CHSAA coaches frequently use the term ‘student-athlete’ when they speak to their players. That seems to be what has been forgotten by some parents of girls on the varsity basketball team at St. Francis Prep in Fresh Meadows. They are students “first’ then athletes.
Following what they saw as an ignored petition for the removal of head coach JoAnn Wagner, parents, frustrated with losses felt that a risk was necessary. So they told their teenaged children that if they banded together they would have some leverage.
Last Tuesday nine of the thirteen players, following the advice of their parents, decided not to show up for their game against Christ the King High School. The school replaced those players with managers and other students with good basketball abilities fairly quickly and easily. After their attempt at a coop failed, the original nine apologized and asked back on the team. They were denied.
“Thinking they (parents) had some leverage was a big mistake,” said one college coach from a Manhattan based school who says he attended a SFP game earlier this season. “What College coach would ever want one of those girls after this kind of incident?” he continued.
There is speculation that a successful coop against the Archbishop Molloy women’s head coach last year fueled the SFP parents into thinking they could do the same.
Here’s a tip for parents of kids playing a sport in a high school …. Leave them alone and let them have some fun. Understand that your child sacrifices a great deal to be on the team. Practice every day takes a toll on your mental and physical state. After a game, tell them you are proud and you thought they have a lot of courage for getting out there and performing. THAT is what being a student–athlete is all about.
What’s more disturbing about high school sports is that some coaches fail to understand that they can indeed use every player in nearly every game. Every player can have even a small role on the team. It is quite disturbing to attend high school basketball games where a coach plays only seven or eight players, while three or four rarely get into a game.