Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Follow up letter to Directors

We wanted to send each of you a sincere thank you, albeit belatedly, for taking the time out from your busy schedules to meet with us regarding our “Every Player, Every Game” idea. We think that the meeting proved to be very productive, as each of us gained insight to the others’ perspectives. It also confirmed for us how fortunate we are to live in a School District, where the administration truly cares about the quality of each child’s school and sports experience.

There are still, however, a few areas of concern. The point was made at the meeting that varsity sports were the equivalent of “AP Phys Ed”. We can appreciate the advanced nature of each sport and level of competition at the varsity level. But to complete the analogy, every AP student in any AP class gets to participate in the labs or tests. No one is asked to sit out of a particular chemistry or physics lab because the concept being illustrated might be beyond their skill level. The elite musical ensembles offered at schools allow each band member to play each piece. Not every player expects to get a solo, however. The same should be true of sports.

As for the surveys conducted in past years at the end of each sport’s season, the survey identified the problem perfectly: the team members that get to play, love the sports program. Team members that don’t play, are dissatisfied. We couldn't have said it better ourselves. It’s not that the surveys were uninformative, on the contrary, they were dead on. What needs to happen next is to find ways to improve the satisfaction level of those on the lower end of the survey spectrum. It is exactly this problem that led us to developing the “Every Player, Every Game” concept. More playing time would be an obvious solution to those that are disgruntled with the current system. Another positive step would be the student/team-captain board to which we alluded at the meeting. Removing, or at least distancing, the coaches from the “complaint department manager” function would certainly be well received by the coaches. Players and parents would also appreciate the elimination of the emotional and confrontational nature of voicing suggestions, opinions or complaints directly to the coaches.

With open dialogue, open minds, and a willingness to keep each student’s success at school and in sports as a primary goal, we feel confident that these issues will be fully addressed and overcome.It was a pleasure meeting and working with each of you, and we look forward to assisting in any way possible to achieve this worthy goal.

Meeting with the administrators

We did have a meeting with the Superintendent of Schools, the Assistant to the Superintendent, and the Athletic Director. Everyone expressed their ideas and concerns regarding the Every Player, Every Game concept and the current status of high school sports.

Areas of concern included how this might be implemented in sports such as golf, tennis, or track. The expectations of parents and the community to provide a "winning" program. And the pressure each coach faces to meet these expectations. How varsity sports were deemed to be the competetive level of sports while JV and Freshman sports are instructional.

It was highlighted that the NYSPHAA Code of Ethics makes no mention that schools are required to provide a winning program nor to make Varsity sports a highly competitive program.

The discussion lasted for about 45 minutes and concluded with some ideas that the Athletic Director will be introducing next year. All agreed that the meeting was very beneficial and that all parties are interested in making the athletic program the very best, a well rounded and rewarding experience.