Hollidaysburg board shows its hypocrisy

If only school boards would use their power to benefit the kids, we’d live in a utopian society. My statement is not one of political nature, as politics are what have caused the mess in Hollidaysburg.

It is of common sense. It comes from personal experience. I’m not a doctor, lawyer, or politician, so I guess I’m irrelevant. I’m not a parent so I don’t feel the pain. But many moons ago I was benched, told I was good but not good enough and sent away with a bad taste in my mouth.

Kids, if you play competitive sports, this will happen to you at some point. It’s awful, but your competitive nature forces you to move on and win at something else.

Stats show student-athletes and those involved musically and academically end up being productive members of society, even after finding out they’re not the next Beethoven or Babe Ruth.

I would hope producing productive citizens would be the ultimate of the school.

So the nine elected bodies known as the Hollidaysburg Area school board had the chance to make a positive productive statement about athletics and academics and how coaches should work with their players.

But in typical Hollidaysburg school board fashion, they blew it again.

First, the board is hypocritical. Two years ago, they fired the girls softball coach because he wasn’t winning enough. OK, they declared winning to be important. Fair enough.

Now, practically the same board has decided that winning is not as important as making sure everyone in glittery Tigerland gets a fair chance before head coaches make off-season teams with players from other schools.

What is more important – winning or equity? The board members with athletic experience know both is impossible.

I’m not here to say which one is right. I’m just here to say pick a side and stick to it. I wish the one or two board members who’s kid didn’t get adequate playing time on the hardwood would just say, “I ran for the board to get rid of the coaches because they hurt my kid’s feelings.”

If that’s your stand, great, but understand the coaches are probably recruiting because if they don’t win, they fear they will be dropped like the softball coach.

Second, and most important, the board had a chance to publicly regulate the pulling of student-athletes in multiple directions. As a basketball and baseball coach, I’ve seen kids go from my 3-5 p.m. practice, to open-gym from 5-7 p.m. and to lifting from 7-8 p.m. – and that’s in junior high.

It can be a brutal day, but to get that playing time to make their daddy proud, they must go. Coaches unfortunately have to pull the kids everywhere for fear of losing, which means no more coaching.

Alas, this board can still save face.

They need to consider putting a policy in place that regulates student-athletes when they are in-season, that two-three hours of practice/travel/games every day is good enough, that you should have time each night to go home after sports to eat, tell mom you love her, do the homework (and the dishes), maybe sleep, and that any coach who makes players go to “open gyms” and “lifting” away from the in-season sport will be fired immediately.

Jeff Miller,