Monday, January 4, 2010

An old-man rant

If you've heard this before (and if you're a longtime reader of this blog, you have), please bear with me. I'm going to climb back up on my soapbox to bemoan the drop-of-a-hat frequency with which school districts either order school delays or call off classes entirely. As early as Sunday night, school districts in Western Pennsylvania already were posting two-hour delays for Monday’s classes. By Monday morning, a lot of them were changing those delays to cancellations, apparently because of the inch of snow we received. I'm all for keeping our children safe, but has anyone calculated the amount of instruction time lost when all those two-hour delays are added up? At the risk of being labeled an angry old man (I am one), I have a tale to spin for those who grew up any time after the 1980s. Back in the dark ages, 30 or 40 years ago, kids went to school in the winter, waiting outside at bus stops, if necessary, unless there was a "real" snowfall. And by real, I mean something along the lines of five or six inches of snow. We had a lady who drove our school bus along the snowy ridges out back of Taylorstown and Claysville, and I'm guessing it never occurred to her to check the radio or television for a delay or cancellation when a couple of inches of snow fell from the sky. And if someone had suggested that school be delayed because it was COLD IN THE WINTER, they'd have been looked at as if they were nuts. But today, little Suzie and little Bobby can't possibly be expected to stand outside in cold weather, even if they'd just spend the weekend playing outside for even longer periods. When I was a youngster, I never once remember one of my classmates having to go for treatment at the nurse’s office for a case of frostbite after standing at a bus stop. And while I'm ranting about how soft we've become, I'd also like to discuss, and get your thoughts, on the goings-on at Texas Tech, where the coach was run out of town after it was found that he had made a player sit in a dark tool shed a couple of times. The player in question was Adam James, son of college football legend and current TV sports analyst Craig James. The facts in this case are about as solid as butterscotch pudding, but it seems that the younger James indicated to coaches that he thought he had suffered a concussion, so the response of Coach Mike Leach was to have him sequestered in a dark equipment shed. After complaints from James' famous daddy, Leach was gone. Perhaps the coach wasn't overly sensitive in shaming a possibly injured player in front of his teammates, but from most accounts, this wasn't an instance of a tough-as-nails, hard-working player being reprimanded for a singular incident. Sources say Adam James wasn't well-acquainted with the terms "dedication" and "work ethic." In fact, acting offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley, in an e-mail to university administrators, called James "unusually lazy and entitled." That's not surprising in this day and age, when outstanding athletes, especially those from prominent families, are coddled from an early age and told they're the greatest thing since sliced bread. Texas Tech fans weren't exactly lining up to support James. An Associated Press story about the Red Raiders' Alamo Bowl victory on Saturday night said that James was booed so loudly as he left the field at halftime that it drowned out the marching band that was on the field. And Leach isn't the only coach to lose his job for being less than charming. Kansas recently ran off football coach Mark Mangino, whose crime reportedly was being mean to his players. All of this makes me wish that players like Adam James and the ones who whined about Mangino could spend a couple of weeks with Bear Bryant. They'd last less than five minutes before running home to Mommy.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

And what about Woody Hayes?

--Brad Hundt

January 4, 2010 at 3:50 PM  
Blogger Lori said...

Coach Leach likely was trying to help James. He didn't shove him in the shed, he didn't lock him in the shed, he suggested he go sit in a dark quiet place to rest because James said he might have a concussion. It's my understanding James is not that good of a player. Daddy gives big money to the college so the coach has to play his spoiled brat son. So, if Leach didn't go get him to play, he either was trying to save his life by not playing him or he had a whole team that was healthy enough to play he didn't need him. The college owes Leach an apology and Daddy and Baby Leach will have to get over it.

January 4, 2010 at 4:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Re: school closings.

My question is not when the decision is made, but how the information is being communicated. I am shocked to hear radio stations continue to read longs lists of schools every morning, and TV stations running crawlers (or however they choose). These methods to notify are the same ones used five years ago, ten years ago, twenty years ago.

Hello, this is 2010! Who does not have Internet access, or cell phone access. If notification of campus problems (e.g. Virginia Tech shooting) now rely upon IM, why can't a school closing be done this way? If it doesn't work for something so insignificant as school closing/delay, why is it good enough to tell students to lock down?

Why such archaic notification methods?

January 5, 2010 at 9:06 AM  
Blogger PRIguy said...

These coddled, pampered athletes need to learn that there are rules and that there are people in charge. I applaud Coach Leach. I also fully support Denver Broncos coach Josh McDaniels for benching Brandon Marshall. Marshall can say what he wants to the media, but the coach has a better idea of what's going on.

It used to be that people went out for sports to gain some structure and discipline in their lives. They enjoyed friendships made with their teammates and learned about teamwork, winning, losing, discipline...and learning that there is someone in charge and that there are consequences for actions. We've gotten so far away from that it's pathetic.

As for the snow causing schools to close in an utter panic...that's the result of a morbid fear of litigation. Let a bus slip into a ditch and the lawsuits will fly. When we were kids, it would have been an adventure. A two-hour delay was to allow the driver time to put the chains on the bus tires. Now, a wind chill can cause a two-hour delay.

January 5, 2010 at 10:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Re: School Closings

One can get school closings delivered by e-mail or text message. Ours is handled through WTAE. On another note, why not investigate starting school 2 hours later in January and February. The sports schedules would take some adjusting but we are losing too much instruction time and parents are constantly on edge with planning for delays.

January 8, 2010 at 8:16 AM  

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