May 27, 2013

Entitlement

I just had to laugh softly and shake my head at this story today at Philly.com. A dad is suing the "coach, athletic director, principal, superintendent, and school board" of Sterling Regional High School in Camden County. Why? His son was booted from the track team. Dad thinks his son is a total track stud and as such should be able to run whatever the hell he wants.

I just loooooove that. A perfect example of WTF is wrong with our modern culture.

Let's take a gander at some of dad's moronic statements:

  • "Children have rights ... just like any adult."

Uh, no they don't. That's why they're children. They can't vote, buy cigarettes, buy alcohol, drive, etc. This isn't to say they have no rights, just not "like any adult."

  • It's unfair, [Ervin] Mears said, that his son wasn't allowed to compete, even though he may have been faster than some seniors who raced.

Uh, no it's not unfair, especially in the sport of track and field. As noted in the article, track coaches always have to balance the needs of individuals on the squad with that of the entire team. After all, the ultimate goal is for the team to win.

  • "Participation in extracurricular activities is a right," Mears said.

A total crock. Participation in extracurricular activities is a privilege, nothing more. If one does not want to do as the coach asks, then that person should either not try out or, if already on the team, quit/resign.

  • Not allowing his son to participate constitutes bullying, harassment, and an "abusive school environment" in which the sophomore's rights to due process and freedom of speech were impeded, the suit says.

Hilarious. I wonder if the coach (and/or school, et. al.) have thought about counter-suing daddy on the same grounds.

  • "I felt in a way, disrespected," [son] Mawusimensah, 16, said Friday. "At practice, I work hard and I try to be the best athlete I can be, but at meet time, I didn't get the respect that I thought I deserved."

Translation: Coach didn't do precisely what I wanted, so now I'm gonna act all pouty.

*Sigh*

This may be the "best," however: Dad also says that his son was "'undefeated champ' in the 200-, 400-, and 800-meter runs as an eighth grader at a Catholic school in 2010." Which, for dad, "should have translated into a key spot on the team when, as a ninth grader." Whaaaa ...? As a runner myself, I was undefeated in the 400 and 800 while in middle school, much like this kid. Did I -- and my dad -- demand that, upon entering high school, I get a "key spot" on the track team? Hell no. And when track season (in the spring) arrived, it was soon apparent that there were many on the squad -- sophomores, but especially juniors and seniors -- who were better than me. And that's a key aspect not mentioned in this article; what were Mawusimensah's times compared to those of his teammates? Was he better in the 200, 400, and 800 meters than all, most, or even some of his peers? The article states the son wasn't permitted to run "even though he may have been faster than some seniors who raced." What does that mean? Was he or wasn't he? And if he was, does anyone buy that this track coach would not enter him to run in those events during meets?

Being a long-time educator and coach, my [educated] guess is this: Dad constantly complained to coach (and others) about what he perceived as "slights" to his son because of not getting what he wanted based on his [now-irrelevant] performance in middle school. When dad didn't get "satisfaction," he told his son (or implied it) to bag a few practices to "show the coach." (After all, the official reason Mawusimensah was booted from the team was unexcused absences. Dad claims there was a family death and an injury to his son. If so, where were the notes to that effect?) These absences then became the official means (or, if you prefer, "excuse") by which to dismiss Mawusimensah.

I also wonder why the Philly Inquirer ran a story like this. Well, not really. After all, as easily predicted, it is guaranteed to elicit a ton of comments, the vast majority of which side with the school and coach. (In fact, I haven't yet seen one siding with the dad and his son.) From a purely business POV this makes sense for the paper. But, I can't help but wonder if the paper ran with it out of a degree of sympathy for this family's "plight." Admittedly, there's really nothing in the narrative to indicate such (at least to me), but what is the reason for granting this dad the exposure?

Related: Why I decided against coaching (again); Why I don't (and won't) coach anymore; Sounds VERY familiar!.

UPDATE: Yesterday Philly.com switched article pictures to a more "plaintiff-friendly" one. The new one remains on the site's main page today; however, the actual article page has put back the original. Also (telling), the site has discontinued comments for the story. No surprise there for, as noted above, the comments were incredibly one-sided against the father and son.

Posted by Hube at May 27, 2013 09:37 AM | TrackBack

Comments  (We reserve the right to edit and/or delete any comments. If your comment is blocked or won't post, e-mail us and we'll post it for you.)

typical. too many of these parents are out there...the little cherub isn't performing or getting what they want......its the coaches fault. Ridiculous.

Posted by: cardinals fan at May 27, 2013 08:10 PM

You know, I'm sick of this kind of shit. I will admit that there are coaches out there who are bad for their kids. I can still remember a coach on a travel soccer team who told the whole team after an 8-0 loss that it was all my daughter's fault. She was one of the goalies, who played the second half, going into the game when they were already down 4-0, playing with a defense that allow 42 shots on goal and an offense that registered 2. So I know bad coaches (although, strangely, we didn't sue him).

At the same time, when that same daughter suffered a series of sports concussions and lost a year of practice time and as a junior now finds herself as the reserve goalie behind a freshman because she hasn't had the time to play herself back into form, we told her to suck it up and learn from the experience. Her team is the nr. 1 seed in the State tournament, and if they win she'll probably spend her senior year as the back-up when, if things had gone her way, it should have been her year.

But the difference between us and that fucking whiner parent is that we raised our daughter to think about her team first. She's out there every day in practice trying to help that freshman get better, and nobody cheers louder for her when she makes a save.

Sorry, but that's what you're goddamn well supposed to teach your children, not that Daddy will sue the ass off anybody who doesn't appreciate Mr. Precious.

End of rant. (Can you tell it hasn't been a good day?)

Posted by: Steve Newton at May 27, 2013 09:59 PM

The kid doesn't even have the sense to be embarrassed by his whiny father.

Posted by: LS at May 31, 2013 01:54 PM

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