A high school basketball coach from Gunderson High in San Jose California has hit the news for suspending his best players for basically having bad manners and insubordination. The players were coming to practice late habitually, using bad manners and general disrespect around the coach, replete with the entitled air most of us see in the “up and coming” crowd these days.
Coach Mike Allen is not supported by his community for this. Oh no, he is fronting angry parents who would rather see their kids win games than learn appropriate social skills of respect, sportsmanship and leadership. I hear it all the time from the 40+ crowd in my practice, “I never would have been allowed to get away with that…” I admire Coach Allen for sticking to his principles, a matter of integrity and building a community of mutual respect and responsibility. My son is learning about courage in his first grade class this month. Here is a shining example of courage in the ace of opposition - especially when your livelihood is on the line.
The entitlement Coach Allen saw in his players is exemplary of kids left to their own parenting and are told constantly they can do no wrong or even have most of their work done for them. Another trend we see in therapy rooms now is kids unable to start, work on or finish a project on their own since many parents hire people to do it for them, or intervene themselves to spare their kids any feelings of rejection. Beside the stink of arrogance, there is also a deep well of depression for these kids.
I know the California school system is in dire straights these days what with budget cuts, bullying and gangs, teen suicides and plain old bad teaching rampant in many districts. But I have to wonder what kind of atmosphere Gunderson High promotes with a school tagline of “Simply The Place To Be”. No wonder the players were behaving so badly, it sounds more like a hip hangout rather than an educational institution. San Jose benefits from the wealth of the Silicon Valley so that may inform the reader as to the character of the school district. Yes, people in glass house should not throw stones, so in the inters of full disclosure I will say that I live and work in affluent Marin County. A veritable melting pot of Richie Rich’s and some of this very problem stinks up our school districts too.
Good for you Coach Allen! Don’t let them get you down. You’re doing the right thing and you know it. You may be fired over this, but there’s always pro sports.