Tuesday, May 04, 2004

Teaching Our Children Well

Compassion is so overrated. At least, according to one set of Middle School basketball coaches from New Jersey:

PLEASANTVILLE, N.J. - The coaches of a middle school basketball team who humiliated one of their players by giving him a "crybaby award" will likely face disciplinary action from district officials.

The 13-year-old boy's coach called him just before last month's team banquet and told him to make sure he attended because he was getting a special trophy, the boy's father said.

At the event, the boy watched as all of his Pleasantville Middle School teammates received trophies or certificates.

He was then called up to receive his award, and a coach told the crowd that the boy was being honored because "he begged to get in the game, and all he did was whine."

The trophy had a silver figure of a baby atop a pedestal engraved with the boy's name, which was spelled incorrectly. Family members said the teen — an honor roll student — was so embarrassed that he stayed home from school on the following Monday.

So, I had to drop the Board of Ed folks a little note in support of punishment:

Sender:Peter Smith
Subject: Re: 'Crybaby Award'
Recipient:coyle.edwin@pleasantville.k12.nj.us, barbin.nancy@pleasantville.k12.nj.us, carrington.derrick@pleasantville.k12.nj.us, carter.marilyn@pleasantville.k12.nj.us, dold-collins.linda@pleasantville.k12.nj.us, johnson.eileen@pleasantville.k12.nj.us, london.charlotte@pleasantville.k12.nj.us, mitchell.kathleen@pleasantville.k12.nj.us, norman.anthony@pleasantville.k12.nj.us, crouse.janet@pleasantville.k12.nj.us, smith.ernestine@pleasantville.k12.nj.us, mcbride.helene@pleasantville.k12.nj.us, moran.steve@pleasantville.k12.nj.us, mitchell.steven@pleasantville.k12.nj.us, todd.marionette@pleasantville.k12.nj.us, holcomb.dawn@pleasantville.k12.nj.us, avarmi.skendar@pleasantville.k12.nj.us, mora.ben@pleasantville.k12.nj.us

Dean Mr. Coyle and other esteemed members of the Atlantic County Board,

I was horrified to learn about what these coaches did to this kid (http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/ap/20040504/ap_on_fe_st/crybaby_award_1). They should be punished swiftly and severely.

I was cut from my 8th grade basketball team. I'm 30 years old now, but I remember getting cut, vividly. Fortunately, one of my 8th grade teachers was a maniac when it came to encouragement. With his support I tried new things - wrestled for the school team, and did well. Remembering his advice to 'be brave' and 'try new things' and 'just do your best' I went on to try other sports in high school - at least one of which I also excelled in. My 8th grade teacher's encouragement has carried-over into other parts of my life. I'm not afraid to try things which I have no business trying to do. In short, thank God I had such hearty encouragement when I needed it most.

Kids are so impressionable - as you well know - and a single event can make a dramatic difference in a child's life. It seems at least one young boy didn't get the encouragement he needed and deserved. Let's hope it doesn't hold him back for the rest of his life.

Thank you.


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