Friday, October 22, 2010

A Brief Open Letter to the TR Football Parents & Sons

There comes a time when silence does no one any good. If you want to consider this stirring the pot, then so be it.

I am the parent of a young man who is a leader, a team player, and a motivator. He is incredibly kind, intelligent, and strong. How he remains positive in the face of his current situation is a testament to his spirit.

I have witnessed him survive in a football program that is seemingly built on fear and intimidation, that tears kids down and never builds them up, that feeds off a culture of threats, spoken and unspoken.

When my son is stripped of his dignity, his confidence, and his talents, he does not quit. He does not complain. He keeps motivating, building up the team despite "coaching" by men who demoralize him and many others.

He has been lied to repeatedly by these men. He is told to step up and be a leader and is ignored and slapped down when he does so. He is told to wait his turn, to work hard on and off the field, and his turn will come. And then he has to face a playing field so uneven, it boggles the mind.

I am tired, ridiculously tired of the code of silence that parents feel they must uphold to protect their sons from the fallout towards them because their parents dare to say what so many are thinking: this is abhorrent coaching.

We all have our own horror stories: boys screamed at and belittled and pushed aside, thrown on the trash heap for ridiculous reasons, incompetent coaching, bullying, intimidation, and outright hypocrisy of men who are supposed to be men of integrity in positions of power over young men who will take these lessons with them for the rest of their lives.

And the saddest part of all -- even if all of us presented a united front to those in charge, it would fall on deaf ears and make no difference at all. We would be written off as whining parents who just want their sons to play more.

I won't review all the details of our own nightmare, since the focus here is about the overall disservice of this program to many boys instead of my personal account. But if you want to hear the gory details, please send me a message and I'll be happy to tell you more than you probably can stomach.

Just know, those of you feeling disgusted and angry at the treatment of our sons, you are not alone.

To coaches Ackerman, Ward, Schneider, Carnes, White, Grimm, Adams, Wilkin, Rusk, Reyes, and Paul, thank you for your support throughout the years, in small ways and large. You help Nick keep the faith.

And to the players: keep your heads up and tune the negativity out. You are great guys, with fantastic futures ahead of you. The best you can do is to finish strong and play your hearts out for one another. And that isn't confined to the football field.


  1. One of the sons I know is a strong man. He keeps smiling even when he is let down. God will grant him a wonderful college and career because he stood firm and stayed in place.

    He has wonderful parents and may God bless them too during this time.