Playing time and parents – just don’t step over the line

Swan songs during geese season
September 2, 2022

Stepping over the line - Players on teams don’t want to watch the game from the sidelines. Stepping over the line onto the field of play is where the action is, and that is the point of practice. Practice without playing is like cooking without eating. Playing time, especially when the athlete bumps up to the college level, is often a mystery. Being good enough to get a uniform and make the website roster with a photo but not seeing game action is demoralizing. And college coaches are less likely to be consoling counselors than high school coaches. Playing-time lines should never be crossed by parents or discussed with a coach, because once those lines are crossed, you just can’t get back. You can pull the mental health card, so start with yourself. A hedge to all this crazy obsession is for the student-athletes to throw themselves into their studies. Bring your A game to class every day. I bring all this up as I track college freshmen I know playing a fall sport, and I know they can all rock, are super-confident people and are not getting as much playing time as they would like. 

Break my heart - I saw Olympic hurdler Devon Allen was assigned to the Eagles’ practice squad. Allen had to say, “Are you talking to me? I see some of the chumps you kept over me.” But in 2022, a practice squad player makes $11,500 a week or $207,000 for 18 weeks. A veteran with over two years’ experience sent to the practice squad can make up to $19,900 a week or $358,200 for 18 weeks. And the country is gnashing back and forth over $10,000 in college loan forgiveness. And if you think professional sports and government aren’t connected, you would be wrong. It's a partnership, from stadium construction to concession sales. The Eagles sublet Lincoln Financial Field to Temple for home games for $1.8 million a year. I am a 25% tax bracket schlepper. I have no idea what I pay for; that's why I try to cheat.   

Collapse relapse - In the fall of 1964, I stood at the full-length floor window on the 10th floor of Johnson Hall on North Broad Street on the campus of Temple University. I stared at the lights above Connie Mack Stadium while listening to the radio broadcast of Byron Saam, Bill Campbell and Richie Ashburn. It was agonizing, and we Phillies fans could feel the losses rumbling like a subway train. Chico Ruiz steals home Sept. 24 with two outs and two strikes on Frank Robinson for a 1-0 Reds win, the first of 10 losses in a row.The Phillies led the league by 6.5 games with 12 to play and couldn’t get to the finish line. Ruiz died in a car accident in 1972; he was just 33 years old. And so on Monday night after a Kyle Schwarber three-run homer put the Phillies up 7-0 in Arizona, I went to bed. I woke up to discover they lost 13-7. The subway is roaring past Broad and Susquehanna-Dauphin. I am at Freddy's Luncheonette buying an American hoagie. But wait! The Phillies won 18-2 Wednesday night in Arizona behind Bailey Falter. Every player in the starting lineup got two hits. The geese are flying, but it’s too soon for a September swan song.  

Snippets - Cape baseball coach Ben Evick was named Region 2 Coach of the Year by the National High School Baseball Coaches Association. Ben is one of eight finalists for the National Coach of the Year Award. OutTrain Fitness & Performance founder and instructor Michael Sager takes the Cape volleyball team through team training workouts several mornings a week. “Our players love it,” said head volleyball coach Tyler Coupe. I walked around Cape football’s pregame practice Wednesday at Legends Stadium taking random headshots because I’m just another plaque on the wall guy and the head coach is my nephew. If Mike said, “Fredman, don’t do that; you’re a distraction,” I would cease and desist, but players like distractions, like music or a cat showing up on the field. Delaware football opens at Navy at 12 p.m., Saturday. I’ve covered games inside that high-in-the-sky, rattling press box. Once during a flyover, a pilot actually turned and waved at me. I’m predicting a Delaware win. Pilots, start your engines! Go on now, git!  


Subscribe to the Daily Newsletter