From “The Coach”
Friday Night Lights vs. lite-weights
High school football is out of control. And I am very disturbed by recent trends. It’s not just the Private schools benefitting from luring (because they refuse to call it recruiting) athletes to their schools, competing at a lower level, all the while bragging about how “rich” their tradition is. Ironic, I know. Step up like Totino did this year and play someone of your own caliber (especially in the post season) before you brag about your success, and god forbid, use it as a selling point in your luring of future athletes. Uh oh, don’t get me started….
Ok, here we go, back to the original point.
Its now the biggest, high budget public schools who are adding more strength to the “Rich get Richer” argument.
The longer I live in the TC Metro area, the more I long for my small town southern Minnesota days where communities competed against each other, have pride in where they were from and celebrate together in individual and team accomplishments at their local schools.
Today in the big city, we have Antonio Ford.
For those who are not familiar with this story, here is a brief summary. After being the star running back as a sophomore and junior at Coon Rapids, Ford has left his team, teammates, coaches and what they have built up in two years at Coon Rapids for his senior year to play at Wayzata.
Where’s the loyalty to friends, coaches, community and youth programs?
Where are the parents teaching valuable life lessons about commitment and relationships?
Did Ford, or probably his parents, think he wouldn’t get noticed at Coon Rapids? C’mon people. If you can play, as Ford certainly showed in the previous two years, you will be seen and will get plenty of offers. Fact.
If it was about winning more, then in the words of Cousin Eddie, “Real nice Antonio. Real Nice.”
What a message to send to those at Coon Rapids who supported you.
I really feel for the Coon Rapids coaches. They have busted their butts to strengthen that program in past few years. And this is how they are thanked.
The players? Well, maybe that’s a different story. And it might just be the underlying problem in this situation. My sources in the Coon Rapids program tell me the players, get this, aren’t mad at Ford! Word is they would even welcome him back to school after the season if he were to show up.
Seriously? I can’t believe that. As a teacher and coach, that is painful to hear.
If that was me? If that was my teammate? I’d be more pissed than a badger stuck in a live trap while a snotty nose kid pokes it with a stick.
And I certainly know that if a two-year star running back for the Waterville Elysian-Morristown Bucs “moved” before his senior year to play at a school like Triton because he felt it was more beneficial to him and his future, that player would never be welcome in that town again. He may not even be safe in his “new home.” Seriously. Every time that kid would turn onto Hwy 13 anywhere between Montgomery and New Richland, alarms would sound all over the WEM community. And you better believe he wouldn’t make it past Sakatah Lake without being stopped by the local Men in Blue and safely escorted back out of town. Maybe not even safely.
What is this saying about our kids and to our kids?
The answer: Get everything you can and remember and thank no one.
And Ford’s former teammates and friends accepting this? Just sad. They either 1.) Don’t care and/or 2.) Agree that it’s ok to shun loyalty and commitment for the betterment of ME. Either way you look at it will suggest many disturbing issues.
Where are the leaders among those kids? Where is the accountability among the kids in that locker room? I know those coaches are pissed and rightfully so, but getting kids to feel what the coaches feel? Not so easy. Trust me.
Yes people, the evil, selfish, “me first, team loyalty last” world of AAU basketball and Showcase baseball is now creeping into the biggest ultimate team sport of them all, the grand daddy of Togetherness and Family, High School Football.
You can have my big city luxuries, my above market value accommodations, my 20 minutes drives to everywhere and all of the convenient “Open All Night” fast food restaurants. I would much rather have that small town loyalty and commitment that is instilled in and strengthens young men and women for life instead of just strengthening their recruiting profile.