Letter: Middle school athletes should have playing time
Living in a small town gives more kids a chance to be involved in sports, which is great. When they are younger and attend the practices and follow team rules, it is mandatory that they actually play. I kept score for a lot of softball and baseball games, and it was my responsibility to make sure each player played a minimum of two or three innings.
It is my understanding that the same rule follows in middle school, or at least it should. There certainly is a lot involved having a child on a sports team: practices, special shoes, equipment, making sure of transportation to and from games, et cetera.
It really makes me sad to see players who have been at all practices and following all the rules never get to play. Families come to watch their kids play and wonder why they aren’t. And you can imagine how the player feels – embarrassed.
High school is a whole different scenario – wanting to win – but middle school should be a learning experience, trying to learn who they are. Think of a 110-pound kid in sixth grade who could eventually become that 170-pound linebacker in high school. But he was one of those kids who stood on the sidelines and never got into a game, so he lost interest, not playing after middle school.
All coaches are supposed to be mentors, teaching the kids to have a strong work ethic, respect, sportsmanship and self-esteem, plus a lot more. The initial lessons start at a very young age.
I personally think that in middle school, any student who participates in a sport should be guaranteed some playing time. After all, they are entitled. Or at least should be.