do, be fair, tell the player why, and don't make up BS. Be men, be role models, set example. We as parents entrust our kids to these schools, teachers, and coaches for years to guide them along, not to do them completely wrong. Like I told my son and many other coaches have said to him since...you will be just fine. But these Coaches, Assistant Coaches, and Athletic directors need to be put on blast and people need to speak up.