Back in late April, the school board voted in a controversial 5-4 decision to dismiss the Chambersburg High School boys basketball coach Shawn Shreffler. Shreffler and the Trojans took home a District 3 title this past season. So why would this coach that so many liked and respected be removed by the board? their reason, he was dismissed for his alleged language usage, something we asked his players about. My thoughts, parental interference.
If there is one thing I cannot stand when it comes to high school athletics, it's the parents. My parents have supported me, and my three sisters in our athletics and continue to as my sister plays lacrosse for Indiana University of Pennsylvania, and my sister playing lacrosse in high school. As a student athlete and now sitting in the stands of my sisters lacrosse games, I see these kind of parents in action. The ones who call the coach and complain why their kid isn't playing and why they yelled at their kid. Most of the time, it's not the coach's fault, it's their kid.
I played high school football. People are passionate in my part of Pennsylvania about the game, and so are the coaches. Any parent who thinks their son's high school locker room is a PG rated environment, they need a reality check, quickly .
There's an old saying. "What happens in the locker room, stays in the locker room." As a former athlete, that holds strong. Your son's are between the ages of 15 and 18. It's a point where they are young adults who need to learn to become men. Sounds too intense? Then your kid shouldn't play sports. Chess is more their speed.
When it comes to language, parents, your kids swear more than George Carlin at a comedy festival hosted by Louis C.K. Dismissed for foul language? If that was the case, every coach would be fired if someone complained about language.
Some of our best memories of high school football was when our coach was furious with our performance, with quotes we still are trying to confirm, which always makes us laugh when we get together with the old coaches around Christmas or in the summer. In the case of Shreffler, I think a few words were said. From what his players said when defending him, they said he never did. Even if he did, the Trojan basketball players liked him that much to defend him against the school board, who if any of them, at least the four who voted to keep him, know what happens in high school sports.
Why is this story get me fired up? After my junior year, our coach was on the chopping block, not for his "language", but our performance in his first four years as head coach. All of us attended the Monday school board meeting, making up most of the turnout in the auditorium. Although the debate was not as heated as the Shreffler story, our attendance convinced an almost unanimous vote to keep him. The board was not the only antagonist in this story. Parents who were convinced that their son was not getting the time he deserved would call the coach and even the athletic director. We won the battle to keep him as coach, but we sent a message when our team qualified for the postseason the very next season.
This is where I turn into my father and grandfather. Kids are soft these days. It seems that a high school kids experience in athletics is a day at the beach from when I played. Our coaches had high expectations and made us work hard so that we could reach our high potential. I'm proud to call those coaches friends today. If there is a place where a young male can learn a lot about life and hard work, high school sports is a great place. My parents always told me that they would never, ever call a coach if I wasn't playing. It meant I wasn't working hard enough and needed to handle the problem myself, BY WORKING HARDER AND LISTENING TO MY COACH.
The decision on Shawn Shreffler is one that the school board will regret, especially when elections come around in the near future. Shreffler's success is tainted by those few who complain. Those who don't know the meaning of hard work and cry to their parents, thinking a call to the coach or school board will make everything better. It seems that this will hang over the districts head for a long time, as many were outraged when Chambersburg announced the hiring of new head coach Franklin Gantz.
In the end, a great coach was fired for the wrong reasons.
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