The rambling thoughts of a Modern Orthodox Chassid (whatever that means). Contact me at emansouth @

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Loyal to a Fault

I haven't written about school sports in a while. I have been thinking about it a lot but have been reluctant to write for reasons that will become obvious.

Our younger son, a junior, plays defense for his high school floor hockey team. He is quite good; actually very good. Perhaps one of the better defensemen in the yeshiva league (if you don't believe me, ask around!).

Of the 11 players who plays regularly (besides the goalie) he is one of only three juniors who gets significant playing time. Therein lies the problem.

Although I don't purport to know everything about floor hockey, I have been a keen observer for over ten years, ever since our older son (also a very accomplished player) began to play. I never miss one of our sons' games unless I am away on business (pretty infrequently) so I have seen countless games over the years.

It seems to me that there are three juniors on the bench who are better than three of the seniors currently playing. The team is doing ok but is really not sharp. I believe that they could be doing much better with a few personnel adjustments.

(Remember, I have no personal dog in this fight. My son probably plays more minutes than anyone on the team. Also, this is me speaking; my son will not discuss this issue with me).

So what's the problem?

I think the problem is simple. The coach, whom I admire and respect (actually, as I have written before, I believe he is one of the best influences on my son in the entire school), is tremendously loyal to his players. Keep in mind that he is also the coach of the junior varsity so he has been with these players for four straight years. I believe that he believes in his seniors and is giving them the benefit of the doubt.

Is this a good thing? Certainly, the midah of loyalty is important. And, there is no doubt that the players recognize this and learn from it. But can loyalty be taken too far? Do you sacrifice the season for loyalty?

I don't know the answer.

(And, as a final caveat, it could be that the coach totally disagrees with my assessment of the talent, that this has nothing to do with loyalty and that I am totally off base).



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