Updated: Jan 29, 2020
If your child was trying out for a sport offered at their school, but didn’t make the team (JV or varsity), would you sue the school? What would you say to your child, the coach or the school if anything?
I listen to a great station in Central Missouri called The Pulse Channel. The DJ’s, Megan and Devin always talk about interesting topics between songs on the morning show, but one story caught my attention. The topic of interest was about parents suing a high school in St. Louis, Missouri due to their son not making the varsity or JV soccer team. I thought the parents were being crybabies, but I had to find out more information before assuming that.
The mother of the teen and his step-father (who’s a lawyer himself) filed suit for the Eastern District of Missouri at the end of September 2018. They wanted the judge to issue a temporary restraining order against the school district and to have the kid put on the JV soccer team although he made the JV team last year. Like many schools, this one is said to give preference to freshman and sophomores to participate on JV teams since they have more time to sharpen their skills enough to hopefully make varsity during their junior and senior years. Originally, the teen’s parents said it was age and sex discrimination being that the school allegedly allowed female juniors to play on the girl’s JV team in the past.
The judge denied the motion for a temporary restraining order and doesn’t support the parent’s view on putting their son on JV, but he did admire and understand the reasoning behind their intentions. The teen wouldn’t be able to play anyway since the season was just about over. An athlete must attend a minimum number of practices before he or she can play in a game.
As a parent, I understand where the teen’s parents are coming from here. You want your child to succeed in everything… I get it. My now 8-year-old son has been playing soccer since age 3, and he’s darn good too! When he first started, he’d cry when someone took the soccer ball from him during a game. I mean you’d have to go and get him off the field, because he’d sit on the ground and wouldn’t stop crying. I thought it was hilarious by the way. You just want to stick up for your child no matter what. The parents did hire a private coach and the teen joined a club team to get some field time and to get better. The coach had a decision to make, and a few other kids didn’t make the team either. If the family did win and the kid could play, he probably would be embarrassed and disappointed for not making the team on his own. True sense of accomplishment only comes when you’ve earned it yourself, and it doesn’t include participation trophies.
On the other hand, I do side with the school and the head soccer coach too. I believe everyone has a gift. Romans 12:6 says exactly that and more. If you don’t have that specific gift but want to be good at it, you will have to work much harder than someone who has it down. The coach was fair with his decision for who made the team according to the case documentation. Schools normally have a maximum number of athlete’s who can join a team. Here are several factors to a coach’s decision:
The ratio of athletes to coaches.
How much equipment is available for each athlete.
How much the school can afford to attend weekend tournaments.
The time it could take for a coach to help individuals who need attention with specific skills.
Who will have the most time to improve their skills.
At the end of the day the coach will do what’s best for the potential athlete, team, school and sometimes the parents of an athlete depending on certain circumstances. The coach’s job is to ensure that everyone gets the most out of a sport. He or she needs to make sure the school looks good, is well coached, obtain updated certifications, review current or new rules and regulations, stay up-to-speed on different plays, moves or techniques, ensure that each athlete is healthy and fit along with ensuring athletes are passing all classes. Going back to when I was an athlete, nothing was more important than your parents being there to support you. Fortunately, the kid won’t have to worry about being embarrassed or disappointed. In a nutshell, I do agree with the family for trying to look out for their son; however, I don’t agree that it should’ve went to court. Sometimes you have to cut your losses and keep on keeping on!