Monday, January 26, 2009

Criminal Stupidity

He's very sad because "one of his boys" is "gone" and he's not coaching or teaching at his favorite school any more. So says coach Jason Stinson, who now faces charges in Kentucky for causing the death of a 15-year-old football player, Max Gilpin, on a hot August day last summer. What kind of sub-cretin moron denies water to an athlete during a hard workout in the hot summer sun? The kind of ignorant pro-jock wannabee who all too often populates the ranks of high school coaching.
Coaching is as much about authority as it is about learning, training, and development. The virtues of playing team sports don't need extolling or enumeration here. What needs to be said is that too many of those men - and women -who are drawn to coaching, are people who perhaps came close to excelling at a sport, but never made that leap to the next level. It's a position with great influence and status in the community, and there are countless coaches who have contributed to the positive development of millions of young men and women. All coaches are teachers, and the vast majority in the high school ranks are dedicated servants of youth and sport. But there are too many Jason Stinsons out there who are martinets operating with marginal IQ and an overabundance of authority.
No doubt the young athlete didn't want to appear to be "weak" by asking for a water break. You've got to be "tough". At the age of 15, Max Gilpin probably didn't even understand the signals his overheated body was sending him. He hadn't yet acheived the fine-tuned sensitivity the veteran athlete attains about his body. When he most needed a true coach, Stinson failed him. In the great state of Kentucky on that hot August day, horses were being given better treatment than the young athletes in that Louisville suburb. Any fool knows that you can't run a horse hard in hot and humid weather without plenty of water breaks.
It's a good thing I won't be in the jury pool for this case. My mind's already made up. Criminal stupidity in the first degree.

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