This has been one of the most bizarre sports seasons we have seen in some time, and I’m not just talking about the weather.
I just don’t understand what is going on, as some coaches are reporting that they have “nothing to report”, “no games played this week, but hey, thanks for checking in”, they say. Yet, and perhaps unbeknownst to them, we know for a fact that they played because their opponent on that given day is one from one of our other coverage areas. We have the score sheets to prove it, so why the denial?
I guess the bigger question we have been asking ourselves over the past week, is, why in the world would a high school coach try to hide the fact that his/her team had played? It’s mindboggling, and disturbing, on so many levels.
The feedback we are getting back from the coaches when pressed is just plain unbelievable and mirrors that of high school kids trying to hide the fact that they didn’t finish their homework. We’ve heard it all over the past couple of weeks, and collectively, this sports department is quite frankly frustrated and perplexed.
Parents are angry, saying we are not doing a good job covering the teams, and maybe, we might want to call the school. “It’s your job after all,” many have chided us in emails and voicemails.
Trust me, folks. The coaches get upwards of half a dozen phone calls and/or emails from us each week. What we are getting from some as responses just makes us shake our heads in disbelief.
Here’s the larger problem, though. We’ve reached the halfway point of the season and no one can say that they are new at this point or don’t know how to report scores. The information we are giving out verbally, in print and in emails should now be playing like a moldy old record in their heads.
And, for those angry parents, all of our varsity coaches get a phone call and/or e-mail reminder after every game, unless they specify they will fax, call or email the results in after each competition. At least one third of those reminders have gone unanswered this season.
That’s just not acceptable to us, because the kids are spending upwards of four to five hours on a playing field each afternoon giving it their all, and to have that all diminished and dismissed is just wrong, especially just because they might have lost. Half of the teams are going to lose on any given day, and that’s just part of the learning experience at the varsity level. It’s not supposed to be a disgrace that a team lost, rather an opportunity for every coach to comment on what went right, or what went wrong, in that particular game. Our job is to salute the kids’ efforts, knowing that losing isn’t always easy.
And, yes, perhaps seeing those results in black and white isn’t always comfortable, either, with one baseball game ending 34-2 in the required three innings this past week. That one WAS called in. Leaving out those important details, or the game entirely because someone is upset about the outcome just isn’t fair to the kids.
While I’m sharing our concerns, the schools sometimes do a disservice, too, intentional or not. We all know lack of facilities in some instances puts the softball and baseball teams in different counties on any given day, basketball, too, in the winter. That also makes not just their parents have to choose, but we also have to chose which games to cover because it’s impossible to be in White Lake and Grand Blanc, Capac and Almont, Flint and Lapeer at the same time. Someone gets shortchanged every day when the teams play at opposing sites. Perhaps that’s food for thought for upcoming scheduling sessions? We faced that situation again for at least six different games this week.
What’s most important, though, is that people don’t diminish what these kids are doing every week. I have a feeling they aren’t the ones embarrassed by the outcome of their games, but they are probably pretty upset they aren’t getting the coverage they thought they deserved for sticking it out until the very end. I know their parents certainly are, based on the calls and emails I’ve been getting. What they are doing every week certainly is not insignificant to us.