I’ve been around high school athletics for more years than I’d care to admit. I’ve grown weary of parents who live through the athletic exploits of their kids.
Parents, many times, have very unrealistic expectations of the abilities of their children. I’ve met very few parents in Carson City who are realistic in their kids’ abilities. Very few. Most think their kids are headed for a Division I scholarship. Not enough parents know or realize how far and few between those scholarships are. A total of 2 percent of high school athletes receive a Division I scholarship. The bulk of Carson athletes usually end up in Division II, Division III, junior college or NAIA programs. Nothing wrong with that. Get as much education paid for as you can.
Parents think they know it all, and too many whine to administrators, coaches and athletic directors about playing time or lack thereof. Administrators need to turn a deaf ear to those complaints. The complaints are always self serving. It’s always about their kids and never about what’s best for the team.
If a coach is willing to work hard for the crappy stipend that coaches get these days, he/she should be applauded. Coaches need to be better compensated. Period. One person pointed out that a 30-year coach makes the same stipend as a first-year coach. That definitely is wrong.
If a program is making progress, the only time a coach should come under fire is if he/she verbally or physically abuses a student-athlete. That’s it.
This brings me to the recent developments concerning the Carson High softball program.
Shane Quilling is no longer coaching the Carson High softball team, and I think that’s a shame. The program was in abysmal shape when Quilling took over. As I understand it, there were not a ton of applicants that applied for the job, either.
Maybe — JV and varsity combined — there were 30 kids in the softball program, and that is bad when you consider Carson has more than 2,000 students. Kids should be coming out of the woodwork.
The Senators, whether griping parents want to admit it or not, have improved in each of the last three years. The program is taking baby steps. If you know anything at all about high school softball, pitching is 80 percent of the game. I can’t remember the last time Carson had a really good pitcher. That is why teams like Reed win all of the time because the Raiders have a dominant pitcher or two. I had an umpire friend of mine tell me that he liked Carson’s scrappiness, but he admitted there wasn’t a lot of talent. I agree.
There were unconfirmed reports, unconfirmed because neither Quilling nor school officials want to say anything on the record, of Quilling yelling at a player on the field for all to see, and even pointing and tapping the chest protector of his catcher.
I know I’m in the minority, but I don’t see anything wrong with that. I once saw Blair Roman, whom I admire a great deal, walk 15 yards onto the field to scream at QB Trey Jensen following an interception in the end zone against Reno. Stuff like that happens, and even the best of coaches lose their cool on occasion.
If you are going to play sports, you are going to be subject to that once in a while. Kids, in my opinion, have been coddled way too much and told how good they are from an early age. They start believing their parents and rec coaches. Big mistakes.
If you are going to play sports, you have to develop a thick skin. You have to take being yelled at once in a while; being embarrassed even — we have all been there. That has, and always will be, part of the deal. If kids want to be coddled, stay in rec ball. Kids today are relatively soft when it comes to accepting criticism, and often they turn a deaf error to coaching.
I remember a time when I missed a sign playing baseball at De La Salle, and the coach yelled at me for a couple of seconds and then was going to take me out in the middle of the at-bat. Talk about embarrassing. I think the only reason he left me in was because a left-hander was throwing and I didn’t hit left-handers well. That made me mad, and instead of shrinking to his yelling, I wanted to prove him wrong and I did. I got a single two pitches later. It didn’t make me think any less of my coach. I respected him. He just didn’t condone mental mistakes and we all knew that.
Quilling doesn’t try to be your friend. That’s not his role. He and his staff try to instruct. I think some people see him as being too negative, but again I go back to kids being way too sensitive; being way too thin skinned. The times I observed practices everything seemed pretty jovial and loose.
Before last season, the last Carson softball coach to make the playoffs was Scott Vickrey. Kids seemed to like playing for Vickrey. He treated kids well from what I observed, made a few playoff appearances, and yet some parents didn’t like him. Vickrey admitted he was softer than he should have been.
I think the decision with Quilling sets a dangerous precedent. I feel the Carson administration didn’t want to deal with parental complaints and decided it was easier to make a change. That is wrong. By making this decision, you are letting the players and parents have too much control. Another issue I have with the administration is they aren’t at practice on a regular basis, and that is the only way you can make an informed decision. Kids, and even student managers, said they were called in to talk to administration. Big mistake.
If softball was winning a ton of games, the coach isn’t an issue. This seems to pop up on the less-successful teams. Winning solves or covers up a lot of issues on a team. This decision, if I were interested in coaching, would steer me away from coaching. Low pay and always parental interference. Who needs that?