As an athlete, I dreaded the days.  Even when I was a returning starter, I approached with anxiety the page taped to the locker room door that would indicate who made the high school basketball team (and, by omission, who didn’t).

As a coach, I refused to do it.  I wasn’t even tempted to cut anybody from my squads.  But I was lucky.  I coached football and golf, and the outdoor practice venues gave us enough room for almost limitless opportunities.

As a parent, I’ve cried over it.  Watching my older son be cut from a non-school basketball program for junior high boys (he switched to wrestling in high school and had a fine career).  Watching my younger son be cut four times from the travel soccer team (he made it on the fifth try and started for his high school freshman and junior varsity soccer teams during the two years after that).

At no time have I been more deeply troubled and saddened than watching the world of sports, to which I devote my working life, say, “No thank you” to my sons, to whom I dedicated my entire life.

As an administrator, I grieve over the process every year.  I listen to complaints of parents.  I watch them go from allies to enemies of high school sports.

Why would we limit squad sizes for outdoor sports?

Why would we cut freshmen who haven’t even matured yet and have only a little idea what they might like or be good at?

Why would we not find room for a senior who has been on the team for three years and continues to have a good attitude and work ethic?

Why would we turn away eligible boys and girls who would rather work and sweat after school than cruise and loiter?

Why do we persist in shutting out and turning against us the parents who would be our advocates today and the students who would be our advocates in the future?

Posted in: Participation


Kurt Kosmowski
Tuesday, September 25, 2012 9:36 AM
This is a tough one. On one hand, getting cut teaches valuable life lessons on handling adversity and can lead to a youth re-channeling their energy. Some who are cut might choose to stay in athletics but as a team manager or similar role and that can be a great re-direction and lead possibly to a career in sports. Others may use getting cut as excuse to "drop out" of extra-cirricular activities and go to "cruising and loitering," while others may use the cut as incentive to work harder and try again or pursue another non "stick and ball" sport as your son did with wrestling. My preference is to continue with cuts in sports such as basketball, hockey, etc., but to expand intramural or club or "B" and "C" teams so youth that want to play can play.
Connie VanderMeulen
# Connie VanderMeulen
Saturday, September 29, 2012 9:15 AM
"Cutting" stinks. As a parent, I can see, at least in our area, kids were "cut" based on wrong reasons like "the name game". As long as you had the "right" last name, you would never be cut. I appreciate the few coaches out there that look for the good in EVERY student who tries to participate in a sport. Many times those coaches are what keep a kid in school or out of trouble or by not being cut at an undeveloped early age they become a star athlete just by being given a "chance". We need more of those kind of coaches and administrators. Afraid those days are over, people will cheat or do things to get themselves or others to shine when there are some that should shine just as much and are put behind. It just keeps getting worse. So sad
Ryan Zenk
# Ryan Zenk
Monday, October 1, 2012 1:15 PM
I was once cut from a 6th grade basketball team. I was heartbroken but determined to work hard in the summer to improve my shooting and ball-handling. I made every team roster through junior high and high school, and eventually became a regular starter and one of our better players. Coming back to coach, the school has a policy of "no cuts" for the junior high programs. What I have recently observed is that these young athletes come into a new season without any incentives to become better because they are guaranteed a spot on the roster. If a young athlete chooses to not participate the following year because they are afraid of being rejected again, what lesson are they learning? Can an adult find employment if he chooses to not apply for jobs after a failed interview? Failure is only negative if a person chooses to not overcome it.

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