Letter to the Editor

School sports: go Tornadoes

Monday, August 29, 2016

At coffee this last week we got to talking about school starting and how football practice had started already. At the football meeting for parents this year the coach said the numbers were down for players for the Storm Lake High School. While discussing what could cause this, Becky spoke up about her son, he used to play football and then one day he just stopped. Becky asked him over and over if something had happened as he had played football since he was in the third grade. She used to watch from the kitchen window and watch him throw the ball with the neighborhood kids, always looking for that touchdown. Now that it is football season again, it reminded Becky of a letter she had read, years after her son had graduated from school.

He had written for an English class and the subject was "Name one thing that influenced your life for either good or bad." He wrote about his experiences in sports and how it affected him leaving a sport he had loved for years. He stated that he had some good coaches and some bad. The good coaches encouraged him to keep working hard and praised him constantly. This gave him motivation to always be at practice on time and he looked forward to the drills, he was part of a team. He stated that "these coaches had a desire to teach, and I had a desire to learn through every good and bad thing that happened throughout the many seasons. He thanked the coaches that coached and supported him through the years.

He also wrote about the bad coaches. This included the "coaches that focused on favorites instead of the good of the entire team." For the bad coaches, no matter how hard he worked it would never be good enough for them and they would take insults too far on the court and in the classroom. These are the coaches that killed his passion for the love of football.

I had coaches that killed my passion and love for the game of basketball.

When a passion dies, it is quite possibly the most heartbreaking thing ever. A desire you once had to play every second of the day is gone; it turns into dreading every practice and game. It turns into leaving every game with earphones in so other parents don't talk to you about it. And dreading school the next day due to everyone talking about the previous game. I wished I had said to this coach, "Making me feel bad about myself doesn't make me want to play and work hard for you, whether in the classroom or on the court. Telling me 'hard work always pays off' and not keeping that word doesn't make me want to work hard either. The way you made me feel about myself and my ability to play ball made me hate myself; not only did you make me doubt my ability to play, you turned my teammates against me to where they didn't trust my ability as well. You can have winning records without a good coach if you have a good team, but you won't have a team if you can't treat players with the respect they deserve.

I feel that we have outstanding coaches this year for every grade level and I want to encourage parents to encourage their sons to participate in football. They learn about teamwork, character building and many more positive attributes that will stay with them throughout their lives. If you have a son who has talked about going out for football or any sport for Storm Lake, push them to make a choice they will never regret. Go Tornadoes.