April 13, 2017
By Justin Lasher
I came across a headline/article late yesterday afternoon that really touched a nerve. While this is not uncommon, typically, I am able to gather my thoughts and move on. Here we are some, almost twenty four hours later, and I am still infuriated, disgusted, and completely irate.
The story goes like this. A local high school varsity baseball coach was arrested and charged with endangering the welfare of a child, after he was accused of putting a MMA chokehold on one of his players, subsequently knocking the student unconscious. While it doesn’t seem like the coach intended to knock his player unconscious, he did voluntarily offer to show his players the cokehold move, thus resulting in the above. You can find the full article here;
Having years of experience, myself, of leading, teaching, and coaching youth of all ages, this set me off. At no point should an adult, let alone a coach, who is entrusted with responsibility of these young adults, let something like this happen, regardless of the intent. Coaches must hold themselves to a higher personal standard. Students/players are looking to these individuals for direction, teaching, and the example of how to act, play, and simply handle themselves in everyday life. These young minds are very impressionable, and in no way, shape, or form, should you be engaging them physically, let alone, choking them out.
I want to know where our level of personal responsibility has gone, as this incident, and many others is occurring more often than not. This man is an adult, acting like a child. I guarentee you, that just about all of his players acted more responsible in this situation than he did, and they should be looking to him, their coach, to set the bar, not the other way around.
When a parent signs a permission slip, allowing their child to participate in a sport, they are entrusting the safety, health, and well-being of their child to the coaches. While this may not directly be written on the slip, it is well assumed and obvious that this should be the number one responsibility of all coaches. A parent should never have to worry about receiving or hearing news of incidents such as this happening to their children.
I do not hold the school or its administration responsible for this behavior as the state requires each coach to go through many tests/certifications to be given the privilege of coaching today’s youth. While I understand that this may have been a huge mistake on the part of this coach, and his intent wasn’t to harm the young man, I do hope that he is prosecuted to the fullest, not to set an example, but to show that this behavior can never happen and will not be considered acceptable, regardless of what societal views may be.