Category Archives: parents

Of Course They Are….

The Princeton Review has bestowed the honor of the No.1 Party School in America upon the University of West Virginia.  The administration, for obvious reaasons are none too proud of this distinction and in fact their incoming president Mike Garrison tried to deflect the attention by saying, “the students he met over the weekend and on the first day of classes Monday are more concerned with their futures “and with the great year we have ahead” than with partying.”

I find this an interesting comment from the head of a school that recruited a convicted armed robber to play football.  Remember Pat Lazear?  As far as I know he is still playing and receiving a free education from WVU in return for playing football.  All this while far more deserving teenagers are working several jobs to pay thier tuition and they didn’t break any laws.

 I will give President Garrison the benefit of the doubt on the Pat Lazear situation since he is new and did not have anything to do with Pat’s recruitment. But Garrison also said, “I’m focused on the way this university changes people’s lives, the research that we do and the service we provide to the state of West Virginia.”

 If that is the case then President Garrison I would suggest you look at how many residents of the State of West Virginia did not get in or get a scholarship becasue your school actively recruited and  accepted Pat Lazear and others of his ilk.  Look at how their lives were changed by this.

Oh, and congratulations on being voted the No.1 party School in America.  The parents of your students and all of your staff must be proud.

Lazear & West Virginia

From Sunday, Feb. 18th in the Washinton Post: 

Lazear Signs With West Virginia

Smoothie King Robbery Had Dissuaded Other Schools

Ok.  Good for him.  But, bad for West Virginia. 

West Virginia has always been one of the schools that had the bad fortune of being located in a state that was the butt of jokes dealing with incest, rednecks and overall low IQ’s.  I have often felt the school has gotten a bum rap and  that their engineering and business management programs have never gotten the full recognition they deserve because of the reputation of the State they share a name with.

It has been guilt by association.

Being the quality school that The Univeristy of West Virginia is, I thought they would have avoided Pat.    Having worked hard to separate themselves from the stereotype of West Virginia, I really am surprised.

But I think I get it.  If you are going to viewed like those that people associate you with, why not associate with the best?  Ohio State University with it’s successful Felon Rehab Program ….I’m sorry… Football Team, and many other schools of the like, you can now add West Virginia to the list.  And isn’t that great company to be in.

WVU you have made a mistake.  Pat Lazear hasn’t proven he deserves a chance at college football or a free college education, yet.  The only remorse he has shown is that he got caught and that it has impacted his ability to play football in college. 

If West Virginia wants to sign him, fine.  Maybe their program is strict enough to straighten him out and help him learn what it means to be a productive member of society.  But he shouldn’t get a free ride and take the opportunity of a college education away from another student who played by the rules and avoided hurting others.

Poor Pat

So the notorious wheelman of the “Whitman 5” has been sentenced to 10 years in jail with all but 10 days being suspended.  It truly is terrible that he has to serve any time in prison because I can tell you I personally would not want to spend 1 day or even one hour behind bars.

I feel sorry for the poor kid because he is just that.  A kid.  A kid who made a terrible mistake. 

So while many of you might think I have something against Pat Lazear, well, I will try and explain to you as simply as I can, again, “No, I don’t”.

And as for those of you who think I hate Whitman High School,  I will try and explain to you as simply as I can, again, “No, I don’t”.

  • I don’t like parents, teachers, administrators and coaches who don’t do what is right for the child over their own self interests. 
  • I don’t like parents, teachers, administrators and coaches who don’t enforce the rules.
  • I don’t like parents, teachers, administrators and coaches who help to create and foster an environment of entitlement that leads to illegal and despicable acts in and against the community.
  • I dont’ like parents, teachers, administrators and coaches and fans who believe that they are being falsely targeted and picked on when one of their own does something wrong.

If that fits Whitman High School, then maybe I don’t like Whitman but it is for good reason and not just a subjective reason , like “you are not me.”

And let me cut off any any discussion or comparison to what has occurred with Whitman students and the five Damascus students who were recently arrested for going to Clarksburg High to start a fight.

The kids from Damascus were wrong and the administration at Damascus dealt with it swiftly and appropriately.  They were all suspended and not given any special treatment regardless of who they were, what sport they played or any other factor.

How would I have reacted if I  were to hear they had not been?  I would have been on the phone to the principal and been blogging about it the next day.

So let’s all do what we can to prevent another incident like the Smoothie King Armed robbery from occurring again by holding parents, teachers, administrators and coaches accountable for behavior they could have influenced.  And as fans, let’s reconsider what it is that makes someone worthy of our adoration.

“The Whitman 5”: Who is to Blame?

Dear mm and mmm:

I have read the comments you have left on my blog and I appreciate you both taking the time to share these.

Whitman is a very good school with high SATs and preparing students for some of the best colleges in the country.  No question about it.

But Whitman, like any other high school, is not perfect nor will it, or any other high school, ever be.  However, Whitman has some real problems right now that go beyond what is wrong at “most high schools”.

While I realize you two are probably in the majority about your feelings for Pat Lazear and the others and whether they committed the crime or not, the minority has been very vocal  and I and others who publicly condemned or questioned those involved in this situation have been subjected to some of the most vulgar, dim witted, unreasonable and threatening messages from the minority.

Now, you both express concern about my claim that the teachers, coaches and administration should be held accountable for Pat and the other’s actions.  I can understand how you might disagree based upon the type of person Robert Warren is/was and your own descriptions of the others, but if the coaches EVER said anything to them about their behavior and the student didn’t listen, did they EVER take further action?  In other words did Wallich or Wetzel EVER make them miss a game or a match because of their behavior?  Did Magathan or Goodwin EVER step in and use their authority?  I’ll be honest that I don’t know the answer but I have a pretty good idea that it is “NO”.

Look at the incident from this past spring at Duke and the Duke Lacrosse Coach.  Did he have anything  to do directly with the alleged rapes?  No.  But he lost his job anyway because the program he ran was so loosely monitored that the team was allowed to behave in a way that they could be put in a position to be accused of rape and commit other acts which reflected poorly on the team and the University.

I have been involved in dialogue in the past with Coach Wetzel about the demeanor of some of his wrestlers and never once did he ever say they could or should have acted with more respect.  Instead he defended their behavior as being “special athletes” who work hard and “deserve everything they can take”.  I don’t think you have to look much further to see there is a problem brewing.

You both say you knew these five guys.  Did you ever tell them to quit being idiots or did you just laugh at their antics?  Peer pressure can go a long way.  I am sure you know of kids at your school over the years who have broken a rule and gotten caught like drinking under age and not been punished because of some talent they have.   Do you think that is fair?  And if they get away with that or see someone similar to them get away with it, then what makes you or them think they can’t away with something more serious.  Something like, well….I don’t know…maybe….ARMED ROBBERY?

As long everyone just looks the other way and doesn’t ask questions it will continue.

Yes, these guys have been through a lot and to be honest it will only get worse as time goes on.  That comes with notoriety and fame.  If Pat Lazear and the others want all the benefits of being a star or hanging out with a star, then they have to take all the criticism, too.  And the blind “Whitman Faithful” who support them have to learn to live with it, too.  If Pat Lazear had taken Whitman to states I am sure no one would be complaining about an article in the paper talking about what a great athlete he was. 

I am sorry your school has had to take this much heat.  But maybe if you, your friends, and all of your parents would put some pressure on the school to stop this kind of behavior before it reaches this level then maybe people could focus on the good things about Whitman and not just what these five kids did.

Ultimately Pat Lazear and the others are responsible for the choices they made.   Their parents also probably carry some of the blame for not doing something earlier (Remember , there were warning signs in the form of credit card fraud).

But PLEASE do not be so naive to think that the at least one teacher, coach or administrator couldn’t have had some influence on at least one of these kids.  If not directly, then indirectly by the way they responded to negative behavior.

Why I Really Coach

As another season of youth football has come to a close, and it is my son’s last season as he will be entering high school next year, I am faced with the dilemma of, “is this my last season, too or will I coach again next year?”

Many people assume it is my last given my son’s age and I may take a break from it next year, but I don’t really think it is my last for one simple reason – Why I really coach.

Many youth coaches are out there because it is a way to be involved with their own kids.  They find it is a way to build a bond and have something special with their child.  In many cases if they did not step up to coach their might not be a team at all.  Unfortunately, you also see the ones who at the end of a game aren’t as concerned with the final score as they are with their own kid’s statistics.  They coach to insure that their kid is the star and is in every play.

There are also those coaches who do it because it fulfills their competitive needs.  They are former athletes themselves still in great shape, but are too old to be allowed on the field themselves.  They are living vicariously through their players until the Redskins call.  They like the rush they get from winning and the power they feel which is something they don’t get from their jobs.

Then are those who really do have something to share and want to make a difference.  They see coaching as a way to pass along some of their knowledge and help give something back to the community.

So, which one am I?

I definitely have done it to be involved with my kid.  I have done it not to make my kid the star but in one case to prevent that “one dad” from ruining the season for everyone by him making his kid the star at the expense of everyone else.  I do love the thrill of winning but, alas, I have not maintained my athletic physique and if the Redskins were to call me, it would be to be a food taster for Dan Snyder.

I have done it to give something back to the community and make a difference in a kid’s life but I think I am unique in why I think I can or should  do this.  I had a great teacher and coach growing up.   My Dad.

He was my baseball coach all through Little League.   When he passed away several years ago, at his funeral I saw several men who I hadn’t seen since high school or even some since we had played Little League together.  Each one was there because my dad as their Little League coach 30 years earlier had touched their lives in a way they never forgot.  Several of them shared stories about how he had helped them or how as an adult they had remembered something he taught them or said to them that got them through difficult times.  All things that I didn’t know or just took for granted.  When I saw the impact he had on so many young people by just being a dad who was a volunteer baseball coach, I knew I had to follow his example.

This is one of many reasons I am so passionate about what coaches do and say around players and the special treatment gifted athletes are given.  Kids are impressionable and like it or not they do notice.  Winning is important but it is not why kids should be playing and why coaches should be coaching.  It is not the win/loss record that will have a lasting impact.

Do I think any of the kids I have coached will show up at my funeral one day?  I doubt it.  But I would like to think that when one of them comes to a crossroads in their life (i.e. rob the Smoothie King or not?) they will think about something I did or said and make the right choice.

Just like my Dad.

 PS:  I just came across this article from The Washington Post Good Coaches Win in Other Ways”.    Ditto, Bingo, Exactly…..

Side Note:  Jasmina Parazic, who is pictured in the article, coached my daughter this year in Field Hockey.   A great expereince for her and now she is hooked on the sport!

Old for the Holidays

Thanksgiving has come and gone.  The house was full and the noise was deafening.  Plenty of loud music, television, arguing, laughter and best of all conversation.

All four of my children were home for Thanksgiving.  It was the first time in three months that all six of us had been together.  We only had  one night where it was just the six of us as relatives began arriving during the week.   But as I sat at the dining table that night and looked around, I had that eerily warm feeling.

Yes, I was soaking in the fact that our family was complete and also contemplating that these moments will be fewer and fewer as the years go by, but what really got to me was how old this made me feel.  Me, old…..how could it be?

I was having the thoughts that my parents had, and would creep me out, years ago whenever my brother, sister and I were all home at the same time.   I would catch my mother and father both staring at us and one another, soaking it all in and then getting a little self satisfied smile on their lips.  To be honest it was creepy and well, it made my parents look and seem old. 

I only turned 45 two weeks ago!  How can I feel so old?  I guess I feel old because I see so much of my parents in myself.  It is funny how we view our parents through life.

When you hit your twenties you realize your parents aren’t as old as you thought nor as stupid as you thought.

When your own children are infants you realize how much your parents really care for you even though you may find it hard to believe that anyone could care for another human being as much as you care for your own child.

When your children become teens you reliaze how much your parents reallyknew and how much they really must have trusted you.  (I can’t believe they let me do some of the things they let me do).

But when your children start to leave home, when the family unit becomes dispersed, what do you think of your parents?   You begin to understand they had a choice at that point.  Become old and let life slip away or take on a new spirit that involves putting themselves first.

I feel old.  I see life slipping away.  Another milestone reached, another moment in time that signifies life marches on and we get one step closer to finishing our time and jobs on this earth.  We live, we love, we procreate, we teach, we raise, we release and then we fade away to the end.

I have to shake this.  I am not old and I am not ready to be old.  I need to find what is in life that will help keep me young…….It is not a car or a girlfriend or any other stereo typical mid-life crisis cover up.

I have until Christmas.