A close friend of mine calls it, “the pursuit of the little trophy.” The definition is basically, “adults pursuing personal/school accolades gained through the athletic performance of kids.” This story seems to fit that phrase. Seven senior softball players choose going to their senior prom over the possibility of playing in a state championship game on Saturday. Then the athletic director, who is supposed to be an educational administrator, publicly questioned their decisions?
According to wnyt.com / NewsChannel 13, Shenendehowa Athletic Director, Chris Cullnan commented on the players’ decision, “I think the students are living in the moment. I think they see this as sort of like, you know, a big moment for them with the prom and I understand that, but with the idea of trying to win a state championship is something that you have for the rest of your life.” It appears that Mr. Cullnan did not have a memorable prom experience. Too bad but there is no need to take that out on his student-athletes.
For an educational administrator to publicly question the personal choice of seven student-athletes to chose another school sanctioned event is a giant swing-and-a-miss. For that same administration to punitively not allow those seven seniors to play on Friday in the semi-finals is unconscionable. Would Shenendehowa be in the state semi-finals if not for the performance of those seven seniors? I would guess probably not. If they make the championship game, maybe some or all of those seven would change their minds and if they don’t, some younger player gets the opportunity to enjoy the awesome experience of a state championship game. Who loses there?
We are supposed to educate our young students to be able to handle difficult decisions in life. Does anyone think it was easy for anyone of these seven student-athletes to make this decision? They have all likely put a ton of time into a game they love, playing hundreds of games in their lifetime. There is one senior prom. School championships are terrific but sometimes life gets in the way. That happens in life. Sometimes we miss weddings and funerals because of work. We all have to make tough choices for our entire lives. These seven student-athletes made theirs. Instead of questioning their decision of choosing prom over a trophy, we should respect their young adult, difficult choice. By the way, many of us know people that ended up marrying their prom date. Sometimes that is for the rest of your life too. This all comes from someone that was a senior administrator in Division I college athletics for years and was part of 114 DI championships. Student-athletes win when administrators have perspective on life.
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