Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Playing Lax: Very Lax

So, is lacrosse season over yet?

Actually, it is, and not a moment too soon. My boys at North Catholic High School saw their season mercifully end a week ago today with a 16-4 loss . . . and it wasn't that close. We finished the season with a record of 5-11 . . . and that wasn't that close, either.

So, what went wrong?

I think we started off very well, winning four of our first six games, then we folded faster than Superman on laundry day. In our last ten games, we had one win and nine losses. The lone victory came against winless Cardinal Dougherty, and we only beat them by a score of 5-3.

In the interim, we saw a few players quit the team, both figuratively and literally. Some kids packed it up, never to be heard from again. We could deal with that. What was completely unacceptable was the players who quit on us, but still came to (some) practices and all of the games. At one late season practice, we had four players show up. Four out of forty.

At one of the last practices of the season - with two games left to play - our senior "captain" told us that nobody cared anymore, and he didn't feel like practicing because we weren't going to make the playoffs. Nice. This same senior then skipped the final practice of his high school career because his "allergies were bothering" him. Now, that's leadership!

What's worse is that the few very talented players we had turned into prima donnas almost overnight. They would barely hustle during practice, and hustle even less at the games. It was infuriating, but not as infuriating as the call from one of the prima donna's mothers. After the season, she became enraged because her baby boy was not selected to the All-Catholic team.

As if any of the other league coaches would vote for a kid on a 5-11 team to the All-Catholic squad.

I wish I knew a way to get through to these kids, but as my fellow coach said, we can't play the game for them. The sad truth is that - in Philadelphia, anyway - high school sports is dying a slow death. Today's teens are more interested in PS3, iPhones, and computers than they are in sports. I hate to sound like the Old Man, but when I was in high school, all I ever did was play sports. And when I did play, I always listened to my coaches and gave 100%. Those days are gone forever, and it's a damned shame. I still love coaching, but it is becoming more and more difficult with every passing year.

Thankfully, Kyle's season is still going on. It's nice to watch some kids playing for the love of the game.

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