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The final numbers and “taking responsibility”

By DAVID GRAVELY

Pulaski County High School finished up most of their spring sports this past week, with only a handful of track and field athletes remaining to compete for Region 4 and state championship victories.

The numbers are not good.

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With the eight major team sports (football, baseball, basketball, girls basketball, soccer, girls soccer, volleyball, and softball) used as an example, the numbers are worse than I could have ever dreamed they would be.

After everything was said and done, Pulaski County finished these seasons with a record of 37 wins and 113 losses and one tie.  Of those 37 wins, only 9 were against River Ridge District opponents.  The Cougars finished the year 9-66 against RRD teams.  Basketball, soccer, and girls soccer did not win a district game this season.

The playoffs were no better for Pulaski County.  Those eight teams mentioned played in a total of nine playoff games.  The Cougar football team won a first round game against Magna Vista before falling the following week to the Salem Spartans.  Every other team fell in the first round of district tournament play and failed to advance any further.

Against AAA opponents, the Cougars went 1-3 overall.  In AA competition the Cougars went 14-84-1, and against single A teams the Cougars went 23-20.

Of those 14 wins against AA schools, the Cougars only won in football (4 games), baseball (2 games), girls basketball (2 games), volleyball (2 games), and softball (4 games).  Basketball, boys soccer, and girls soccer did not win a game against an AA team this season.

That means, if you’re going by the numbers, that this was the worst year for athletics for Pulaski County High School since 2007.  With the assistance of a few coaches and the Pulaski County High School yearbook staff, I hope to have the complete records for every sports team since the day the doors opened soon.

There’s just not too much to be proud of in those numbers, hopefully next season will be a better one.

With all that said, I thought it was also interesting to note the reaction of some to these stories that I’ve put together over the past few weeks.  Maybe the facts are just a little too much for some to handle, but they can’t be disputed if you’re being honest.  That’s seems to be a little tough to do for some folks.

I’ve noticed an influx of “anonymous” messages and emails sent in to our website in response to these stories.  One reader sent in a comment claiming to be baseball and basketball writer Rodney Young.  Another one (which actually turned out to be the same person) sent in a message claiming to be me.

Hello?  Is that you?  Is this me?  Is this thing on?

Why can’t people just say what they want to say?  Why do they feel the need to take the cowards way out and hide behind a fake screen name or made up email address?  If you BELIEVE in what you’re writing, why not be willing to put your name on it?  Why not be willing to say what you want to say directly to those you’re talking about?

They won’t, and like every other website that allows comments I’m sure we’ll continue to receive them.  It’s easy to hide behind that keyboard and snipe at the kids and coaches.  It’s like poking a stick through a fence to make a dog mad, but the dog can’t see you or get to you.  The only problem is that once in a while, that dog gets loose.

It’s also interesting to note that as hard as some of these people work to post their comments without their names on them, they seem to have no problems bragging about how they “stood up for the kids” when someone starts talking about the stories.  Oddly, it’s those very kids who they claim to be standing up for that want the grownups to butt out.  Maybe we should let the coaches coach, let the players play, and let the fans just cheer for a while.

The saddest part is that if those people would take just a portion of that time that they spend complaining about the coaches, complaining about the team, and trying to fluff up their childs personal stats to do something positive for the kids, it could be better for everybody.  If they would stop worrying so much about “ME” and worry a little more about “WE”, then just maybe Pulaski County could get back on the road to winning some championships and titles.

The school year is almost over, and graduation is right around the corner.  This week we’ll say goodbye to the Class of 2013, and look forward to seeing what next seasons Cougars will be able to accomplish.

I’m hopeful that between now and then, we’ll start to see some of the changes that need to be made for Pulaski County to get back on the right path.

Comments

comments

6 Responses to The final numbers and “taking responsibility”

  1. JT

    May 29, 2013 at 1:22 pm

    Dave,

    Your columns bring up a lot of points that may, or may not, have merit depending on the sport, and are certainly creating converstation and debate within the community, Which is probably good, not to mention probably good for newspaper sales. But I have to take issue with the timing of this particular article. Did you have to publish an article pointing out how miserable our sports seasons were on the same day as the announcement of our “All River Ridge” team selections? In my view, it’s unfortunate that we couldn’t let these young athletes enjoy their selections without being reminded of how inadequate Pulaski County sports have become.
    Additionally, I can’t say I blame a parent for not wanting to put their name to an opinion in a public forum while they still have a child playing in the system. Coaches, teachers, and administrators are all people. I’m sure there are a lot of people with opinions that may not want to say anything that could be held against their child.
    Next year the whole classification system changes. Let’s hope with those changes Pulaski County Sports gets a fresh start and new beginning. Maybe we can stop dwelling on what we haven’t been, and focus on what we can be. GO COUGARS!!

    • Editor

      May 29, 2013 at 3:56 pm

      JT, thanks for your response, and congratulations on Cole finding success in soccer and track. I’m looking forward to seeing how he progresses over the next few years.

      While I couldn’t tell you a thing about newspaper sales, I can tell you that the articles do have people talking. Anywhere I go since starting them, people want to talk about it. Parents, coaches, players, teachers, and former players all seem to be of the same opinion….it’s time to fix whatever the problem is and get back to winning. Most people don’t seem to have a problem with me using what they say for future articles. As bad as it might be, the truth is the truth, and I would certainly hope that a coach wouldn’t hold a child responsible for something their parent has to say, especially if it is the truth. I’m one of those parents. I have a son, a step-son, and a step-daughter currently active in athletics at PCHS. I’ve made a point of making sure they know that if they get playing time, it will be due to their hard work and not something I’ve done. If they ride the bench, it will be because they failed in some way to earn that playing time.

      As for the timing of the article, I think running them together make an even stronger case for getting to the heart of the problem. We DO have quality kids in Pulaski County. With that said though, we are still not winning. That is a fact, and while we may not like it, it does need to be pointed out. Again…and again….and again. It needs to be pointed out because we still have some in our community who believe that just because we’ve had success at one sport or the other from time to time in the past, that we’re still having it. It needs to be pointed out until a change is made.

      You and I both know that there are parents, players, and in some cases coaches who are a part of the problem. We need to give our coaches and our athletes the things they need to find success. Part of that is letting the coaches do their jobs. Another part is holding them accountable if they fail. The same attitude has to be applied to the athletes. The best players are the ones who will work hard for success and work as a team. Those that don’t shouldn’t be rewarded with playing time “just to be fair”. That’s what gym class is for.

      It’s going to have to start with making people aware of the problems. After that, administrators at PCHS are going to have to take action to fix those problems. Just this weekend I’ve been told about some new things that are happening in Cougarland, and if they are true it will absolutely be a step in the right direction. Once I verify these things, I’ll be writing about them, so be sure to check back for that.

      Every player that I’ve spoken with about this have said the same things to me. They are sick and tired of not winning, and they are glad to see that we’re finally taking a look at the facts and trying to get things going in the right direction. It’s going to take time to right the ship, but it can be done. It’s going to take long hours of hard work and dedication on the part of the players. It’s going to take the parents letting the coaches do their jobs, and it’s going to take the coaches being able to make the decisions to move their programs in the right direction. The final step, which will be the hardest one, is going to be on the administrators and school board. That’s going to be not only supporting those coaches and giving them what they need to be successful, but stepping in when it becomes apparent that it’s just not happening and making changes.

      Pulaski County has fallen far enough. It’s time to stop patting ourselves on the back for things that happened in the very distant past. It’s time to rise back to the top.

      David Gravely
      Sports Editor

      • JT

        May 31, 2013 at 11:29 am

        Thanks, it’ll be interesting to see where Cougar Sports are by the time our kids graduate.

        Okay, so, who specifically do you think the problems are? Outside of some badly needed facility upgrades and improvements, everything else boils down to people. So who exactly do you want to call out? It’s not the rec department. It’s not up to the rec department to develop high school atheletes. Sure they can help identify them, but the serious athletes will be training in other leagues. Personally, I don’t know anyone, except for the soccer coaches, well enough call them out. And I have no desire call them out. Not just because my son plays for them, but because they all just finished their first seasons and deserve the opportunity to see what their vision for the program can become. I think you’re pretty naive if you think what you say won’t affect your kids. If you’re truly interested in the truth and looking for answers, then it doesn’t matter whether you know the identity of the person or not.

        It’s also worth mentioning that these people aren’t coaching for the money. I don’t know exactly what the figures are, but in some cases, I’d be surprised if it pays much more than the gas it takes for them to get to and from practices. Not to mention, that it’s almost impossible for a person with a “normal” 9 to 5 job to be a coach. People aren’t exactly knocking down the doors trying to get into coaching at Pulaski County High School or any other high school for that matter. I’m not suggesting that we should be satisfied with a subpar coach. I’m just pointing out that getting and keeping good coaches is a lot easier said than done.

        • Editor

          May 31, 2013 at 5:45 pm

          I just finished this weeks article. I think it sums up everything.

          The point of these articles was not to call out any particular person, it was to get the wheels turning. As I said in one of the previous ones, it takes the effort of everyone involved to find success. If we’re going to get where we want to be, it’s going to take everyone (coaches, players, administrators, and parents) working together towards that goal.

          No question our coaches aren’t paid enough for what they do in many cases.

          My hope is that a standard is set (win), the time is given to reach that standard (3-5 years was mentioned), and if not then we look at doing whatever needs to happen to reach that standard. If that means looking at new coaches, then it should be looked at. If it means reevaluating the commitment of the players to the program, then look at that.

          I think we have the right pieces in place to find success, we just need to put them all together.

          Dave

  2. Closer to the Truth

    May 30, 2013 at 7:08 am

    Wow Dave! Can you be any more unprofessional and whiny? There’s a British word for your article: “Whinge.”

    You make the assumption that anyone who posts a comment under a nickname is a trouble maker. Hence your dog and fence analogy. That’s an assumption. You know what they say about assumptions; You make an (!) out of yourself…

    Here are of few reason to use a nickname that you may not have considered:

    1) A nickname is simply that. In my case “Closer to the Truth” is a jab at a user who calls themselves “The Truth.” Usually someone who goes by that nickname couldn’t be further from the truth and replaces opinions as facts and calls them facts.

    2) Safety. This is the type of county where someone would look your name up in the phone-book and show up wanting to fight just because you said that so and so wasn’t a good coach.

    3 No one here is authenticated properly. All comments must be considered anonymous. I can put anyone’s name in that little box. You (and the reader) have no idea who actually wrote it.

    Poor job Dave. This is a cancel subscription and write a letter to the editor type of poor job.

    • swarm75

      May 31, 2013 at 10:54 am

      You are a “clown” (closer to the truth) and I understand why you should continue to be anonymous as I have read your post on these articles and it is clear you are out of touch and IMO most certainly part of the problem and not the solution, with your mindset. I think we can all agree (except maybe you) that changes need to be made at many/all levels and it is time to stop living in the past and either do the things needed across the board from rec to high school to be more competitive or just shut up and except being mediocre at best which is what pulaski county has been for some time.

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