School board comment was unfair, hurtful


I want to write a response to the comment by an unnamed school board member in the article about ACH track and tennis coming to our school for practices.

In the bottom of that article, it was mentioned that there was concern about not having enough players for softball and bringing up eighth-graders in order to have enough players. This is something that is allowed now that we are in the 2B class and many other schools do this so that their high school programs can continue to exist and compete. I think that it was very inappropriate and rude for this board member to say “the softball coach needs to do a better job of recruiting at the high school.” Does this board member know that it is against the WIAA rules to “recruit” players?

I have been involved in this high school’s softball program for nine seasons, and I was only the “paid” assistant for three years. I am not doing it for the money, obviously. This is only Flint’s second season as the head coach; he is also not doing it for the money. I love softball. I played as a kid, in high school and also in college. I also started coaching a majors team in our CAYBA league three years ago because I wanted to try to help improve our young players and prepare them for high school softball. This takes up a lot of my time. Time I could have been spending with my own family. It means a lot to me to try to help improve our young softball players. I thoroughly enjoy the interaction with the kids and the feeling I get when they improve because of their hard work and instruction I have been able to give them. I don’t know what I would do in the spring time if I didn’t have a softball team to help coach. So making comments like this one really hurts a person’s feelings when so much of your time, efforts and emotions go into “helping” a program, not for your benefit but for the benefit of the kids involved. There really should be an apology from this person.

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I’m sure that the board had good reasons behind their decision, but by putting it all on the coach when, as they said, “recruiting” is not allowed, is not fair. And I’ll just say it: Very few in our community care about any other sport except basketball. I have nothing personal against basketball, the coaches or the players. I played basketball in high school and was recruited to play in college. I played three years at Haskell Indian Nations University. So I’ll ask the question. What if there were barely enough players for the varsity and not enough for us to have a junior varsity? Say what you will, but I think the situation and decision would be handled differently.

We have some REALLY good softball players in our community and on our team. I think it’s sad that the same efforts the basketball program gets from our community are not shared with the other sports. Their greatest support is their family, closest friends and their coaches.

Also, do you know that the “assistants” on the softball team are parents who are volunteering? As of right now, only one parent that is helping Flint has a kid on this year’s team. Our daughter is only in fourth grade, and the other volunteer’s daughter goes to school at Nespelem.

So, unnamed school board member, if you think you can do a better job and play by the rules, please come to practice. It starts at 3 p.m. at the middle school. We would be interested in knowing what you recommend we do in the event that we do not have enough players to field a team. By the way … Flint had 20 girls turn out, and he is greatful for each and every one of them.

April Smith


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