The current cover story for the summer issue of a national magazine for coaches and athletic directors tries to make “The Case for Cuts.” The author, from a private school in New England, fails the task.
He argues, for example, that cutting kids can be beneficial because athletes who sit the bench build resentment and that “keeping kids can lose kids.” Not true for good coaches.
He flippantly says that other opportunities are available to kids who get cut. Not true in most places.
The calling of a coach in school-sponsored sports is not to make things easy for himself or herself and to make it hard for kids to find healthy peer groups. The calling of a coach of educational athletics is to reach, engage and motivate as many students as possible in learning life lessons and developing interests and skills for physical activity that will last a lifetime.
School sports is not “The Apprentice” where kids get fired for a poor tryout. School sports is more often a safety net to help young people get fired up for school and life.
Every student we can keep engaged in school sports is a future advocate for school sports, as are these student-athletes’ parents.
Every kid we cut, and his/her parents, will more likely become our critics. If the school sports program has no time for me, or for my son or daughter, then I’ll have no time for it – no time to attend events or volunteer, much less the inclination to donate funds or vote for tax increases.
Coaches who cut teams for their convenience today cut the connection with people who most want to be involved. As much as anything, this threatens the future of school-sponsored sports.
Occasionally, facility limitations may require great creativity or, as a last resort, cutting; but almost always for outdoor sports and generally for indoor sports, cutting is an avoidable curse – one that should be exorcised from educational athletics.