Friday, October 19, 2007

Friday HS Sports Rant

I'm working my way back to Hurricanes hockey, but I've just been busier than a one-armed paper hanger the last few weeks. I've got two kids playing HS sports at different schools right now. Every evening extends to at least 7pm-game nights, we go until 9 pm or later. Last night, I was at the JV football game 130 miles north in Fountain Hills (northeast of Phoenix) while my wife was 30 miles south of Tucson at the volleyball game in Nogales.

Few things are as fun as watching your kid perform-sports, dance, music, it doesn't matter. In our family it's dance and sports. Few things are as aggravating as watching your kid playing for a team that is an absolute train wreck. My daughter's high school team is not lead by a coach. It's run by a group of alpha females. It's the perfect storm of four skill and leadership-challenged seniors who are used to volleyball being what you do when it's not basketball season, coupled with four juniors who've played just enough bad club ball to think they are all that, with two talented sophomores who are the real future of the program. These prima donna juniors run roughshod over a coach who seeks only survival at this point in his storied two-schools-in-two-years career. He wants them to like him-he really needs them to like him.

The telltale signs of a team in mid-train wreck are everywhere. The team decides when, if and how hard they want to practice. The team treats practices like the sleepover scene from that Valley Girl movie from the 80's. Then these same girls who giggle, goof-off and conspire in whispered voices throughout practice absolutely lose their composure the minute things don't go their way in a match.

Through it all, my daughter has suffered the slings and arrows of fratricidal adolescent females who routinely make her the target of their venom. Yeah, there's a lot to hate. She loves and respects the game. She practices hard and treats her coaches and teammates with respect. She smiles way too much on the court. She's 6' 1" and can jump nearly 10 feet. She hits the ball so hard she brings pain to opponents' hands and arms. She trained last summer in a national development program. She's tall, smart, athletic and beautiful (maybe a bit of Dad-bias there), and all these things don't sit well with the mean girls. How dare a sophomore have so much game and take away so much of their glow. Girls are much more aggressive and cruel now than they were in my youth.

On the other side we have my son's JV football experience. He's got great coaches and a good bunch of kids. There is no doubt who runs the football program.

Unlike my daughter, C/B Jr. only has one hardcore knucklehead to deal with on his team. This kid is a sophomore who tries to intimidate the freshmen off the gridiron to cover his sorry lack of vigor on the field. Last night, the knucklehead finally got yanked after a half of service as the game's officially licensed speed bump. This gave my kid his chance. He went from 4 plays last week to nearly 30 last night. First play, he drew a holding penalty after busting thru the guard and tackle gap on a pass rush. Later that series, he made a bottom of the pig-pile tackle in the gap. He's 5' 11" and 200 lbs-tough to move when he wants to hold his ground. His sister is an Impala. He's a glacier. Love 'em both.

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