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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Having been a high school baseball coach for the last five years seeing this happen to what IMO is a great coach and person really bugs me. Most parents don't even realize what their kids do or act like when they are with their HS buddies. Kids need structure from coaches in their life, this world is getting way too soft. Cant wait until this kids boss one day says he isn't doing his job up to par and that he could lose his position if nothing changes. Go get em then super parent...

Can .

AT

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 Quincy, I would call you out in real life. Your hypocrisy is unnerving. Your tactics are childish at best. I hope you don't reproduce. 

WW, I've re read my post several times and I don't know what the hell you're asking so I'm going to assume you're just drunk or an idiot. 

Ill be shoving off here. 


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KurtR Said:

gst Said:
Thanks allen!

There was a noticeable shortage of emoticons in this discussion. 

guywhofishes Said:
Quincy05 and gst have similar debate stamina!

my "stamina" is legendary!!!

also he is not even near your level of stamina 12 pages that is just a warm up

Hey I don't think I have ever had a 13 pager in one day!

That has GOT to be in the top 5.

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DirtyMike Said:
 Quincy, I would call you out in real life. Your hypocrisy is unnerving. Your tactics are childish at best. I hope you don't reproduce. 

WW, I've re read my post several times and I don't know what the hell you're asking so I'm going to assume you're just drunk or an idiot. 

Ill be shoving off here. 

I was thinking the same thing but was too polite to say it.     Sports good, mmkay

                                                                                                                         

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Ice _Fishing_Pro Said:
 I'm a Shanley grad, and Shanley is a joke. I hope the kid quits an is embarrassed for bringin the text to his parents, just shows he's a coward, an the parent or parents are bigger cowards for goin to the school about their kid not wanting to get better at something. His dad must have sucked at sports to if he didn't wana kick his kids ass for not goin. Straight up pussys in my mind. Makes me wonder what the parents are thinkin when the coach yells at em when they are in season?? Wtf. Wake up. So u can't tell me the parents haven't yelled at or pushed their kid to better himself. This had turned into a joke

Jesus, no wonder the kid/parents haven't come forward.

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DirtyMike Said:
 Quincy, I would call you out in real life. Your hypocrisy is unnerving. Your tactics are childish at best. I hope you don't reproduce. 

The irony is dripping from this post. I hope it doesn't flood your neighborhood. Bye!

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Andyt11 Said:
Having been a high school baseball coach for the last five years seeing this happen to what IMO is a great coach and person really bugs me. Most parents don't even realize what their kids do or act like when they are with their HS buddies. Kids need structure from coaches in their life, this world is getting way too soft. Cant wait until this kids boss one day says he isn't doing his job up to par and that he could lose his position if nothing changes. Go get em then super parent...

Can .

There is a difference between a good strict coach that is respectful and a coach that is just a prick. I fail to see how insulting your high school players during the off season is setting them up for life and a future job. I've yet to have my supervisor publicly insult me for a project I'm not involved in. Guess coaches aren't as needed as people think.

Just makes me wonder why people think respect and toughness are mutually exclusive. You don't have to be an asshole to suddenly not be labeled a "pussy". Allowing kids to have a life outside of sports isn't going to inherently cause your team to lose. I would venture a guess that the off season last year did little to nothing to cause them to win the title, after having a losing record in the season. I'd be curious what the NDHSAA has to say about his text in terms of coaching off season work outs.

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Next time my boss tells me I need to put in a little more time and do some more work is it ok if have my mom call the governor to complain?

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Old Jake Said:
Next time my boss tells me I need to put in a little more time and do some more work is it ok if have my mom call the governor to complain?

  Next time your boss calls you pathetic and threatens you based on something you can't control, feel free to go to HR and file a harassment claim. Though that still isn't equivalent because these kids are far from getting paid for what they do, let alone what they do during the off season. So... if an ex-coworker harasses and threatens you over a project you worked on long ago, feel free to go to his boss and complain.

Had the coach just asked for a little more effort amongst the team, I doubt we would even know about the text.

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Quincy05 Said:

There is a difference between a good strict coach that is respectful and a coach that is just a prick. I fail to see how insulting your high school players during the off season is setting them up for life and a future job. I've yet to have my supervisor publicly insult me for a project I'm not involved in. Guess coaches aren't as needed as people think.

Just makes me wonder why people think respect and toughness are mutually exclusive. You don't have to be an asshole to suddenly not be labeled a "pussy". Allowing kids to have a life outside of sports isn't going to inherently cause your team to lose. I would venture a guess that the off season last year did little to nothing to cause them to win the title, after having a losing record in the season. I'd be curious what the NDHSAA has to say about his text in terms of coaching off season work outs.

You can tell he's a prick from the text? I had coaches that were hard asses when they needed to be. Thank them everyday, kept alot of us out of trouble. Taught alot of us how to work as a team. They taught us more about working together than any HS class.

John Browning=GENIUS
NDA Rocks!

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 A snickers bar and a can of coke?

 Life is tough.....It's even tougher when you are stupid.

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Quincy05 Said:

Ice _Fishing_Pro Said:
 I'm a Shanley grad, and Shanley is a joke. I hope the kid quits an is embarrassed for bringin the text to his parents, just shows he's a coward, an the parent or parents are bigger cowards for goin to the school about their kid not wanting to get better at something. His dad must have sucked at sports to if he didn't wana kick his kids ass for not goin. Straight up pussys in my mind. Makes me wonder what the parents are thinkin when the coach yells at em when they are in season?? Wtf. Wake up. So u can't tell me the parents haven't yelled at or pushed their kid to better himself. This had turned into a joke

Jesus, no wonder the kid/parents haven't come forward.

no kidding, they should have just taken a baseball bat down and clubbed the coach so as to not be called pusses.  WTF is wrong with ex-jocks?   One too many sniffs of Tinactin? 

“Sometimes I wonder whether the world is being run by smart people who are putting us on or by imbeciles who really mean it.” ~ Mark Twain

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huntorride365 Said:

Quincy05 Said:

There is a difference between a good strict coach that is respectful and a coach that is just a prick. I fail to see how insulting your high school players during the off season is setting them up for life and a future job. I've yet to have my supervisor publicly insult me for a project I'm not involved in. Guess coaches aren't as needed as people think.

Just makes me wonder why people think respect and toughness are mutually exclusive. You don't have to be an asshole to suddenly not be labeled a "pussy". Allowing kids to have a life outside of sports isn't going to inherently cause your team to lose. I would venture a guess that the off season last year did little to nothing to cause them to win the title, after having a losing record in the season. I'd be curious what the NDHSAA has to say about his text in terms of coaching off season work outs.

You can tell he's a prick from the text? I had coaches that were hard asses when they needed to be. Thank them everyday, kept alot of us out of trouble. Taught alot of us how to work as a team. They taught us more about working together than any HS class.

From the text and subsequent Facebook message, yes.

I had coaches that were hard asses too and yet they still treated players with respect and didn't complain about coddling parents when they crossed a line (which they  I didn't). I also had coaches that weren't hard asses who taught me far more about life than anything the few prick coaches did. Just because fear is the easiest tool to use, doesn't mean it's the correct one. You can be hard nosed and teach kids to work as a team without being disrespectful and insulting. Especially during off season voluntary work outs.

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Allen Said:

Quincy05 Said:

Ice _Fishing_Pro Said:
 I'm a Shanley grad, and Shanley is a joke. I hope the kid quits an is embarrassed for bringin the text to his parents, just shows he's a coward, an the parent or parents are bigger cowards for goin to the school about their kid not wanting to get better at something. His dad must have sucked at sports to if he didn't wana kick his kids ass for not goin. Straight up pussys in my mind. Makes me wonder what the parents are thinkin when the coach yells at em when they are in season?? Wtf. Wake up. So u can't tell me the parents haven't yelled at or pushed their kid to better himself. This had turned into a joke

Jesus, no wonder the kid/parents haven't come forward.

no kidding, they should have just taken a baseball bat down and clubbed the coach so as to not be called pusses.  WTF is wrong with ex-jocks?   One too many sniffs of Tinactin? 

Damn good question.

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Aren't you an ex-jock Al? 

Allen Said:

Quincy05 Said:

Ice _Fishing_Pro Said:
 I'm a Shanley grad, and Shanley is a joke. I hope the kid quits an is embarrassed for bringin the text to his parents, just shows he's a coward, an the parent or parents are bigger cowards for goin to the school about their kid not wanting to get better at something. His dad must have sucked at sports to if he didn't wana kick his kids ass for not goin. Straight up pussys in my mind. Makes me wonder what the parents are thinkin when the coach yells at em when they are in season?? Wtf. Wake up. So u can't tell me the parents haven't yelled at or pushed their kid to better himself. This had turned into a joke

Jesus, no wonder the kid/parents haven't come forward.

no kidding, they should have just taken a baseball bat down and clubbed the coach so as to not be called pusses.  WTF is wrong with ex-jocks?   One too many sniffs of Tinactin? 

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Surprising there are enough kids that can go to basic any more if this hurt there feelings.  DI's are not very understanding about feelings and such but I guess it is now the world we live in.  Every ones a winner and just trying is good enough

 Adn

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curtikins_bac Said:
Aren't you an ex-jock Al? 

No, there is a hell of a difference between someone who is simply successful at sporting competitions and someone who feels the need to put it on their chest and prance around like some prima donna with a new skirt.

I sure hope you already knew that and were just looking to start an argument. 

“Sometimes I wonder whether the world is being run by smart people who are putting us on or by imbeciles who really mean it.” ~ Mark Twain

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KurtR Said:

Surprising there are enough kids that can go to basic any more if this hurt there feelings.  DI's are not very understanding about feelings and such but I guess it is now the world we live in.  Every ones a winner and just trying is good enough

I think it is painfully obvious that you just don't "get it" when it comes to why people like quincy and I disagree with the tactics of this coach.

I didn't have such an abrasive coach in any sport, and quite honestly didn't need it.  After watching both of my kids tonight and the way they responded to a coach that can command respect without such tactics, I remain even more steadfast in that this kind of crap isn't necessary.  At least, it wasn't for me, and certainly doesn't appear necessary for my kids.

Maybe it was for you, and is for yours.  If so, I have great sympathy for ya.  It just doesn't have to be that way.

Semper Fi

“Sometimes I wonder whether the world is being run by smart people who are putting us on or by imbeciles who really mean it.” ~ Mark Twain

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Quincy05 Said:

Old Jake Said:
Next time my boss tells me I need to put in a little more time and do some more work is it ok if have my mom call the governor to complain?

  Next time your boss calls you pathetic and threatens you based on something you can't control, feel free to go to HR and file a harassment claim. Though that still isn't equivalent because these kids are far from getting paid for what they do, let alone what they do during the off season. So... if an ex-coworker harasses and threatens you over a project you worked on long ago, feel free to go to his boss and complain.

Had the coach just asked for a little more effort amongst the team, I doubt we would even know about the text.

Something I can't control? I don't exactly follow. Are you saying it's ok if I just decided not to show up for work because I don't want to go? Do you have inside information on the situation? You seem to be quite invested? Please give us the rest of the story.

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I bet if someone were to post for every great high school coach that teaches kids the fundamentals and techniques of a sport, work ethic, sportsmanship and love of the game there is at least one ex player that is trying to relive their glory days thru their players and accomplish what they never did that kids tolerate so they can play sports, this thread could make 20!

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 It'll make 20 in a hurry if Quincy05 doesn't shut up.  

gst Said:
I bet if someone were to post for every great high school coach that teaches kids the fundamentals and techniques of a sport, work ethic, sportsmanship and love of the game there is at least one ex player that is trying to relive their glory days thru their players and accomplish what they never did that kids tolerate so they can play sports, this thread could make 20!
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Al, I'm not trying to irritate you.  You have a strong opinion on EVERYTHING and that's great, but something about this topic really got you revved. .  Care to expound?  

Allen Said:

curtikins_bac Said:
Aren't you an ex-jock Al? 

No, there is a hell of a difference between someone who is simply successful at sporting competitions and someone who feels the need to put it on their chest and prance around like some prima donna with a new skirt.

I sure hope you already knew that and were just looking to start an argument. 

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 Based on what has been presented i would say it was handled wrong by the administration but i do put some trust in their decision.  I assume they must have the experience and wisdom to make right decisions.  What they were hire for.
However overall i guess i will side with Alan and Quincy.  So go for it.

I did not take part in sports in high school however i wanted to.  But there was work to do on the farm and that is were my father wanted and needed me and that is were i went after school.
I learn about life, being a part of society, contributing and going beyond just pitching crab and stones on the stone boat from my parents and not a coach.
In fact i was kind proud of how i could put such a big pile of crab on the stone boat.  Proud of the way i made a haystack.  Even proud of the way i did the summer fallow.  Could milk a cow by hand with the best of them.  At times would sit with my father at the end of the day and just look over what we had done for the day.  No words said.
4-h was a big part of my life.  I learn i did not need my father to tell me what needed to be done next as he expected me to know what next to do.
At age 12 i had my drivers license and my first car (52 buick for 50 dollars).  Part of the rewards i got.  Then he bought me a 56 buick, 57 mercury, 58 buick, 65 impala super sport and when i came home from overseas a brand new 68 olds.  Paid for my four years of college.  Did make up for lost time in Fargo from 64-68.  And then i left home. Served my country and have work every day since and been part of every community i, my wife and family have lived in.
Life was good and i never did get to an open gym, prom, class play.  Yes life was good and would not trade it for all the sports.  As that the way it was.  db


Db

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 Kudos db.

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KurtR Said:

Surprising there are enough kids that can go to basic any more if this hurt there feelings.  DI's are not very understanding about feelings and such but I guess it is now the world we live in.  Every ones a winner and just trying is good enough

I get your point kurt, but one is preparing young men to kill someone or try not to get killed themselves and one is teaching a kid how to play ball.

Believe me, my kids would tell you I don't take any whiney ass crap from them when they are expected to do things and commit their time to sports. They know they are not to waste their coaches and team mates time by not putting all their effort into what they do.

I am alright with toughening kids up a bit and having whiney ass parents take a hike.

Had more than one basketball hit me in the back of the head in practice for screwing off back in the day never had a problem with it back then (knew if I did I would get tuned up at home for screwing around)  and I might not have much of a problem with a coach waking up one of my kids with a whack to the helmet if it is deserved and needed.

Nor do I believe everyone should be rewarded equally and that hard work should get you somewhere and be rewarded.

I had a very successful coach (not only in w's and l's but in gaining kids lifelong respect) tell me once you simply can not handle every kid the same. Ages, personalities backgrounds, home life  ect,... all play into it. You can't handle a freshman playing varsity the same way you handle a senior. ect...

Some kids families can not afford them going to "voluntary" practices. (where some kids in our school  live  it is $10 bucks every time the kid drives to town(co op = miles) Some kids are working jobs. Lots of different reasons and circumstances to take into consideration.

I really know nothing about this particular situation and my comments are not directed towards it, more towards experiences watching a few years of high school sports. But when people suggest a coach has to yell and throw things and be a jackass to be "respected" by the kids he coaches, as some have on here, it makes one think abit.

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Db,   you're the man  

Db Said:
 Based on what has been presented i would say it was handled wrong by the administration but i do put some trust in their decision.  I assume they must have the experience and wisdom to make right decisions.  What they were hire for.
However overall i guess i will side with Alan and Quincy.  So go for it.

I did not take part in sports in high school however i wanted to.  But there was work to do on the farm and that is were my father wanted and needed me and that is were i went after school.
I learn about life, being a part of society, contributing and going beyond just pitching crab and stones on the stone boat from my parents and not a coach.
In fact i was kind proud of how i could put such a big pile of crab on the stone boat.  Proud of the way i made a haystack.  Even proud of the way i did the summer fallow.  Could milk a cow by hand with the best of them.  At times would sit with my father at the end of the day and just look over what we had done for the day.  No words said.
4-h was a big part of my life.  I learn i did not need my father to tell me what needed to be done next as he expected me to know what next to do.
At age 12 i had my drivers license and my first car (52 buick for 50 dollars).  Part of the rewards i got.  Then he bought me a 56 buick, 57 mercury, 58 buick, 65 impala super sport and when i came home from overseas a brand new 68 olds.  Paid for my four years of college.  Did make up for lost time in Fargo from 64-68.  And then i left home. Served my country and have work every day since and been part of every community i, my wife and family have lived in.
Life was good and i never did get to an open gym, prom, class play.  Yes life was good and would not trade it for all the sports.  As that the way it was.  db


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 Oh boy. I think I agree with gst. Since that means the world is ending, this thread will never make 20 pages. 

gst Said:

KurtR Said:

Surprising there are enough kids that can go to basic any more if this hurt there feelings.  DI's are not very understanding about feelings and such but I guess it is now the world we live in.  Every ones a winner and just trying is good enough

I get your point kurt, but one is preparing young men to kill someone or try not to get killed themselves and one is teaching a kid how to play ball.

Believe me, my kids would tell you I don't take any whiney ass crap from them when they are expected to do things and commit their time to sports. They know they are not to waste their coaches and team mates time by not putting all their effort into what they do.

I am alright with toughening kids up a bit and having whiney ass parents take a hike.

Had more than one basketball hit me in the back of the head in practice for screwing off back in the day never had a problem with it back then (knew if I did I would get tuned up at home for screwing around)  and I might not have much of a problem with a coach waking up one of my kids with a whack to the helmet if it is deserved and needed.

Nor do I believe everyone should be rewarded equally and that hard work should get you somewhere and be rewarded.

I had a very successful coach (not only in w's and l's but in gaining kids lifelong respect) tell me once you simply can not handle every kid the same. Ages, personalities backgrounds, home life  ect,... all play into it. You can't handle a freshman playing varsity the same way you handle a senior. ect...

Some kids families can not afford them going to "voluntary" practices. (where some kids in our school  live  it is $10 bucks every time the kid drives to town(co op = miles) Some kids are working jobs. Lots of different reasons and circumstances to take into consideration.

I really know nothing about this particular situation and my comments are not directed towards it, more towards experiences watching a few years of high school sports. But when people suggest a coach has to yell and throw things and be a jackass to be "respected" by the kids he coaches, as some have on here, it makes one think abit.


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curtikins_bac Said:
Al, I'm not trying to irritate you.  You have a strong opinion on EVERYTHING and that's great, but something about this topic really got you revved. .  Care to expound?  

No irritation or offense taken. 

I just don't like a-holes.  This coach's text smacks of assholishness.  I would have had great reservations about playing for such a coach (thankfully, I have not).  Similarly, as my kids are now in the sports playing age, I don't look forward to people treating them like Shiite simply because they think it's their God given right/duty as a coach to do so.  If the sport has a Bobby Knight for a coach, my advice would be to go elsewhere or do something else.  Regrettably, with a HS coach, the kids aren't given that choice if they desire to play a particular sport.  So I have a tempered expectation of the level of crap they should have to put up with for recreational athletics.  And in the end, that's the bottom line here...these are recreational sports, not the proving ground for entrance to MLB.

I had pretty good success in multiple sports without being treated like crap by authority figures.  It's just not a necessary tactic if the person knows how to command respect by actions vs. a loud voice.

Oh, and you are right.  I do tend to have a strong opinion on many topics.  There are, however, a pretty good majority of the topics on this site that I have neither the knowledge base, or a strong opinion on, to warrant weighing in on the topic in the manner I have on this one.  In that sense, your observation may be a bit skewed if we have similar interests.  Note, I haven't even read the White Wine topic, nor weighed in on the recent Minot School Bond thread.  Just not my areas.

“Sometimes I wonder whether the world is being run by smart people who are putting us on or by imbeciles who really mean it.” ~ Mark Twain

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 If they can afford to go to shanley they can afford to go to open gym. 

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 It's always a two way street, some people need wake up calls to put in effort, in sure the whole team got the text and the ones who it pertained to knew deep down they've messed up. A coach shouldn't be an asshole but they shouldn't be a best friend either. They should be respected and also respect players. I can see where it pushed buttons but it should, someone needed a fire lit under their ass and he did it. And I'm assuming a parent of a senior wasn't happy Johnny might not play.

Allen Said:

curtikins_bac Said:
Al, I'm not trying to irritate you.  You have a strong opinion on EVERYTHING and that's great, but something about this topic really got you revved. .  Care to expound?  

No irritation or offense taken. 

I just don't like a-holes.  This coach's text smacks of assholishness.  I would have had great reservations about playing for such a coach (thankfully, I have not).  Similarly, as my kids are now in the sports playing age, I don't look forward to people treating them like Shiite simply because they think it's their God given right/duty as a coach to do so.  If the sport has a Bobby Knight for a coach, my advice would be to go elsewhere or do something else.  Regrettably, with a HS coach, the kids aren't given that choice if they desire to play a particular sport.  So I have a tempered expectation of the level of crap they should have to put up with for recreational athletics.  And in the end, that's the bottom line here...these are recreational sports, not the proving ground for entrance to MLB.

I had pretty good success in multiple sports without being treated like crap by authority figures.  It's just not a necessary tactic if the person knows how to command respect by actions vs. a loud voice.

Oh, and you are right.  I do tend to have a strong opinion on many topics.  There are, however, a pretty good majority of the topics on this site that I have neither the knowledge base, or a strong opinion on, to warrant weighing in on the topic in the manner I have on this one.  In that sense, your observation may be a bit skewed if we have similar interests.  Note, I haven't even read the White Wine topic, nor weighed in on the recent Minot School Bond thread.  Just not my areas.

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