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View from the sidelines: There’s a time and season for everything

By DAVID GRAVELY

SWT Sports Editorsports logo

As I grow older, I hope I’m getting a little wiser along the way.  Some may dispute that my plan is working out, while others that have known me for a little longer may say they have seen the change over the years.

One thing I’ve learned over the years is that no matter what problem I’m having, no matter what dilemma I’m facing, I can usually find the answer somewhere in the Good Book.  That applies to problems in life and sports alike.

“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven.  A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;  A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; A time to cast away stones, and time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;  A time to get, a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;  A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;  A time of love, and a time of hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.”

I’m pretty sure that there are plenty of you sitting there right now thinking “what in the heck is Dave talking about?”

I heard this passage this past week, and I couldn’t help but think about how much it applies to Pulaski County and our sports programs right now.

We’ve had some rough times in Cougarland lately.  Make no mistakes about it, the wins haven’t been there as much as anyone would like.  That includes players, coaches, fans, and those in charge.

The Cougars have seen some good times over the years.  Even though we haven’t always won it all, there have been some times that we’ve made a run at getting it done.  We’ve won some big games, and at times we’ve lost some big games.

What I see happening right now with our sports is a combination of issues.    I don’t think anyone can dispute a few facts, so we’ll start with those.

To keep it short, I’ll just list the issues as I see them.

-The enrollment numbers are down.

-The loss of jobs in our area forces families to move from Pulaski County at times.  Too many times that means the children of former Cougar standouts now come to Pulaski County wearing a different uniform.

-The VHSL out of season practice rule change is now forcing student-athletes to pick one sport, and sometimes that sport isn’t football.

-For several years, there was a de-emphasis on the importance of sports in our schools, and it came from the top.  It’s going to take a while to recover from that.

-Coaches and administrators sometimes get pressure from parents to put kids where they shouldn’t be.  A freshman should rarely be selected to move directly to varsity for any sport, and not everybody is made to be the quarterback or the running back.

-We’ve spent too long telling our kids how good they are, how they are the next big thing, and in some cases we’ve forgotten to tell them about the importance of the team.

-Loyalty isn’t what it used to be.

There are plenty of things that we could be doing to help build our kids up.  But instead of doing what we can to help build up those athletes so that baseball and basketball could be better, a lot of people would rather spend their time tearing them or their coaches down every chance they get.

Ah, now we’re coming to the point of the verse.

During football season, or basketball season, or baseball season, or any other season for that matter is not the time to say some of the things being said in public today.

Every person who comes out and buys a ticket to see the team play has the right to sit in those stands and think or say anything they want.  Any old Joe at the barber shop, or Bob down at the store, or Fred down the street can (and usually does) have their own opinion of what needs to be done, and most of the time those opinions seem to be about the same based on the win/loss record of the team at that time.  If the team is winning, then everybody seems to think the coach is doing a great job.  When they lose a few, everybody starts talking about how it’s time for new leadership.

But having the right to say it … doesn’t make it right to say it.

During the season, the young men and women who put on the uniforms of the Cougar sports programs deserve nothing less than our full support and respect.  I don’t care if you like or agree with the coaches, they are our kids playing the games.  During the season, support the kids and do what you can to support the teams and programs.  If a coach isn’t getting the job done then without question that can and should be discussed, but it should be done at the right time.  Bashing the kids, the coaches, and the program does nothing for our community but make things worse.

Next Friday night the Pulaski County Cougars will get on a bus and take the trip north on I-81 to Salem Stadium.  When they take the field, they deserve the support of every Pulaski County fan that can make the trip.  It doesn’t matter if you think it was tougher “back in the day” or if the guys in your class played harder.  These Cougars are playing now, and they’re playing for their school.

Let’s get out next Friday and show these young men that COUGAR PRIDE is still alive, and not dead like some think.

Be sure to check back next week for a look at the matchup between the Cougars and the Spartans.

Comments

comments

46 Responses to View from the sidelines: There’s a time and season for everything

  1. Spartan80

    November 5, 2013 at 12:35 am

    That 95 players for Salem is varsity and jv, combined. Salem does not have 95 varsity players.

  2. getreal

    November 5, 2013 at 7:48 am

    Pchsdad, Get real! The JV coach don’t play favorites? That’s a joke, so’s the coach and you are, too. Lawsaon deserves to be the QB but Coach Jones project Grubb can do no wrong in his eyes. Two pms freshman start, the rest are dms kids. No wonder, the JV team is so small. Jordan proved he was the real deal when he outran all the Cougar defenders earlier this season.

  3. bigbird

    November 6, 2013 at 9:38 am

    I can see right now we’re going to have to blend into present day society around here. We need a group hug. That will make everything better. Lets all just get in a big corner somewhere and have a community hug. Lets all love everybody. Obviously our football team loves everybody, they certainly haven’t harmed anyone on the football field this season. All this makes me sick, and it’s hard to imagine that we were once a proud, dynamic football program that created tremendous pride in our school and community. Now we can’t even lineup right. We don’t block. We can’t seem to tackle. All we get is a bunch of excuses, and a newspaper that just wants all the people to please go to the Salem and cheer on the kids. Please go root for the little boys. Hogwash. If the product is good the support will be there, if it’s not it won’t be. The economy isn’t very good. I’m not going to spend money watching something that brings me no pleasure. I haven’t been to a game in a month, and have no idea when I will see the next one. I have made the trip twice to see Jack Turner’s Auburn team. You see, they have a fullback and play physical football. Their people are happy. They see progress being made. Our people see the opposite. I think maybe the guy was right about the potato chips. And certainly obama can be blamed for just about all the misery in our life today, and the additional misery on the way. Gravley, you have fun down in Salem. I will stay home and watch a good movie like almost all the rest of the people.

    • Mike

      November 7, 2013 at 8:06 pm

      Big Bird you are absolutely correct , I am a former player for Dave Brown and a person who loves cougar football. I have no attachment to Hicks or Turner, but I myself have watched both Pulaski and Auburn play this year and it amazes me what I am seeing. I see a school with no history in football that is overmatched playing physically tough and inspired football. I see the opposite from Pulaski, I think we have a great group of kids that need the right motivation to succeed. I only hope we find it for Salem.

    • Mike

      November 7, 2013 at 8:09 pm

      Big Bird what is really amazing is the number of people from Pulaski I saw at the Auburn games.

  4. the truth

    November 6, 2013 at 4:42 pm

    First of all, Jones is a good guy and his family are the best. Don’t down Jones, lets look at the basketball program. How long has it been since they have won anything. Look at this coach, lets talk about him and his coaching. I think the school needs a new basketball coach.

  5. concerned

    November 7, 2013 at 8:58 am

    The problem is everyone doesn’t realize the problem. Hanks is a great basketball coach. Many in the community practically forced out the last guy and he goes on to 2 straight VHSL tournaments, losing in state championship last year. (Guess he wasn’t as bad as many in Pulaski made him out to be.) All people said, he didn’t know what he was doing, had not clue, I wish Hanks would come back and poof a couple of years later and they need another basketball coach.

    Sorry, but the kids aren’t very good, they don’t listen to their coaches because everything they try to do is invalidated & undermined by the know-it-all parents at home There is a persistent alcohol and drug problem in the community, kids like playing but don’t love it to the point that they work on their craft (be it baseball, basketball, football) they go to the way and spend most of the time jacking up threes and half court shots etc.

    I feel sorry for anyone who coaches and has to put up with the non-stop scrutiny of most people who really don’t have a clue. How long are we going to give Jared King before we force him out with all the negativity – I sure hopes he wins the district in his first year or ELSE. Anytime there is an opening they post for assistant coaches and head coaches – please feel free to put in an application.

    • A view from the stands

      November 11, 2013 at 9:52 am

      @Concerned – whichever one it may be since there seems to be several using this name and having opposing views.

      The kids that are good or even great at their sport get lectured to the point of not wanting to care. Especially when they see the problem/lazy kids or half hearted kids getting away with everything but still getting to play and never being punished. How can you keep repecting those coaching if this continues to happen season after season? I am not just speaking about Football, this is the issue with all High School sports. Boys and girls. Just open your ears and listen to the kids and what they say about their team mates that don’t pay attention, that goof off, that get in fights, that cuss and argue at practices but STILL get to start. Never getting reprimanded or losing their starting spot because they know they won’t no matter what they do, how lazy they get or how smart mouth they are to the coaches they’ll play. Our Coaches and School Administration are afraid to punish the kids. Instead we let them get away with way more than they should and embrace them to the point that they think they are invincible. BRAVO BRAVO

      • concerned

        November 11, 2013 at 2:31 pm

        I think our parents are afraid of punishing kids. I can recall several meetings when administrators, teachers, and coaches get calls about their kid being punished unfairly etc. blah, blah, blah. The school system is now responsible for completely raising our communitys’ kids but get none of the support, recognition etc. for doing so. It begins at home. Teachers spend more time trying to retrain and correct behavior is schools than teaching because it wasn’t done properly where it should have been. Your last sentence is the same as mine: Instead we let them get away with way more than they should and embrace them to the point that they think they are invincible. BRAVO BRAVO

        • A view from the stands

          November 12, 2013 at 9:33 am

          You and I don’t live in other’s households, so for you to state the sentence of “I think our parents are afraid of punishing kids.” Is unjustified and NOT true in all households. WHILE they are in school it is upto the adminstration and school personnel to uphold the handbook and code of conduct. I never stated that they are to raise our community’s children, I only implied that while participating in an extracurricular activities the coaches need to take control of their athletes. When they miss practices or are lazy or talk back and/or down to the coaches or instructors, DON’T allow them to participate. What does that promote? They don’t learn anything except “Ha it doesn’t matter what I do I will still get to play and start.” This isn’t rec. league where everyone has to participate. Sometimes Coaches will serve as role models and shape these young individuals. Letting them get by with unacceptable behavior shouldn’t be allowed and it is the school system and coaches to enforce the rules when they are on school grounds and particpating in sports or academic activites. I’ll end this by stepping off my box with a bow and BRAVO BRAVO

          • concerned

            November 12, 2013 at 2:35 pm

            I’m not disagreeing with anything you said.

            As far as school personnel upholding the code of coduct: GOOD LUCK – try upholding the attendance policy and see the uproar from parents, or cell phone policy, tardy policy, late work policy etc. No chance because parents almost always cover for their kids but want other kids punished. Try spending some time with an administrator or teacher if they can talk or answer your questions candidly and anonymously and your eyes will be opened to some of the non-discussed real issues. Again I think you are right – they should uphold those things but I’m telling you it’s borderline impossible and not worth some of the legal battles or time. That’s the way things should be but not the way things are.

            I also never said that you think the school system is responsiblbe for raising the communitys’ children – I said that. School systems continually get tasked with more and more responsibilities other than simply educating oru children but receive little of the support and recognition.

            I used to coach at the high school level. I cannot recall the many times I was told by parents that I can’t do that to their child, or their child was different or special, or I was just playing politics, or I had to stay an hour or even two to wait for parents to pick up their child, or I fed their kids, gave them rides home, bought school & athletic supplies for them & I will tell you that I never, ever, played politics when it came to playing time but that is what I always heard. Everytime I tried to discipline a kid for being late or missing a practice by sitting him a quarter or an inning the parent always had an excuse – Johnny had a dentist appointment, vacation with his family, going to see his grandmother, had the sniffles etc and then I would see Johnny at the store or find out he was at a friend’s house (but I couldn’t “prove it”. It was always something so I just made a policy that it didn’t matter if it was excused or unexcused that player would miss playing time. All I will say is Holy Cow you would not believe the negative responses and backlash I received. I wish more people will understand the amount of time, little pay, missed birthday parties and family events that many of these coaches miss to do things for the communitys’ kids that go unappreciated.

            Again, I will repeat – I’m not on one side or the other. Maybe it is time for Jones to go but I’m not the one that should make that decision and I don’t care who anyone brings in – Pulaski isn’t going to return to the glory days year in and year out. Too much has changed in our community since those precious good ole days. Maybe they will get Tommy Hale now that he is done at Carroll County – he would be a great fit but still not expecting him to make the Cougars title contenders every year.

  6. undone

    November 8, 2013 at 8:59 am

    pretty sad when all the support goes elsewhere to watch a game, doesnt say much about the character of the community in general, sad for the kids

  7. whathappentofairness

    November 8, 2013 at 1:47 pm

    Why does Hanks continue to be a coach in the school system? No other administrator is allowed to do this. It’s all in the family name in this county and school system. It’s almost funny that his kid refuses to play for him. It’s sad, too.

    • Concerned

      November 9, 2013 at 12:58 pm

      He just got the admin job during the year, relax. Who else are you going to get that would be better? The man can coach his tail off and all he does is catch a bunch of garbage. I’m also pretty sure his kid plays golf, is pretty good at it, loves his dad, and plays golf with him often so please don’t put an unrelated comment about family into your misguided reasoning about Hanks being the basketball coach. Shame on you, you’re worse than the this governors race and mudslinging.

  8. Cougar 4 Ever

    November 8, 2013 at 5:16 pm

    Many people have some strong points on this public forum. One thing I want to get out in front of the group. Stop comparing Pulaski and Dublin kids…They are all Cougars now….Stop making excuses for your kids playing time….And living your sports dreams through your kids….It’s your kids job to practice hard and earn his starting spot. If many of you parents would embrace the team spirit and really support the kids and program then none of this crazy back and forth stuff would be taking place. One reason why Salem has had success for many years because their football program starts in the receration years through middle school. All levels of the football program in middle school and high school run the same plays. When Coach Jones came to PCHS he wanted all football levels in middle school and recreation to adopt the football offense of his style. He asked to have a coaches meeting with all middle school coaches and the pulaki middle school coaches opted not to show for the meeting and adopt the new offense style of the future. This drew a line in the sand saying that they had better ideas than a all county approach to a offense system county wide…..This resulting in a losing season for pulaski middle school football team and the firing of the pulaski middle school coaches for not be responsible for the kids in the locker room and leaving them unattended…..Pulaski Middle School got new coaches and had a winning season….How ironic is this….So simply saying people just care about the kids and support are program and the coaches…Many of the kids love the coaches of PCHS. 3-4 of the coaches have no roots to Pulaski County. If some of this so called players from Pulaski Middle School feel that they have been wronged by a coach because he coached at Dublin Middle School is Crazy!!! I see how your kids perform under pressure how they do not tackle, Miss blocks and are slow runners….So in my oppinion the best product is getting out on the field…Maybe start by encouraging your kid to work harder at his craft and skill set. This will give him the true chance to play for the Cougars…If that does not work then maybe you do need to move your kid to another school…..

    • check the facts first

      November 11, 2013 at 7:00 pm

      You made good points about all the middle school players eventually becoming Cougars and working together. You made a few mistakes,also. The PMS coaches did attend a coaching session that was attended by rec league coaches and middle school coaches. PMS ran alot of the Cougar plays with some adjustments due to personnel. All three PMS coaches played at the college level and loved their players. They tried everyday to teach their athletes how to act in class, to respect their teachers and themselves, and to love the game of football. The wins didn’t come as much as they would have liked, but their hearts and souls were poured into the program. The staff was happy to see the success of the 2013 Orioles and are excited to see them play JV football next year. Last point, I would hope this venue would focus on the positive for our young athletes. Everyone seems to be an expert in how coaches should operate their team and that Pulaski County should win every contest. My biggest wish as a former Pulaski Middle and Pulaski High coach is that the young athletes receive good coaching, good support from their fan base and play to 100% of their God-given potential. Young athletes, cherish your high school years when you have the privilege to represent your high school and community. You will miss it when it’s gone. It’s such a special time of your life. JP Widner

  9. Basketball Fan

    November 8, 2013 at 6:18 pm

    Now this conversation has moved to bashing Hanks? Really, the man is a great coach. We do not have the talent to compete. You can box out, but when the other guy has a 36 inch vertical, he gets the ball. Ballhandling has to be learned before high school. The talent pool is not there. We are a rural county and that has not bode well for kids getting together to play in the summer. Sports are like most things, continous practice is the key. That is only one of the reasons we struggle, but overall we need a larger base of parents that have good sense and stop all this bickering.

  10. Nebulon

    November 9, 2013 at 7:00 am

    In the immortal words of Jim Mora, “PLAYOFFS??!! Playoffs??? You wanna talk about PLAYOFFS??!! I just hope we can win a game!”

    If you’re reading this then the SWT censors finally allowed one of my posts. It’s sad we live in a world where censorship is allowed. And certain people… Feel so insecure they can’t allow a post on their site.

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