Letter: Let kids play without regard to performance

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To the editor:

From recent letters, we see the outpouring of support from past athletes, parents and coaches for Ron Wojcik, legendary coach of the girls' basketball team at Hoosac Valley who has been dismissed for reasons not revealed but suspected. The administration may be too deeply committed to this badly chosen position to undo it, but allow me to present a modest proposal of what the future may look like if individual achievement and motivation are removed from how we educate and train our young:

Stop rewarding the best performance in every activity and just treat every individual the same, regardless of his or her achievements. The performance of each student and student athlete must be essentially homogenized and made indistinguishable from the performance by any other student.

Let's start with Little League. Kids would just sign up. No tryouts, no practices and random field assignments by the coach. On game day, the kids would just line up and the coach would send the first nine into the game. They would play one inning and a second nine would go in. This would go on for six innings to guarantee that each kid got as much game time as every other kid. Some would be superb and some could not even deliver a loud foul but no record would be kept of individual performances or score and every game would end in a tie — the ultimate fair treatment.

This same approach would be applied to all youth sports. No team would win the season. no player would win recognition as the best offensive or defensive player, no matter how hard he or she worked. There would be no playoffs, no tournaments, no awards, no all-star teams which would naturally present the strongest disincentive to the students themselves and to their coaching staff not to waste their time and efforts in encouraging the student/athletes to bring their best to the field, both physically and mentally, to "be all that they can be," as the recruiter urges or, in the phrase used by the young, to "bring your 'A' game to the field."

Upon graduation from high school, individuals could apply for scholarships to colleges of their choice but there would be no statistics for that college to consider in granting any form of athletic scholarship to that applicant. Following high school or college, the student would look for a job but here, this mindless homogenization would wreak havoc. No employer would have any semblance of a performance record to assist in a decision to hire or not.

Is this enough to induce the decision makers of this travesty to step back and undo the harm created by this trip down the wrong path before they lose this self-starter and all the young people he would have inspired. We'll see.

Timothy J. Sullivan, Jr.,




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