Dear Athletic Support: With everything else that’s going on this year, my son’s football team has been decimated by transfers. These are boys he’s grown up playing peewee football with, and now they’re leaving to go to surrounding schools. They all have different reasons. Some went to smaller schools to get more playing time. Others transferred to bigger, more successful programs. There were even a few that just had issues with the coach at our school and left because they didn’t want to play for him anymore. This is a far cry from what I remember back when I was playing ball. Whatever happened to playing for the home team? Whatever happened to team spirit! Seems to me like we need to stick together now more than ever. Is this the new normal? What’s going on here? — Dazed Daddy
Dear Dazed: These days, loyalty is hard to come by. I don’t know exactly what shifted, but it happened long before COVID ever hit. Five years ago, I was a head high school football coach, and I was battling this same sort of problem.
Our team was struggling to win and players were transferring left and right. Like you said, they all had their reasons, many of which were valid. Still, it irked me to see kids who lived in my school district playing for the crosstown rival.
From a player’s perspective, I’m sure it hurts on both sides. Young athletes who stayed put probably felt abandoned. While anyone who left had to deal with being the new kid at school.
The worst part was, some of these athletes didn’t get a say in the matter. Their parents made them move. The parents were the ones who had issues with the coach or thought their son might get a better chance at a scholarship at a different school.
I’m sure it worked out well for some, but there were many kids who ended bouncing around throughout their careers, never quite settling into a perfect fit. For any parent/athlete considering transferring to a new school for sports, just remember, the grass isn’t always greener on the other side.
Dear Athletic Support: I keep trying to see the light at the end of the tunnel that is 2020, but I’m starting to think that light just might be a train. My daughter is having a tough enough time making the transition back to school. She hates wearing a mask, she can never remember her password for her virtual assignments, and she says the teachers are all grumpier than usual. Combine this with the fact that we’re supposed to be travelling multiple times next week for her volleyball games, and I’m ready to throw in the towel. My daughter hasn’t mentioned quitting, but if she does, I will be happy to pull the plug. I know this isn’t much of a question, but I just wondered if you were hearing similar sentiments from other parents out there? — Looking For The Light
Dear Looking: I hear from disgruntled parents, teachers, and administrators daily. The flip side is, I also hear from parents, teachers, and administrators who are extremely encouraged by what they’re seeing at school.
So what’s the rub?
I don’t remember where I heard this next line, but it’s stuck with me: “What you look for in this life you will find.”
That’s it. That’s all I’ve got. Keep looking for the good and sooner or later we’ll all get through this.
Eli Cranor is a former professional quarterback and coach turned award-winning author. Send questions for “Athletic Support” to firstname.lastname@example.org or use the contact page on elicranor.com.