About a month ago, he called in that he would miss a practice and called late the next. Very uncharacteristically and against our team policy, he was vague about his reason. I pulled him out for a "discussion". I contemplated going full ream or opening it up for him to explain why his commitment level wasn't where his teammates needed it to be. Thank God I chose the latter. He went on to explain that an immediate family member was dealing with a serious illness. I got a call later from one of his parents asking that I keep things confidential to make it easier for the family to get through a very tough time. So, it has become a very difficult line to walk. My actions with the player, I'm sure, didn't look strong enough to the team and even to the other coaches. But I can't explain the rationale behind those actions due to the requested confidentiality of the family. It's what's below the surface, in this case.
What a lot of folks not in education don't understand is the external factors that come into play when discipling a player. Many factors can influence things. Everything from does the kid have access to food at home to is the kid dealing with a terminal illness to a parent that others don't know about. These factors can not be discussed with others and at times it may appear that an administrator/coach/teacher, etc. are taking it easy on the kid. Lets not forget that these coaches are educators first. The first question to be answered when discipling a kid, is "whats right for the kid".
Okay, I get that some kids have it hard. Very hard! But aren’t all teenagers going through something? And yes, serious illness is not the same as “OMG, I’ve a huge pimple!” But a kid uncharacteristically, calling out and being late to practices is a looooonnnnggggggg way from “F... you!” IMO. Just not in the same stratosphere.
My life wasn’t easy and neither was it for most of my friends growing up in rural SC but I never witnessed or even heard about someone telling the coach “F.... you!” There’s a whole lotta grey area that you can dance around before you get to that phrase.
I get that we don’t know all the facts but why didn’t he bunt - twice? Because he’s having problem at home just doesn’t seem like the reason. Again, I get it - the kid could be hurting - but are we going to now think that “outside influences” are the only reason that kids do stupid things. Also, what about the other kids on the team who maybe going through tougher circumstances and still listen to and respect authority.
I’ve been thinking about this quite a bit today and can’t think of one scenario where this is acceptable. Sorry!
Again, this is my opinion and I don’t expect to change anyone’s viewpoint.
I get it, and for the most part, and if there is not extenuating circumstances the kid should be booted...
But most folks don't have a clue what some kids are going through. My wife is an administrator in our local school district. We live is a wealthy area with schools that are considered some of the top in the country. In addition our town is consistently named as one of the best places to live/raise a family in the US. By all accounts its a community where you do not expect many family issues. The reality is there are things happening to kids every day that schools need to deal with. Consider this scenario. Its factual based and applied to this baseball situation, but is not related in anyway to the OPs post. This type problem is more common then most folks think.
Kid lives in a home with no father and a mother that is a drug addict. Rotating male role models through the house. No one sticks around long and none of them are upstanding citizens. In fact many are a one time thing and sometimes there is more then one of them in the house in a day. Mother uses them for money and drugs. Men use the mom for the sex. She is not a prostitute in the normal sense, but is a junkie. Many of them abuse her and at times her son. No food in the house as all the money goes toward drugs. The only real meals the kid gets is breakfast and lunch at school.
Kid is a smart kid and realizes that the way out of his life is through education, he also enjoys playing baseball. Wakes up the morning of the incident and finds out that the only constant in his life, his grandmother, has been diagnosed with cancer and has 6 weeks to live. He heads off to school with our really processing the information. Shows up at baseball practice that afternoon. Feels like the coach has put some pressure on him and acts out. While its directed at the coach it really has nothing to do with the coach, but rather a misplaced reaction to his current situation.
In many cases the administration and HC know what is going on. The AC may not and certainly the team would not have a clue. In fact by law the school can not disclose any of this information to anyone. As a coach what are you going to do? You have two options. Kick the kid off the team and possibility put him back into the poverty/drug cycle. Or you can give the kid a break and keep him on the team mentoring him and hopefully keep the kid pointed in the right direction.
Again, this is not always the situation but I used it to illustrate the decision coaches have to make at times. Things are not always black and white, and unless you are one of the directly involved parties you never have all the information.