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April 16, 2008



wow, 7 days and 90,000 people and thats all youve got? excuse me while i hit the snooze button

To The New Athletic Director

You have to evaluate what the heck is going on in your SHS department, especially softball.

"By age 13, a third of all youth athletes quit organized sports because they’re no longer having fun. According to Philadelphia-based sports psychologist Joel Fish, the intensity many parents bring to youth sports is a buzz-kill for kids expected to live up to extreme expectations, or live through parental tirades directed at them, their coaches, their teamates or officials working the match."

"When the team loses, instead of accepting that their own kid stunk it up, some parents get angry and blame others—the coach, referee, other players, Fish said. Parents complain about playing time and position for their child, or that the coach chose the wrong players for each position. They’ll gripe, “Why didn’t the pitcher execute right?” Feinswog’s answer to all of it: “Because they’re kids! And it’s okay for kids to screw up.”

“They (parents) seem to forget the reason they’re successful as adults is because of the failures and obstacles they’ve overcome. Everyone has failed a class, been fired from a job, didn’t make the team, didn’t make the cut. And we’re all better for it. It’s mind-boggling that this lesson is lost on so many parents—that it’s okay for their kids to lose.”

“Parents want to protect their kid from failing,” Woodruff says. “They want to control and manipulate what’s going on in the field. It doesn’t make them a bad parent—but in the middle of a game, the kid has a hard time reacting to this.”

"When things aren’t going well for a team, you see more of them, he says. “Everyone practices the blame game; Coaches blaming players or teamates blaming each other. Parents telling their kids that so and so shouldn't even be playing and that's why they lost. It's unbelievable that a parent would tell their child that another child doesn't belong on the team. It is really sick. Then you have coaches that let their kids on the team do the dirty work by having certain teamates try to discourage other kids from playing!"

For some parents, the high-stakes pressure of their children’s performance causes them to come unglued. It may be the money and time invested in a child’s athletics, or the heavy weight of future dreams.

“We’re seeing parents get enraged at any call deemed to be unfair against their team because it could impact a chance to get a high rank to qualify for the big tournaments and compete for that college scholarship, it's disgusting."

Sometimes the parent feels pressure not related to sports at all.

“It’s not coincidental that problems from parents at a youth sporting event come along at the same time that there might be problems at home—turmoil over a parental illness, job loss or job stress, the youngster having trouble at school."

Parents discuss their kids’ performance to others as if it is a direct reflection on them as parents or as people, to the point where the ‘one-upmanship’ gets really tiresome. I’m not sure this is a new phenomenon, but it seems as if people are more obsessed with it these days than ever before—what colleges their kids go to, what travel or all-star teams their kids play on, it's really a shame.

Not sure what are you doing about it? Are you involved in youth sports in the city? Do you have a leadership position? Have you written a clear mission statement to direct that youth league? Easy to point fingers and shake your head...but can you make it better?

I agree, there are problems in youth sports in Somerville but contrary to popular belief, I don't think it's the people involved...I think it's the people not involved...

To Not Sure

I have been involved on and off for the past 30 years in youth sports in this city.

If you are familiar with youth sports in this city, especially at the high school level, then you would know how political these programs are.

Have I tried to make a difference? Your damn right I have. But after banging your head against a cement wall many times you realize that only a certain few make all the decisions regarding youthe sports, starting at a very young age all the ways to the high school level.

It's all about who you know not what you know.

Not sure

Well, that's disturbing. I'm a native and I've seen lots of negative things about little league over the years, not too much of anything about pop warner, good and bad about boys basketball and hockey, all good things about girl's basketball and youth soccer.

That's just my impression but it seems like a mixed bag. Also at the high school, track and field along with the basketball programs get good press coverage, while some other sports get negative or no coverage at all.

So let's get back to your first post and your primary complaint. Is it the AD at the high school that needs attention? She's new right? Many of us knew JK for many years...but this woman who's now the AD I don't know...what should she do? Maybe form a committee of concerned youth coaches or something to receive input and new ideas? What can you suggest that we could, as a community, get behind?

The New Athletic Director

I am left speechless that this new AD had a very large part of getting rid of a great boys basketball coach in Paul Garrity. How can you get rid of someone who does nothing but win? You don't make change for the sake of making change. This AD came from Wheelock College! That's like going from Somerville High to Boston College. She doesn't have a clue to what Somerville Sports is all about, it is not about sitting around a camp fire and singing touchy feeling songs.

What is she going to do about the dismal Softball Teams? They are horrible and will remain horrible as long as she hires people like her buddy Fannie, who has no experience coaching at any level. The rest of the coaches belong in a wax museum.

What about the Football Program? God forbid she toys with Mayor Joes little pastime. He prances around like the head coach (which of course he is) but you can bet she won't touch that program with a ten foot pole.

Where is she going to get a new hockey coach. I'm sure there are hundreds of Pee Wee coaches lining up for that job.

Her ax is sharp and if you don't know how to sing kumbuya you better watch out!

She would have been horrified during the Tech Tourney days!!


Hockey coach? Is Mike Bertoni moving on already?

Dismal softball teams? The one that just clinched a berth in the state tournament?

Are you paying attention?

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