Step on the scale before you weigh in on somebody else

December 19, 2017

Get a life - Would you consider weighing in with someone else’s body? What’s the point? It not only tells you nothing about yourself, but you also know nothing about the subject on the scale. You just know skinny to fat, but nothing in between. An incident at a high school wrestling match last week, one kid pushes, the other punches in retaliation, a spontaneous combustion of adults and other wrestlers onto the mat, then the two schools decide on a resolution to the conflict. So why did so many adults who weren’t there and don’t know any of the protagonists decide to weigh in on the subject? “Pundits at large,” aka experts in all matters that have nothing to do with their own personal existence.

Self scouting and reevaluation - During my career as a sports journalist and coach, I never believed in playing a pat hand thinking I had discovered some formula for success. A coach absolutely has to turn the bright white light on his own bulb head and ask the question: “Am I a good coach for all the kids in my program?” Winning is the major criteria for judging success, assuming if you do all the other things correctly and have close to equal talent, then you will win more than you lose. But just like some classroom teachers and administrators, there are some coaches who can’t get out of their own box of insecurities and quirky ineffectiveness. “Playing time” kids want to play, and their family members want them to play too. If a roster player can’t get into a no-doubt-about-the-outcome game, then cut the kid or fire the coach, but don’t drag a player through that character-building experience. It happens from youth sports up through college. Before a parent goes seeking an explanation, the player has to make the first inquiry. And if the coach “blows them off,” then the parent is within their rights to ask for a meeting. At the college level, this would always be 100 percent a bad idea because once a parent crosses that line, you can’t get back. Anyway, play your kids if at all possible while protecting your precious win. And remember, you are a coach, not some work crew supervisor, so “coach them up!”  

Major drum roll - Mel McCloy, a three-sport athlete at Cape who is also the drum major, a dancer and an academic high performer, has been accepted to Princeton University, an Ivy League school with a 6.5 percent acceptance rate. I call Mel a quirky, knockabout-kickabout kid. She is just full-time smart, yet anxiety-free, and a total team player. Whether Mel plays the entire game or gets sidelined, she remains the same person. I’ve known her since she was in first grade. Her sister Marissa is a student at Lehigh. Karen Maull, Josh Sharp, Sarah Stokes, Kate McPike and Maren Ford are all Cape kids who went to Princeton. Cape teachers K through 12 get a piece of this feel-good story. Mel is a validation that the public school system of Cape works. The Ivy League admissions people are good at pulling homegrown talent through the seining net while tossing those with just gaudy numbers into the throwback basket.  

See ya, wouldn’t wanna be ya - Alia Marshall is Cape’s fastest woman and the state’s quickest field hockey and lacrosse player. I make this boastful claim knowing I don’t have to back it up, while only a silly person would challenge it. Alia, a junior, has verbally committed to play field hockey for the Northwestern Wildcats of the Big 10 Conference. Northwestern is also an academic powerhouse. It would cost me $72,000 per year to attend, assuming I could clear admissions – I couldn’t – and I could qualify for a minority grant as a member of the Reindeer Chukchi tribe from just west of the Bering Strait.

Snippets - Cape boys’ basketball (3-1) hosts Milford (2-1) Tuesday, Dec. 19, while the girls play away. Mariner and Beacon will wrestle each other at Cape Wednesday, Dec. 20, at 4 p.m., ahead of the Cape varsity meet versus Charter at 6 p.m. Cape indoor track will compete at the Worcester County Recreation Center Wednesday, Dec. 20. The boys have had a strong showing this winter, so I may have to get down there to see what’s going on. Someone please tell me not to go. Go on now, git!