From the Editor...an open letter to youth sports leaders:
Over the years here at Youth Runner we’ve always tried to stay away from politics, touchy subjects, gossip and controversy. We do our best to give the athletes some deserved recognition and stay with the story. I’ve been urged many a time to stir things up but it’s just not our style. We’ve left that to forums and opinion columns. One of the perks of being the head guy of this outfit is that I get to change my mind if I want to...and I did. Actually I felt like getting the Sheriff’s badge out of moth balls and saddling up the horse. What pushed me over the edge was hearing more and more reports of sexual abuse from coaches and our trusted leaders in youth sports.
Seriously, from Sandusky to Boy Scouts, youth sports leaders, politicians, church leaders, and coaches….what are these guys thinking anyway?
First I’d like to say that I respect and admire all of the hard working youth sports coaches, administrators, and volunteers in our sport. Some of you are now my life time best friends. I love the fact that most of you don’t get paid and yet you give your time and your own money for transportation, meet fees, uniforms, and more so that families who just don’t have the money can still participate. Kids without a dad get a dad with their track coach. Clubs like the LA Jets teach kids more than how to run fast….school work, being a good citizen, and setting goals. Youth sports are so important for our country right now. You meet new friends, work hard for each other as a team, learn respect, build character, and how to push yourself beyond your own limits. Think about kids that run a mile for the first time……what a feeling of accomplishment they get.
The thing about being a coach or any public leader is that it’s all about trust.
At the very least, I’m trusting that as a coach you have the athletes on your team’s interest at heart….and hopefully the interest of my son or daughter. I’m trusting that if you notice my child has some potential beyond your coaching ability you’ll tell me as a parent and suggest better coaching. I’m trusting that if my kid is going sideways as a student or has bad behavior you’ll give me the heads up. I’m also trusting that on road trips that my child will be completely safe in your care and come home in the same untainted condition they left.
Unfortunately, coaches are surfacing that do not have the best interest of our sons and daughters at heart. In fact for some, the reason they became a coach is only to benefit their own interests.
Besides the obvious life time damage to the young athlete, the sad consequence as a society is that parents have become afraid. I’m a dad, I have two great sons, love children………but now I have to be careful to just say hello to a kid in the grocery store.
We live in a time where as a nation we're tolerant about many things which makes us complacent and forgetful about what's really important. However, there's a posse saddling up that will not tolerate people in leadership taking advantage of our children.
If you’re a Sandusky get some help.
If you’re a predator reading this you know who you are.
My advice.....KNOCK IT OFF and leave our kids alone. Turn yourself in and get help before the posse shows up..because you will be prosecuted.