The Railroad Out of Town

6 09 2008

By John Leon

Railroaded. We’ve all heard the phrase and it’s in full swing. This time two more locals have gotten the bums rush out of their respective towns. One by a coach and a coach by the parents. It just never ceases to amaze me how dumb humans can be, and after all this time, I know it really shouldn’t, but it does. Especially when the athletes are involved and we all know how I feel about that (see “Parents and Unrealistic Expectations; January 20, 2007”)
In just a few days, a local football star was told by the institution that he wanted to play for, that his services were no longer needed. This institution heavily recruited this kid, but the coach who recruited him was forced to resign. The official reason was that he retired but that’s crap and we all know it. I think it’s pretty funny when you see that the student/athlete graduated with a 3.0, scored well on his SAT’s, and even enrolled during the summer so he could get a jump on classes for his freshman year. AND was practicing with the football team, in full expectation of playing for this major Division 1 school.
That all went by the wayside when the new coach took over and felt that a player that he recruited at his former school deserved the scholarship more than our local guy. So they said that he fell ½ credit short of qualifying in the NCAA Clearinghouse. How is that even remotely possible? Politics my friends, and it’s just not about presidential politics either. Granted, this athlete WILL play next season at a D-1 school, so how is he not eligible now? The coach didn’t want him and railroaded him out of the school, thereby making him look as though he couldn’t cut it. Nice huh?
Our 2nd case involves a long time high school coach who was told last week that his contract was not going to renewed after 6 years at the helm. His crime? Officially, it’s because he had a “My Space” page, and who doesn’t have that or a blog of some kind anymore? It’s the way of the future and how people stay in contact with each other, especially when you coach high school athletes. “Inappropriate pictures on the site,” was the culprit and just like that his coaching career is done. The only thing inappropriate was the way his dismissal was handled and there was in no way anything inappropriate on there, I’ve seen it.
Unofficially, he was railroaded out of town by the tried and true formula of the parents. Yes, once again, parents rule who plays and who goes, and when little Janey/Johnny doesn’t play over someone CLEARLY better than them, the parents raise havoc, going to the Principal, Athletic Director and finally, the President of the school to get the desired results. Thus was the case this time, and oh by the way, the athlete in question was the coach’s daughter who would have been an incoming freshman AND would have made his team better than it already was. This was a playoff team with championship aspirations, but no longer. The daughter has enrolled at another school and the school has posted the job…ON THEIR OWN WEB SITE but not the local newspapers.
Why would that be? Covering up something dirty and distasteful, like your own self-righteousness? Look in the mirror and ask how the team and school, will be better without this person, and then you better be able to trade up. Good Luck with that.
So there you have it. The railroad has made it’s stops in the South Jersey region again, and just like before, the stop it made left a foul smelling odor, reminding us again that all is not fair in Love, War and High School/College athletics.
Feel bad for the kids, but don’t feel bad for the coaches and parents that caused the carnage. Pity them instead, but it still stinks.




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