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Unfair Preference
by Dewie Hamilton


December 09, 2004

The title of this letter says it all. When I looked up favoritism in my thesaurus "unfair preference" was one of the synonyms. Mike, I agree completely with your letters regarding youth sports in Ketchikan. I could duplicate almost exactly from personal experience your thoughts about having a young man left out of the school basketball team.

He tried out for the team and was told by the coaches that he was likely to be chosen. He had in fact been encouraged to try out, because it was recognized that he had skills that would have been an asset to the team. It was a big disappointment to find out that he did not make the team. He is a good player, with good grades and should have been chosen. There was no legitimate reason given, only that it was a hard decision, and certain players had to be cut.

The bottom line is that there are at least several coaches in Ketchikan who are definitely biased when it comes to choosing a team. There are certain favorite kids who will automatically be chosen. When reading a list of chosen team members, there will always be certain last names appearing on that list, at least once. In some cases, there is more than one of the same last name who are picked. It becomes very predictable.

As several people have said in response to this subject, in youth sports the kids are what really matter. This is very true, and for the sake of the youth participating in sports, the process of choosing teams should be based on the player's ability and not favoritism. It's not fair to the kids wrongly left out of teams, or to the kids who are chosen for the wrong reasons. It affects the team as a whole, and their ability to compete and win games is compromised.

Sure, coaches don't have an easy task and they can't please everyone. There are plenty of good, honest and fair coaches out there. There should be certain standards and requirements that are abided by when choosing team players. If a coach is not following those standards, he should be asked to move on and let someone new give it a try. If the process is corrupt and unfair how can parents or kids feel good about the outcome and have respect for the coaches and leaders? The end result may be that talented kids lose interest in participating and develop a negative attitude toward the adults in charge, and the sports program in general.

Hopefully there will be some positive changes as a result of the numerous opinions expressed on this subject.

Dewie Hamilton
Ketchikan, AK - USA



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