Those Were The Days
They say times keep changing – but many people believe it’s not always for the better. In some cases, I agree.
I sure wish high schools were as gung-ho about sports as in the past.
Back in the ‘80s, coaches did everything they could to bug me about their schools, athletes and teams.
They took their lumps – win, lose or tie.
I remember when people - like football coach Clarke Pulford at Northern, basketball coach John Petrushchak at Runnymede, track coach Bruce Smith at Central Tech, hockey coach Gary Jobe at Monarch Park, baseball coach Mike Thorpe at Brampton Centennial - and the list goes on and on - would pick up a phone and have a conversation with me about anything in high school sports.
We didn’t always agree, but still spoke.
We spoke about whether it's right to pay coaches, kids attempting to cheat and the consequences, coaches letting students play sports even though grades were border-line and on and on.
Even Chinguacousy wrestling coach George Apostolou wouldn’t hide when I wrote about him tossing a kid against the side of a bus for being mischievous. Yup, he got in trouble. Jack Leitch had some words with me when I asked what game officials did with their earnings – but we still continued talking and are friends. Ian LeMarquand, a Principal, didn't like when I wrote about a hockey team booted out of his Father Goetz tournament because some players spent the afternoon drinking alcohol. But, Ian knew I had a job to do.
People had opinions – and they still do. That’s fair. But they did what they could to get media attention for their students - and took their lumps too.
Things appear to have changed. There are some great coaches out there. Some think they’re that close to the pros. From what I see, some, well, just filling time, too. Lots of folks are sensitive and fidgety. Many are worried about political correctness, not sure whether to tell people that their team lost a high school game. They’re concerned about saying the right thing, liability and what happens if a student is injured while a teacher is coaching.
Event planning is not the same. I remember the days of the Red Feather football game and the huge attraction. Now, at the Rogers Centre, the numbers are disappointing for a football or baseball final. And those all-star basketball games at Jarvis Collegiate put on by Marv Pearl, an icon, along with the Michigan vs Toronto games. Now, they don’t exist.
People don't like to hear about conflicts - just the scores of games and even then only if they look good and not lopsided. I start wondering about education and sport – and is it just a bunch of words.
I am not sure what the future is for high school sports in this province. Seems like each year more and more kids are hooked on electronic toys, part time jobs and boosting grades. Obesity is still a problem. People who want to run intramural sports, like the old days, are running in to resistance from colleagues who are pushing varsity sports. Coaches, well, many of the good ones are retiring too.
Maybe it's time to mandate cheerleading teams at all schools.