The Life of JaWS

A blog by Jason Sansbury

Saturday, April 15, 2006

High School Coaches

(Here is a letter I wrote to the local school board and Superintendent following an ugly incident on Friday night.)

Dear members of the Coweta County Board of Education and Superintendent Bass,
I am writing to you as a concerned citizen. In my work with young people, I am weekly on the campuses of your middle and high schools all across the county, being a fan at games, plays, concerts and the many, many activities that you provide for young people in our county at the middle and high school level. I am greatly impressed with the quality of leadership and dedication that most your staff provides.

However, I am writing today because of an incident that happened at Fayette County High School on Friday, April 14, 2006, following a game between East Coweta's male soccer team and the same team from Fayette County. Following East Coweta's win in a hard fought game, and the team having delayed the traditional shaking of hands by taking a "victory lap," the lack of sportsmanship was heightened when a "community" coach threatened violence on members of the Fayette County soccer team as well as the coaching staff on the other team. It took several students, other adults and the head coach to calm the man involved and even then, he proceeded to use vulgar gestures at the other team, while taunting them and trying to instigate physical violence.

Athletics teaches our young women and men many valuable lessons about character, integrity, hard work and discipline. For the most part, I have seen those ideals in the sporting events I have witnessed over the last 4 and half years I have been in Coweta County. But this incident was unacceptable. It demonstrated a complete lack of class, dignity and character that we need to expect from mentors of our young people. When students, 14-18 year old young men, are trying to restrain a grown adult male in an incident, there is a serious, serious issue, not to mention liability.

I write to ask for you to inquire into the incident. The rumor floating around is that the community coach was insulted by a Fayette County player, possibly even spat on; even if that is the case, he should have approached the opposing coaches with dignity and asked for their intervention in the situation and sought resolution that way. Regardless, giving people "the finger", screaming at opposing coaches and players and ripping off one's shirt is exactly the kind of example we don't need to put before our young men.

Secondarily, I ask that you consider the qualifications and expectations of these "community" coaches. I wish I could email the community coach directly, however, there is no system of accountability; East Coweta High's website lists only the head coach involved. We need men and women who are examples of character, class and dignity, both in victories and defeats. We should never have to walk away from the fields of our schools and schools we visit ashamed of the actions of our coaching staffs, the players or the fans of any Coweta County school. Unfortunately, on Friday night, that wasn't the case.


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