Thursday, October 31, 2013

Coach's notes: Playing field is uneven

“I've missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I've lost almost 300 games. 26 times I've been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I've failed over and over and over again in my life and that is why I succeed.” --Michael Jordan

Today is the first day of freshman basketball tryouts. I wish they let me keep all the kids who try out for the team. I hate cutting kids. But CPS has sliced our sports budget so thin. They are threatening to cut freshman sports altogether and last year our kids got pushed out of the frosh league tournament when they cut it down to only four teams.

We only have uniforms for a dozen players and the ones we have are old. Coaches do the team laundry at home and often come out of pocket for kids who can't afford shoes. I will have to raise $380 so we can play in the Christmas Tournament at Whitney Young.

It's especially depressing when our kids take the bus out to play the wealthy suburban schools and see the kind of facilities and opportunities they offer -- massive and well-equipped sports complexes with multiple practice gyms, nice uniforms and sweats, matching shoes, trainers and training tables, video rooms, and big coaching staffs. I admit I try and use the obvious unfairness to motivate our players. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. Probably a good meal in their bellies that morning would help a lot more. Of course it's not the other kid's fault they were born into privilege and along with teaching basketball skills, I'm mainly trying to teach sportsmanship and respect for the other team's athletes as well as self-respect. But it would be a lot easier if the playing field were level.

I love the game of basketball and want to make it as fun and rewarding an experience for our student/athletes as it has been for me. They have enough things in their young lives to be angry about.

Should be an interesting day.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Agree? Disagree? Let me hear from you.