Your Kid’s Not Going Pro

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Posts Tagged ‘Michigan

Middle school cracks down on football players who don’t respect sanctity of dead squirrels

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Now if I found out my son was messing with a dead squirrel, once I was assured he wasn’t having sex with it, I would bring him to the doctor for whatever shots you get for messing with a dead squirrel. However, I would be a bit shocked if messing with a dead squirrel led to his dismissal from his favorite extracurricular activity (that didn’t involve messing with a dead squirrel).

North Branch (Mich.) Middle School, however, countenances no messing with a dead squirrel. From NBC25 in Clio, Mich. (outside of Flint, if you must know):

It all started last week.  Fourteen year old Gabe Wells says he and his teammates were walking back to the school building after football practice.  He saw a dead squirrel in the parking lot that he says had been there for some time.

“I told my coach, ‘Hey, my mom made you dinner,’” says Gabe.

He says his coach laughed and continued on his way.  Gabe says he and his team mates kept joking.

Gabe says he saw a Subway bag, tied it around the coach’s “dinner”, then used it to tie the squirrel to a nearby tree.  He then picked a cigarette butt up off the ground and put it in the squirrel’s mouth, saying, “That is what happens when you smoke, you die.”

That night he even made a post on facebook about it, telling facebook friends he wanted to send the message out, don’t smoke.  He even picked on his father for being a smoker.

The next day Gabe says he got a surprise, when the principal called him down to the office.  He says he spent most of the there, missing class and lunch, after being told he was in trouble for his incident with the squirrel.

The principal accused Gabe of gross misconduct, no pun intended. Gabe’s mother told NBC25 that she was told her son could be suspended from the team for this year, and next year, be suspended from school, and charged with animal abuse. You’d think Gabe had had sex with a live squirrel, for all the outrage. Does PETA protest for abuses to animals previously killed by natural causes and/or when they were run over in the parking lot?

Gabe’s parents knew what to do: alert the media. Gabe’s father dialed up Clio, Mich., and got NBC25 on the phone, and on the case.

NBC25 called the superintendent’s office.  Superintendent Tom English said he knew a dead squirrel had been tied in a tree, an inappropriate incident that other students had to witness, but he was not completely aware of the resulting discipline.

He called back a short time later and said the school had decided all ten students at first believed to be involved would not be in trouble.  Only four of them would face consequences for their actions with the squirrel, including Gabe Wells. They would not be suspended or face charges, but they would be missing the last football game of the season.

Justice is served. And so, apparently if Gabe is around, is squirrel.

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Written by rkcookjr

October 25, 2010 at 10:07 pm

Parents search for dislike button after coach’s Facebook rants

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Fellow coaches: I know we all have complaints from time to time about the parents of the children we lead. Complaints like, they’re fucking asshole making our lives hellish and shorter, and filling us with existential dread as we watch their poor offspring take their first steps toward a future appearance on Dr. Phil.

But, shit, most of us are smart enough to limit our complaints to ourselves, our spouses, or our little-read blogs. Most of us are smart enough not to jump onto whatever social media site is handing to broadcast our pain.

Jason Windsor, recently resigned soccer coach at Royal Oak (Mich.), is not most of us. From the Royal Oak Tribune:

Just a few weeks into the season, Jason Windsor suddenly resigned his position as varsity soccer coach at Royal Oak High School following complaints by parents about his Facebook postings.

Windsor resigned Monday [Oct. 4] because of schedule conflicts [he coaches other travel teams], according to Superintendent Thomas Moline. However, a copy of the coach’s Facebook page indicates there was a conflict between him and some parents, too.

Last week parents confronted school officials about the coach using the social networking site to threaten to penalize players if parents crossed him. Windsor contends his account was hacked and he didn’t make the comments in question.

One Facebook posting said: “3 words my varsity soccer parents will get used to this week. BENCH, JV, CUT. You will all be taught a lesson you sh– stirring pri—!!!!!!!”

In other posts, he is accused of dropping F-bombs and wrote “(certain) Parents are the worst part of kid’s sports” and “great set of results on the field today! shame certain soccer moms make soccer so negative.”

I presume WIndsor, or that mysterious band of hackers, didn’t type hyphens to play what Sports Illustrated’s Steve Rushin once referred to as “obscene hangman.”

Written by rkcookjr

October 6, 2010 at 11:22 pm

High school football team solves Ramadan, heatstroke problem in one fell swoop

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The football team at Dearborn (Mich.) Fordson High School reflects the population of its student body, in that both are heavily of the Arabic persuasion.

The challenge for the football team comes when Ramadan, a holy month in Islam whose most prominent feature is the requirement that Muslims refrain from eating and drinking in daylight hours. Dearborn Fordson has learned from past experience that when Ramadan falls during football season, not eating and drinking, intended to bulk up the spiritual strength of the players, tends to sap their physical strength. Plus, players refusing water during hot August practices can be a tad dangerous.

So the Tractors, as they are called, came up with a way to solve the conflict between two religions (Islam and football), prevent heat exhaustion AND give their players a legitimate excuse for breaking curfew. From the Press & Guide Newspapers in Dearborn:

Fordson coach Fouad Zaban said the plan was to work from midnight until about 5 a.m. during the preseason, which this season falls during the period of Ramadan fasting.

“We’ve always had to practice and do some work while most of the kids were fasting and we’ve done what we can to adjust everyone’s schedule,” said Zaban, “but this is the first time we’ve had the opportunity to really do something about it.

“School hasn’t started yet and we don’t have a game for three more weeks, so we can change our schedule around and now we won’t have players running around out there when it’s 90 degrees and they can’t get a drink of water.

“It’s a safety issue, but we think it’s going to be fun, too.”

On top of that, the players will get to spend their fasting time the easiest way possible: sleeping.

Actually, having midnight practices might not be a bad idea for the non-Muslim football population as well, at least as a way to beat the heat. Already this summer, there have been reports out of Atlanta, Kansas City, Rowan County, Ky., of high school football players being taken to hospitals because of heat exhaustion. In the Louisville area — where one Jason Stinson was tried but acquitted after one of his players died during a hot practice — one Christian high school is starting before sunrise.

And its training table isn’t even halal.

Written by rkcookjr

August 11, 2010 at 10:46 pm

Assistant soccer coach pulls gun on complaining parent

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If you’re ever coached youth sports and dealt with what you felt were unreasonable parent complaints, you might have thought, “Wouldn’t it great if I could pull out a big-ass gun and tell those whiny parents to shut up?”

“Now, ask me again about your son’s playing time.”

Like most questions that begin, “Wouldn’t it be great if…,” the answer is, “No.”

Just ask Fruitport Soccer Club assistant coach James Sherrill, arrested after a game May 15. From WOOD-TV in Grand Rapids, Mich.:

Police said several parents confronted James Sherill on the field after witnessing the coach yelling and swearing at the boys, ages 8-10, that were playing the game.

After the initial confrontation was broken up, it continued after another parent approached Sherill as he was leaving.

That is when police said Sherill pulled a concealed 9mm handgun from its holster. “He said, ‘If you don’t back off I’m gonna shoot you,'” said Fruitport Public Safety Department Chief Paul Smutz.

Police said Sherill then drove himself to the police department to report what happened. He was then arrested for felonious assault.

Hey, at least when he pulled out the gun, Sherrill didn’t swear.

It’s possible Sherrill — who the soccer organization said was not a “rostered coach” (no indication whether he is a parent of a player, or a buddy of the head coach helping out for the day) — could face less punishment than you’d think. He had the gun registered, and it’s unclear whether Michigan’s law banning guns from sports arenas and stadiums applies to parks where youth games are played. Of course, there is the matter of pointing the gun at someone, which is probably not legal anywhere in Michigan, unless the parent confronting him was a deer, and it was in-season.

Another note on this story that might interesting only me, as a person who spent part of his childhood in the Muskegon, Mich., area, where Fruitport is located: Do kids from other towns still call it Fartport?

Written by rkcookjr

May 17, 2010 at 12:47 pm

School sports has a sugar daddy (or mama) in Michigan

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[youtubevid id=”1r42Abu_IF8″]

Michael Jackson singing about how he wants to be your sugar daddy — gives you a little shudder, doesn’t it?

The Hastings, Mich., schools, like a lot of districts, require athletes to pay a fee in order to participate in sports. Except that in the three years the fee has been in place, only one person has actually paid it — an anonymous donor. Here’s how it works, from WOOD-TV in Grand Rapids:

For the third straight year, an anonymous donor covered all the costs for middle- and high school students to play athletics next year, writing a $68,802 check.

The amount is set on a projection of how many kids will play sports, and the costs associated with each.

The school system refuses to give up the name of the donor. I could make baseless speculation based on the famous people or industry titans that come from Hastings, except there aren’t any. So I won’t.

Written by rkcookjr

February 19, 2010 at 3:09 pm

Ref executes throat hold on high school wrestler

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You don’t misbehave on Erich Schifter’s mat!

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According to the Tecumseh (Mich.) Herald, which shot the above video, during a Jan. 23 meet Schifter went all ape-schift on Tecumseh High’s Tim Elkins, pushing him by the throat, for the sin of going back after his opponent after Schifter had whistled them out of bounds. The video doesn’t start until the throat-push, and the story also doesn’t make clear whether Elkins was going all ape-schift himself on the other wrestler, or whether he merely was unaware he needed to wait for Schifter to reposition him on the mat before resuming wrestling.

The school can file a complaint if it wishes with the Michigan High School Athletic Association for Schifter getting all Bob Knight-Neil Reed on its wrestler. No word yet on if it is planning to do so. For what it’s worth, Schifter has more than 30 years’ experience officiating wrestling for the MHSAA. At the least, Schifter should get some sort of reprimand. I understand he wanted to separate the wrestlers, but a little hand to the chest could have accomplished that. Plus, what is with him yelling that this is “my mat!” Did he pay for it? I think not.

By the way, the best part of the Tecumseh Herald video is not the actual throat push, but the slo-mo version the paper included, complete with slowed-down, James Earl Jones-on-ludes voices like a Saturday Night Live parody of a suspense movie: “Thhhhhhhaaaaaaaaasssssss myyyyyyyyyyyy maaaaaaaaaattttttttt!!!!”

(Hat tip to sportsjournalists.com.)

Written by rkcookjr

January 29, 2010 at 1:41 pm

Charlie Weis: your youth coaching anti-role model

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Notre Dame Weis FootballI could do this piece about any of the arrogant incompetents who have fallen on their heads out of the Bill Belichick coaching tree (Mangenius, anyone?). But given the epic way Notre Dame football coach snatched defeat out of the jaws of victory thanks to his decision-making, Charlie Weis becomes the A-1 exhibit of how not to coach.

Weis is an abject lesson that no matter what level you coach, the moment you put the need to show off your genius before the needs of helping your team, you and your team are both sunk.

Today was but one example: leading 34-31 at Michigan with 2:29 to go, Notre Dame has the ball on its own 29-yard line. A first-down run had just gotten stuffed, though the previous run gained a first down. Anyway, Michigan calls time out. You’re in serious time-killing mode here if you’re Notre Dame. Worst-case scenario (other than a fumble), is two runs that get stuffed, two more timeouts called by Michigan, and the Wolverines have to drive without benefit of a time out. Best-case scenario is you pick up another first down and run out the clock.

Instead, Weis has to show what a genius he is, and calls (note — he took over offensive play-calling this year) a long pass down the sideline. Yes, Notre Dame’s passing game had worked well, and if the pass is complete the game is as good as done. But the running game had average more than 5 yards per rush. You have the lead, and you’re trying to kill the clock, not win the game. So the pass is incomplete, and Weis, now on 3rd-and-10, calls another long pass. Michigan gets the ball back at its own 42 on a punt, with 2:13 to go, and two timeouts. Michigan scores the game-winning touchdown with 11 seconds left — 11 seconds it would not have had if Notre Dame at least had run the ball twice and forced the Wolverines to take two time outs.

The reason why that sequence, as the one that will probably get Weis fired at year’s end at Notre Dame, is such an example of how not to coach goes beyond whether Notre Dame won or lost. Instead working with his team to put it in a position to do its best, Weis’ ego took over. He figured he was genius enough to come up with the play that would get him backslaps from all over about how smart he is. Now, he’s looking very, very dumb.

What does this mean for a youth coach? The lesson, as always, is that you as a coach are not the supposed to be the reason your team wins or loses, or why your players succeed or don’t. Your job as a coach is to teach your players the best you know how, and put them in the best position to succeed.

Certainly, when you’re coaching the girls’ fourth-grade basketball team the issues are different than when you’re coaching Notre Dame football. But the point is that you shouldn’t coach in a way that puts the spotlight on you. Success is not a group of parents giving you a backslap because you’re such a great tactician. You know you’re doing a great job when everyone is happy, and no one is sending you nasty emails about what an asshole you are.

Written by rkcookjr

September 12, 2009 at 10:38 pm