Daily Archives: May 11, 2007

High school sports are communist

This is more a random thought than a specific complaint, and it doesn’t apply solely to softball. It applied to all high school sports.

I had never really thought about it before but the thought occurred to me this morning that high school sports are communist, while club/travel sports are capitalist. Why do I think that?

Consider this: high school sports are controlled 100% by the “state,” i.e. the coach. There is no voting, there is no discussion. The coach makes a decision, and your choices are live with it or quit. It’s a total dictatorship. If you try to rise up and complain, the odds are that the “conflict resolution” process used within the school will ultimately exile your kid to the sports equivalent of Siberia — the bench, with no possibility of parole. If the kid even thinks about speaking up, same fate. The coach is free to do whatever he/she wants, short of outright breaking the law, with little chance for censure much less dismissal. In many places, unless you’re the football or basketball coach the team can suck for years, underperforming time after time, and your job is safe. It’s good to be the Premier.

Behavior on club and travel sports, on the other hand, are dictated by market pressures. If you don’t like a club sport’s coach or policies, you leave and go somewhere else. If enough people don’t like him/her/them, the club folds up and goes away. Parents can band together and get a coach removed much more easily. Clubs that do well get rewarded, clubs that don’t lose players and wind up taking lesser kids, thus beginning the death spiral. Club and team sports don’t have a built-in constituency either. They have to advertise, recruit, or draw players in some other manner. No-nothing coaches tend not to last very long.

Interestingly, the college model is much closer to club/travel ball than to high schools. While there are scholarships and such at stake, if you don’t like your situation at one place you can always try your luck elsewhere. I’m not saying it’s easy, but you are not stuck.

I’d be interested to hear other thoughts on this comparison. Just remember that this is being set forth in a lighthearted way, so keep it clean and friendly!

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