This letter is in response to a recent editorial where a writer stated that sports aren't about winning and losing but rather about how you played the game.
The writer felt that all kids on the team should play regardless of their ability. This is my 50th year of high school coaching and would have loved to play everyone on the many teams I've coached but in our society, it just isn't realistic. The simple truth is that the general public wants a winner and a coach must put his best players in the game. A coach that doesn't play to win, isn't around very long.
Yes, it's cruel but true. However, that's just the way it is.
I have coached girls' softball for 30 years of which time we went to the state tournament nine times.
Proof of the fact that people want a winner is that we saw fans there that only lived two blocks from the ball park back home and never came to see us play, yet, they traveled 250 miles to see us play at state. I, also, have seen a lot of tears of girls sitting on the bench. Whenever possible we tried our best to get them in the game.
Another example of sport fans wanting their team to win is in our junior high programs. We have a philosophy in Junior High athletics that all players must play equal time.
Yet, when our coaches abide by this policy, the parents of the better athletes get angry with our coaching staff. The classic statement of those parents is "We could have won that game if you hadn't let all those kids play that are never going to amount to anything anyway."
It is simply a case of you're darned if you do and you're darned if you don't.
In summary, years ago many schools had the money to run both an intermural sports program and a competitive high school program.
In the intermural program the kids could play without concern of winning or losing. It was more social than athletic.
However, if they wanted the challenge of competing against other schools, they had the opportunity to try out for the varsity.
Unfortunately, schools now don't have the finances to offer all the programs they'd like to have. As a result of the many budget cuts, we can no longer meet all the individual needs of our young people both in the classroom and extra-curricular activities.