Shanley baseball coach of 14 years says contract not renewed due to parent complaint about text message

As a parent of a young baseball player, I am appalled.

I think the message that the Coach sent out is awesome and struck a nerve.

FARGO – When the Fargo Shanley baseball team hits the field this spring, it will do so with a new coach.

Joel Swanson, who started the Deacons program in 1999, was informed by school administrators Monday that his coaching contract would not be renewed for the 2014 season.

According to Swanson, the reason for the nonrenewal is a complaint from a parent of one of the players in the Shanley program regarding a text message he sent to players last week regarding preparations for the upcoming season.

Swanson told The Forum that he met with Shanley activities director Randy Nelson and Dr. Michael Smith, the Superintendent of Blessed John Paul II Catholic Schools Network of Fargo on Monday to discuss the text message. In the meeting, Swanson said he was told a complaint had been issued by a parent.

“They told me the text message was considered threatening in tone and wording,” Swanson said. “They went on to say that it violated Shanley’s values and that my contract would not be renewed.”

Nelson confirmed Wednesday that Swanson’s contract was not renewed, but declined to comment on what prompted the decision, citing the matter as a personnel issue.

Swanson, who teaches alternative education at Cheney Middle School in West Fargo, coached 14 seasons with the Deacons and was coming off of a 10-12 season in which Shanley won the North Dakota Class A state championship.

Defending that championship is what prompted Swanson to send his players the text message.

Swanson provided The Forum a letter he sent Nelson and Dr. Smith in response to his dismissal, which included what he says is the transcript of the text message he sent to the players.

The text goes into great length about Swanson’s expectations for the 2014 season and his displeasure with players having poor attendance at non-mandatory open gym sessions.

“We are two months into open gyms and obviously all of you are satisfied with last year’s title,” the message reads. “We are the team that will have a target on our backs. We are the team that everyone throws their ace against. We are the team everyone wants to beat this year. I am sick of stupid excuses to not come to open gym. … If you want to be an athlete commit to it. One hour a week is not too much to ask if you want to be an athlete.

“If you make an excuse not to come then you are telling me what kind of athlete you are. I cannot require you to come but I thought I would have a group excited to try and defend a title. Not to make excuses and not care. Some of you are not even in a sport right now, which is even more pathetic. … I will not send out another message like this, but some of you may be in for a rude awakening when the season comes and you are not in the lineup due to a younger player that puts in the time.”

The Class A baseball season opens March 17, with the first contests scheduled for March 28.

Swanson has received hundreds of emails and text messages of support following the decision, which he cites as unjust due to the lack of opportunity to defend himself.

Swanson said he was afforded no challenge to the complaint nor was he allowed to meet – in a mediated setting – with the parent that issued the complaint, which he considers to be standard practice.

“It seems like something is missing here,” Swanson said. “If they want me to step down from my position, then fine, but it was done in an unprofessional way. I was released without ever being able to talk to this parent. I wasn’t able to defend myself as far as what the content of the text message was.”

In May of 2013, Minnesota passed a law preventing parent complaints as being the sole reason for a board to not renew a coaching contract in its high schools. No similar legislation exists in North Dakota.

“It is just too bad,” Swanson said. “We have a large senior class this year and they are a good group of kids. We didn’t have the best record in the regular season last year, but they were fun to coach. … It is tough to leave that. As a coach you want to help kids and share your knowledge, but there always is somebody who seems to think that is not good enough or they can do better.”

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Berry3614 Said:
yes there is limitations in high school sports. i was a coach also    but he didnt call anyone pathetic.   whats wrong with a coach wanting kids come to gym and play catch for 20 mins or take a bucket of balls.   these kids not working are gonna whine when they cant pitch cause there arm is sore.   yes high school sports isnt like college   but a coach is brought into the system to win.   name a school that brings in coaches not to win.    coaches put in hours to coach.  if i was a parent i would say why arent u at practice instead of playing videos games.    i bet every single one of u on this site can go back into their high school career and say if i could have made that shot or made that one extra block or pitch.  thee might be more to story none of us know but what he texted kids was fine.    my 2 censt

I specifically called kids that only play one sport pathetic. Read the text.

And there is nothing wrong with a coach wanting his players to work hard. There is something wrong with an overbearing coach wanting his players to be required to attend a voluntary work out and insult the kids that don't attend.

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Quincy05 Said:

Allen Said:

yelowjackt Said:
Holy crap did you even read the text ????

“We are two months into open gyms and obviously all of you are satisfied with last year’s title,” the message reads. “We are the team that will have a target on our backs. We are the team that everyone throws their ace against. We are the team everyone wants to beat this year. I am sick of stupid excuses to not come to open gym. … If you want to be an athlete commit to it. One hour a week is not too much to ask if you want to be an athlete.

If you make an excuse not to come then you are telling me what kind of athlete you are. I cannot require you to come but I thought I would have a group excited to try and defend a title. Not to make excuses and not care. Some of you are not even in a sport right now, which is even more pathetic. … I will not send out another message like this, but some of you may be in for a rude awakening when the season comes and you are not in the lineup due to a younger player that puts in the time.”

The Class A baseball season opens March 17, with the first contests scheduled for March 28.

Please highlight the "ASSHOLE" parts of this text for those of us that apparently do not comprehend wussification...

I don't much care for the parts in yellow, and the part in red is not only none of his damn business, it is pure assholish. 

And then the very last part, so he says if I don't come down and hang out with him, even if I am the best player on the team he is going to sit me down in place of someone who showed up at these voluntary open gyms.  What, is he that fricking lonely?

Thanks, made it easier for me. As you said, it's none of his effing business as to what I do in the off-season. Calling one sport students pathetic is crossing the line as a high school coach.

Some of you are not even in a sport right now, which is even more pathetic. 

I understand now, it is ok that you have poor reading comprehension skills...most likely a product of your environment and today’s teachers not being able to adequately do their jobs due to helicopter parenting.

The text is referring to the fact that since you are not in another sport you have no excuse for not participating in the open gyms...he is not calling one sport athletes pathetic...

And yes it is the coaches business if you are on the team, it’s really too bad that this attempt at motivation is taken so horribly out of context and the fact that a parent or group of parents would find it so intimidating as to allegedly cause the coach to lose his job.

I am however becoming more convinced that the entire situation is plausible from the comments that you and Allen spew forth. It only solidifies the wussification theory and the unfortunate direction our society is headed.


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DirtyMike Said:
Quincy, I offered to meet you in Bismarck.  That isn't online. 

Haha, okay dude. You're a tough guy, I can see your e-peen from here.

I can't believe that someone would threaten another over a topic such as this on a hunting/fishing message board. SMDH

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bullsnake Said:
i had the pleasure a being coached by this man for football in my early high school years and will always hold him as one of the best

KurtR Said:
the wrestling coach in watertown would have expected as much and more and if you did not perform you would know and I guess proof is in the results....

http://www.sdshof.com/inductees/marv-sherrill/

Yep one of the best and also one of the best history teachers I ever had.  I was fun watching him catch people smoking in the parking lot.

 Adn

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This is what I don't understand. If you took away all the titles (name,grade, etc) and knew absolutely nothing about any of the kids(how much time they put in, performance last year, etc) I would bet your line up might be different than with that info. If you truely want the best team on the field than voluntary workouts should not even be a factor.                                      
I think it's dumb he lost his job and think parents need to grow up just like most on here. I just never understood the whole mandatory "voluntary" work outs. At the same time I would tell my kid to get his ass up there and I would be smashing grounders at him with the fungo afterwards. Lol

DirtyMike Said:
The only reason I commented on this is because I coach baseball as well.  We are having voluntary workouts on Sunday afternoons.  It is also a christian school.  If the kids aren't doing anything, we expect them there.  If they're family says they won't make it, we won't hold it against them.  But that doesn't mean the kid who shows up for these workouts and impresses us wont get the start.  It isn't the kids fault that his parents won't let him come to these workouts.  We know that.  But we intend to put the best team on the field, regardless of seniority or who their parents are. 

golfer Said:

DirtyMike Said:

golfer Said:

Some of you act like this is an isolated incident.  Did it ever occur to any of you tough guys there is more to the story.  A lot of short dick non-athletic types on here carrying on about how tough they were or are.  Pussies.

Projecting?

Close to the truth?

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golfer Said:

Some of you act like this is an isolated incident.  Did it ever occur to any of you tough guys there is more to the story.  A lot of short dick non-athletic types on here carrying on about how tough they were or are.  Pussies.

funny says the guy hiding behind a screen name on the internet

 Adn

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Are you assuming I want to inflict physical harm upon you?  There you go assuming again.  And there you go focusing on male genitalia again.  Pack up your shit and get out of here.  You're opinion is null and void. 


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Quincy05 Said:

doublebarrelsaloon Said:
 

Quincy05 Said:

 

Kids should be entitled to play high school sports. When parents are paying for extracurricular activities through tax money (the $50 sports fee doesn't cover everything), then kids should be allowed to play. Expecting to play Varsity, is a different story, and I would agree with you. But, no, kids that loaf through sports don't necessarily loaf through life. That's a terrible generalization towards kids that aren't like you in terms of what excites them. Would it be fair to you as an athlete for someone to say "if a kid loafs through math class they will loaf through life" ? I don't think so.

And I don't think the coach can call a meeting like that in the off-season; rules and all.

Kids should be entitled the opportunity to compete, where they end up all depends on work and ability.

That's what I said.

Ha..Ha no it is not what you said...there's that comprehension thing again…it's ok

Play ≠ compete … sorry I should probably explain the sign ≠ means “does not equal” just so there is no confusion.


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Redrivermuleys Said:
This is what I don't understand. If you took away all the titles (name,grade, etc) and knew absolutely nothing about any of the kids(how much time they put in, performance last year, etc) I would bet your line up might be different than with that info. If you truely want the best team on the field than voluntary workouts should not even be a factor.                                      
I think it's dumb he lost his job and think parents need to grow up just like most on here. I just never understood the whole mandatory "voluntary" work outs. At the same time I would tell my kid to get his ass up there and I would be smashing grounders at him with the fungo afterwards. Lol

DirtyMike Said:
The only reason I commented on this is because I coach baseball as well.  We are having voluntary workouts on Sunday afternoons.  It is also a christian school.  If the kids aren't doing anything, we expect them there.  If they're family says they won't make it, we won't hold it against them.  But that doesn't mean the kid who shows up for these workouts and impresses us wont get the start.  It isn't the kids fault that his parents won't let him come to these workouts.  We know that.  But we intend to put the best team on the field, regardless of seniority or who their parents are. 

golfer Said:

DirtyMike Said:

golfer Said:

Some of you act like this is an isolated incident.  Did it ever occur to any of you tough guys there is more to the story.  A lot of short dick non-athletic types on here carrying on about how tough they were or are.  Pussies.

Projecting?

Close to the truth?

As I stated, or maybe I didn't, these voluntary workouts are not the only consideration taking into putting a starting lineup together.  But if the kid that attended these workouts got better because of the workouts, to the point that hes now better than a starter or upper classman from last year, he's going to get the nod.  I would suggest every underclassman  or perennial jv player to be at these workouts.  They might end up getting a starting spot.  Why? because they got better.  NOT because they attended a voluntary workout.


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DirtyMike Said:
The only reason I commented on this is because I coach baseball as well.  We are having voluntary workouts on Sunday afternoons.  It is also a christian school.  If the kids aren't doing anything, we expect them there.  If they're family says they won't make it, we won't hold it against them.  But that doesn't mean the kid who shows up for these workouts and impresses us wont get the start.  It isn't the kids fault that his parents won't let him come to these workouts.  We know that.  But we intend to put the best team on the field, regardless of seniority or who their parents are. 

golfer Said:

DirtyMike Said:

golfer Said:

Some of you act like this is an isolated incident.  Did it ever occur to any of you tough guys there is more to the story.  A lot of short dick non-athletic types on here carrying on about how tough they were or are.  Pussies.

Projecting?

Close to the truth?

And all I am saying there is more to the story and people are passing judgement without knowing all the facts.  Do you really think he got let go because of this one incident?  Both my sons were and are still participating in high school sports and if I know there is an open gym, they are there.  We have missed hunting and fishing trips just to attend open gym.

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On Facebook today, Swanson told supporters his "Era at Shanley has come to an unfortunate end because a Mom and Dad put the codling of their child over the good of an entire team and program."

Yeah, good riddance.

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webs Said:
 Only thing he did wrong was text. 

 

I don’t agree with this...if he was going to say the same thing in a meeting why could it not be texted ???

..and I would bet the meeting would not be as sugar coated as the text its self


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This one blew up rather quickly.

Is it impious to weigh goose music and art in the same scales? I think not, because the true hunter is merely a noncreative artist. Who painted the first picture on a bone in the caves of France? A hunter. Who alone in our modern life so thrills to the sight of living beauty that he will endure hunger and thirst and cold to feed his eye upon it? The hunter. Who wrote the great hunter's poem about the sheer wonder of the wind, the hail, and the snow, the stars, the lightnings, and the clouds, the lion, the deer, and the wild goat, the raven, the hawk, and the eagle, and above all the eulogy to the horse? Job, one of the great dramatic artists of all time. Poets sing and hunters scale the mountains primarily for one and the same reason--the thrill of beauty. Critics write and hunters outwit their game primarily for one and the same reason--to reduce that beauty to possession. The differences are largely matters of degree, consciousness, and that sly arbiter of the classification of human activities, language. If, then, we can live without goose music, we may as well do away with stars, or sunsets, or Iliads. But the point is we would be fools to do away with any of them. 

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yelowjackt Said:

Some of you are not even in a sport right now, which is even more pathetic. 

I understand now, it is ok that you have poor reading comprehension skills...most likely a product of your environment and today’s teachers not being able to adequately do their jobs due to helicopter parenting.

The text is referring to the fact that since you are not in another sport you have no excuse for not participating in the open gyms...he is not calling one sport athletes pathetic...

And yes it is the coaches business if you are on the team, it’s really too bad that this attempt at motivation is taken so horribly out of context and the fact that a parent or group of parents would find it so intimidating as to allegedly cause the coach to lose his job.

I am however becoming more convinced that the entire situation is plausible from the comments that you and Allen spew forth. It only solidifies the wussification theory and the unfortunate direction our society is headed.

Yes, he is calling one sport athletes pathetic. Doesn't matter if he meant in terms of excuses (he didn't) or having a reason not to attend the VOLUNTARY workouts. Your childish insults don't give credence to anything you say. Expecting those in authority to not be pricks isn't making anything soft. No more than having a hard ass drill sergeant makes you tougher.

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Most kids, even with additional voluntary practice, are not going to shine in any team sport. Maybe they will be a "good" high school player, but big deal.  Bottom line is most cant even make a varsity team in whatever sport. Sports is so over rated and consumes people, the emotions come out cause I guess everyone wants their kid to be the star on a high school team that wins a championship. We need a seperation of sports and schools just like religion and this thread proves it. You want to play, play on your own dime, no taxpayer support for extra curriculars.

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more man part talk please - I was almost to the point of knowing what it is like to be gay but now it has dissipated


 

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DirtyMike Said:
Are you assuming I want to inflict physical harm upon you?  There you go assuming again.  And there you go focusing on male genitalia again.  Pack up your shit and get out of here.  You're opinion is null and void. 

Why did you use your meeting offer as a retort towards your internet toughness? I'm lost, are you a tough guy that wants everyone to have testicles, or are you civil and want to discuss things maturely?

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golfer Said:
And all I am saying there is more to the story and people are passing judgement without knowing all the facts.  Do you really think he got let go because of this one incident?  Both my sons were and are still participating in high school sports and if I know there is an open gym, they are there.  We have missed hunting and fishing trips just to attend open gym.

So, what's the rest of the story?

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yelowjackt Said:

Quincy05 Said:

doublebarrelsaloon Said:
 

Quincy05 Said:

 

Kids should be entitled to play high school sports. When parents are paying for extracurricular activities through tax money (the $50 sports fee doesn't cover everything), then kids should be allowed to play. Expecting to play Varsity, is a different story, and I would agree with you. But, no, kids that loaf through sports don't necessarily loaf through life. That's a terrible generalization towards kids that aren't like you in terms of what excites them. Would it be fair to you as an athlete for someone to say "if a kid loafs through math class they will loaf through life" ? I don't think so.

And I don't think the coach can call a meeting like that in the off-season; rules and all.

Kids should be entitled the opportunity to compete, where they end up all depends on work and ability.

That's what I said.

Ha..Ha no it is not what you said...there's that comprehension thing again…it's ok

Play ≠ compete … sorry I should probably explain the sign ≠ means “does not equal” just so there is no confusion.

Totally...

"Expecting to play Varsity, is a different story, and I would agree with you."
Good effing lord... it's right there in the post. I mean I could type slower if that would help. Maybe go word for word as to how they are equivalent?

How's this:

Doublebarrel: "Kids should be entitled the opportunity to compete"
Quincy: "Kids should be entitled to play high school sports. When parents are paying for extracurricular activities through tax money (the $50 sports fee doesn't cover everything), then kids should be allowed to play."

Doublebarrel: "where they end up all depends on work and ability."
Quincy: "Expecting to play Varsity, is a different story, and I would agree with you."

So we have two people saying that kids should be entitled to play, and yet the level of ability they play against shouldn't be entitled.

Yeah, that's what I said. But if you're really being pedantic about competing and playing (can't see how they aren't the same effing thing in the context of the conversation) then you can win. Want a cookie?

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Colt45 Said:

Most kids, even with additional voluntary practice, are not going to shine in any team sport. Maybe they will be a "good" high school player, but big deal.  Bottom line is most cant even make a varsity team in whatever sport. Sports is so over rated and consumes people, the emotions come out cause I guess everyone wants their kid to be the star on a high school team that wins a championship. We need a seperation of sports and schools just like religion and this thread proves it. You want to play, play on your own dime, no taxpayer support for extra curriculars.

 Adn

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Quincy05 Said:

DirtyMike Said:
Are you assuming I want to inflict physical harm upon you?  There you go assuming again.  And there you go focusing on male genitalia again.  Pack up your shit and get out of here.  You're opinion is null and void. 

Why did you use your meeting offer as a retort towards your internet toughness? I'm lost, are you a tough guy that wants everyone to have testicles, or are you civil and want to discuss things maturely?

thanks!

 

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 Jonas got screwed too

 

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just think 8 pages and the regulars that are generally in the 13 pagers have not even shown up yet.................

 Adn

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curtikins_bac Said:

golfer Said:
And all I am saying there is more to the story and people are passing judgement without knowing all the facts.  Do you really think he got let go because of this one incident?  Both my sons were and are still participating in high school sports and if I know there is an open gym, they are there.  We have missed hunting and fishing trips just to attend open gym.

So, what's the rest of the story?

Patience.

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Quincy05 Said:

On Facebook today, Swanson told supporters his "Era at Shanley has come to an unfortunate end because a Mom and Dad put the codling of their child over the good of an entire team and program."

Yeah, good riddance.

Why, cuz he told it like it is?  Joel may be an intense guy, but he has my support.  I'll take a coach like him anyday teaching my kids the value of hard work and putting forth the effort.  That's the way I teach my kids at home and that's the way I want others to teach my kid as well.  Do a little research sometime on this "self esteem society" we are creating nowadays by giving away participation ribbons and telling our kids they played good even if they didn't.  It may open your eyes a bit. 

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bigbrad123 Said:

Quincy05 Said:

On Facebook today, Swanson told supporters his "Era at Shanley has come to an unfortunate end because a Mom and Dad put the codling of their child over the good of an entire team and program."

Yeah, good riddance.

Why, cuz he told it like it is?  Joel may be an intense guy, but he has my support.  I'll take a coach like him anyday teaching my kids the value of hard work and putting forth the effort.  That's the way I teach my kids at home and that's the way I want others to teach my kid as well.  Do a little research sometime on this "self esteem society" we are creating nowadays by giving away participation ribbons and telling our kids they played good even if they didn't.  It may open your eyes a bit. 

He's a self absorbed prick. He couldn't even manage to admit he shouldn't have sent the text, yet he blames these unknown parents for him being fired. He bitches about kids not manning up, and then does the same thing by throwing out an excuse. He wins a ND State title and apparently it went to his head. I think the layoff will do him some good to not be so obsessed with high school baseball.

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Perhaps this coach's only problem was that he simply cared too much when the new norm is not to care at all.  There is no way I could coach kids these days because of this mentality.  Winning should mean something.  Performing well should mean something.  Working to get to the top should mean something.  And working to try and stay there should mean something.

This coach was trying to light a fire under his kids so they would do the extra things necessary to be more in control of their destinies.  I thought that is what coaches were suppose to do along with teaching you the game.

It saddens and frustrates me that I have observed how society has clipped the wings of coaches like this one.  Now, most of the coaches have been forced to not give a damn, because giving a damn can hurt someone's feelings.

Many kids don't understand that extra work will pay dividends both individually and collectively.  So I believe it is the responsibility of the parents to make sure their kids are attending every practice, game, or voluntary workout.  If a child doesn't want to put in a little extra time to make themselves better and make thier team better, and the parents don't believe they need to, then they need to either not play sports, or at the very least, not play a team sport where their poor preparation and performance will negatively affect other kids who do care and try hard.

There is a big difference between having a teammate who sucks but tries hard, and one who sucks and doesn't try at all.  And if a kid doesn't have the competitive spirit to care whether they win or lose, they shouldn't be playing the game, because until they quit keeping score, that is what it is all about.  That "W" is the paycheck you receive for being better than the other guy or team.

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Quincy were you the parent or what

 Adn

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KurtR Said:

Colt45 Said:

Most kids, even with additional voluntary practice, are not going to shine in any team sport. Maybe they will be a "good" high school player, but big deal.  Bottom line is most cant even make a varsity team in whatever sport. Sports is so over rated and consumes people, the emotions come out cause I guess everyone wants their kid to be the star on a high school team that wins a championship. We need a seperation of sports and schools just like religion and this thread proves it. You want to play, play on your own dime, no taxpayer support for extra curriculars.

How bout we just dont keep score, and everyone plays, and everyones a winner? You like that idea?

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Colt45 Said:

KurtR Said:

Colt45 Said:

Most kids, even with additional voluntary practice, are not going to shine in any team sport. Maybe they will be a "good" high school player, but big deal.  Bottom line is most cant even make a varsity team in whatever sport. Sports is so over rated and consumes people, the emotions come out cause I guess everyone wants their kid to be the star on a high school team that wins a championship. We need a seperation of sports and schools just like religion and this thread proves it. You want to play, play on your own dime, no taxpayer support for extra curriculars.

How bout we just dont keep score, and everyone plays, and everyones a winner? You like that idea?

please refer to above video. 

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