Sunday, October 22, 2006

Castro Valley..........when parent "experts" try to run athletic programs

CW Nevius in the San Francisco Chronicle has got it dead on.

It's the kind of over-the-top behavior that's increasingly common -- parents running on the field, screaming from the sidelines and, in the worst cases, punching out officials. It happens when well-intentioned parents let their protective instincts for their children overwhelm their good judgment.

Castro Valley has a classic problem; parents deciding that they have a clue about running high school athletics. A veteran teacher at Castro Valley, Nancy Nibarger, decided to take the girls varsity basketball job. After a nice run in the beginning, her current record is less than stellar, and that is the time that this group of parents decided to pounce.

But here is the problem, after investigation about parent complaints, the school administration and the district found no problems. It was the school board that took exception.

An investigation was convened by the principal's office. Shari Rodriguez, varsity girls volleyball coach and a Nibarger supporter, says the administration interviewed every player on the team and reached a conclusion -- no action was needed. The parents group took it to the district level. Once again, every player was interviewed and the conclusion was the same -- no action. Finally, the group went to the school board. The final hearing, in August, lasted nine hours. Those who were there say that the anti-Nibarger group appeared with matching binders and that Goodman was seen pulling girls aside before their appearances to "help" with their statements. The group even led cheers, Rodriguez says.

And the board caved, adding on restrictions on the varsity program that are completely absurd.
-The coach will not be able to pick her team. The team will be picked by a six member panel that will include parents and community members. The coach will be 1/6 of the vote to pick "her" team.
-Her assistant coaches, one a Cal-Berkeley Hall of Famer, both having no complaints against them, were fired.
-Instead, a member of the parent group will attend every practice as a babysitter.

So let me get this straight. The athletic director supports the coach, the administration supports the coach, the district supports the coach, the kids support the coach, other teachers support the coach, but the board supports the parents? Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to a disastrous athletic season brought to you by people that don't know what the hell they are doing. High school sports programs are like Advanced Placement P.E., yet we are going to let parents have that much influence on what and how those classes are taught?

"If we don't stomp this out," says athletic director (Marie)Gray, "whosever mommy or daddy has the most power is going to be the starter. And if you look around the country, you see we are losing that battle.''

And along with it, we are losing great, young coaches. And we haven't even addressed the issue of the impact on the kids who work so hard for years, only to have a group of parents yank the rug from underneath their season because of their selfish actions.

"What I want to know is what are these kids going to do when they leave home and have a boss or a professor they don't like? They can't destroy everyone they don't like.''

Once again, let the real coaches do the coaching, and tell the other "experts" to be quiet, or you'll end up having a laughable athletic program.
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