Headmaster teaches lesson that quitting is better than getting beatby Eric Schwartz
(Grinding My Gears writer Eric Schwartz will be getting married on October 9th and because of this he will be forced to smile much more than he would like to. The only way for this to be plausible is for him to unleash on all that is wrong in the World of Sports over the next 10 days. This is Part 9 of 10 straight days of Grinding My Gears.)
Today my readers get a taste of what Grinding My Gears is really about. Sure, every day there are things that get under my skin and make me question what is wrong with people, but it is stories like this that bread the creation of this blog. It’s the type of issue that that gets the blood boiling.
The topic and hand comes from a high school all the way up in Rhode Island. It’s Friday, and in high school, Friday’s in the fall mean football. Fridays have always meant football for St. George’s School – at least until this week.
Despite the team being off to a 2-0 start the school’s headmaster decided to have his team forfeit the game against ST. Lawrence Academy. Why did he do this?
Was it because his team had too many player injured? No.
Was it because there was a scheduling conflict that couldn’t be avoided? Nope.
He canceled it because the other team was too big. Too good.
St Lawrence Academy is indeed a team stacked with some big boys. Three of their lineman weight 300, 335 and 350. This team has been blowing teams out of the water this season, most by more than 40 points.
Yet, you know the thing about those teams that got blown out? They showed up.
While headmaster Eric Peterson thinks he is protecting his kids, he is really crippling them. He’s teaching them that when the odds are stacked against you the best thing is to fold your tent and go home. The lesson here is that it is better to quit than to risk losing. If I was the head coach my letter of resignation would have been on Peterson’s desk five minutes after he hit me with the news. How can that coach be taken seriously by his players after being undermined like this?
I’m not the only one fired up about this issue. Just look at these comments from parents, who I am sure, have an interest in their children’s well being.
“You’re telling the kids on the field, look, if you’re coming up in life against a situation that seems like it’s impossible to win, just give up,” said Joe Kelley, a parent. “Doug Flutie was one of the shortest quarterbacks in college and then he went on to play pro. He didn’t give up.”
Then there is this:
“It’s sort of defeating them before they even have a chance. It’s sending them a message about what they think their abilities are,” said Patsy Rosenberg, a parent. “I think there is more to it than the winning or losing, and I think that every experience you can learn something from that and there can be winning moments even in a game that you lose.”
Of course Peterson has his way of explain things.
“We have an ethical and moral obligation to protect our student players, who have been placed in our care by their parents, from possible extreme injuries that could affect the rest of their lives.”
I understand that this is a Catholic school and that athletics are not the No. 1 priority, nor should they be. But teaching the lesson that quitting something just because you are the underdog is a horrible lesson to teach high school kids. I guess the headmaster thinks that later in life these kids should not even bother turning in an application for a job that someone with more experience has already applied for. Or maybe these kids should never take a job where there might be an ounce of chance that they get injured.
I’m sure Peterson thinks he is doing the right thing and I know there are some parents out there that commend him for this.
I’m not one of them and will never be. Life is about overcoming obstacles. As Rocky put it best in Rocky Balboa: “Life aint about how hard you hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep getting up.”
These kids won’t get the chance to get up. Peterson put them down for the count.