A Coach’s Tale, Then and Now
There are not enough hours in the day to talk about the changes in high school sports from my days in the early 70’s to what exists today but I’ll give you one:
Old Days- Athlete comes home from practice or a game and complains to parents about his coach (I say his because in my day there were only a small percentage of females who played sports). Athlete’s main complaint usually has to do with playing time or something the coach said about him. Might have even had to do some extra laps or push-ups for some type of screw-up. Of course the athlete is seeking an ally in their parents and wants them to have sympathy for his plight.
What usually happens in that they find none. As a matter of fact it’s likely the parents will take the side of the coach who they feel is doing the best he can and should not be questioned. This was often where the father would go on to deliver a lecture about how teenagers should not question authority but rather should learn to respect it. You were also told to shut your mouth, work harder at practice, not complain in the future and if you didn’t like those terms then quit the team.
In extremely rare cases a parent would get involved and question the coach who would swiftly end the discussion. Of course there were disgruntled parents who wanted to butt in over the objections of their children but in most cases they were talked out of it by the athlete over fear of embarrassment and humiliation.
Today- Before coming home athlete texts parent that the coach yelled at them in practice and made them run two extra laps because they were one minute late in getting on the field. At dinner both mother and father bad mouth the coach and tell daughter that she is not being treated fairly and deserves to be a starter. After all they’ve spent a small fortune to send her to five different camps and in most of them she came home with a trophy and glowing comments from the instructors.
Parents call coach at home while he or she is having a late dinner with their family and demand time to discuss the matter. They do and coach explains that the best players play and the young teenager is not yet one of them. Parents refuse to accept answer and seek meeting with Athletic Director, principal and maybe the Superintendent. Everyone is sympathetic and looking for a solution because nobody wants to just say the truth: athlete is just not that good. Coach gets dragged in and has to defend their decisions.
Entire matter turns into a mess, team is torn apart and nobody wins. At the end of the season coach does the numbers and decides to resign and.can make more money bartending or waitressing one night a week. School posts job seeking new head coach.