SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


Varsity Athletes
By Jerry Royster


December 03, 2007
Monday AM

I was disappointed last month when I checked the police report and saw that two Kayhi athletes were arrested for minor consuming alcohol. But I was even more disappointed to see the Kayhi varsity rosters today and read that both athletes had made their respective teams.

I'm not going to tell another parent how to raise their children, just like I wouldn't expect people to tell me how to raise mine. So I'll just speak in general terms here and say that in MY opinion, both the parent s and school administrators should not let these kids play this season.

To harsh? I don't think so. If a Kayhi athlete is caught drinking DURING a specific season they are dismissed for the rest of that sport's season. But they can play any other sport that year that they want. A few years back an athlete was arrested for selling drugs and was booted off the baseball team . . . . but a few months later was allowed to play for the basketball team. During the same school year.

Does this make sense? Really, you can be arrested the day before your sport's season starts and your fine to play the season. But get busted ONE day later and you have to sit out. Is the crime being committed less of a crime depending on the date it happened? Is a MCA on November 12th not the same as one on November 13th? We're basically telling the kids that it's OK to drink or be arrested for whatever charge as long as it's not during the months that their sport is being played. That's not the message we should be sending.

I'm involved in the sports community and unfortunately, the majority of high school varsity athlete parents out there wouldn't make their child miss a sport's season. Parents get caught up in the glory and respect and elitism of having a varsity athlete. In some cases, more so than the athlete even does. They don't want their children to miss their chance at local stardom, nor do they want to ruin their own opportunity to be patted on the back because their kid plays varsity sports.

Back when I was in high school my father's rules were pretty simple. Get arrested, caught drinking, smoking or doing drugs, or get a D and I was done for the year. Guess what? Come February 15th at a house party with my buddies and offered a beer, I knew that if I got caught then come July I'd be sitting in the bleachers watching my friend's play baseball, rather than being on the field playing with them. I turned the beer down.

My parents were proud of my athletic accomplishments. But they were more proud of my academic achievements and my behaviors off the playing fields and in the real world. They were more proud that I was never arrested for Minor Consuming Alcohol than they were that I got my picture in the paper for playing basketball. When somebody would walk up to my dad and congratulate him on me making an all-star or varsity team he would quickly respond "Yes, and he's got a 3.5 gpa average as well".

I can already imagine the responses to this letter. They are just kids. Everybody does it. They deserve a second chance. They'll never get another chance to go back and play high school sports. And that, my friends, is the problem. Having a kid play a high school sport has become WAY too high of a position on the importance scale of life. And I'm sure the people involved are great kids. Smart, kind, great personalities, etc. But the bottom line is that they chose to do something illegal and were caught by the police doing it. Varsity athletes are supposed to be role models for the rest of their peers. Kids that other students can look up to and aspire to be like. I've got an 8 and a 5 year old and I don't want them growing up thinking it's OK to get arrested for drinking in high school. That as long as they don't do it during their specific sport's season then there will be no punishment involved from the school.

I'm not saying these kids should go to jail or be expelled or anything like that. They are just kids, and kids will experiment and do silly things without thinking of the consequences. I just think that if you are arrested during a school year, you should lose your eligibility to play sports during that year. I think that would make the majority of our high school athlete role models take a second thought before they drank or used drugs.

Just my personal opinion. I'm interested in other's thoughts on the matter. Though I hope people can stick to the actual topic and not resort to name calling or insults like a lot of letter writers do when they disagree with a topic.

Jerry Royster
Ketchikan, AK

About: "Fan of high school sports"

Received November 30, 2007 - Published December 03, 2007


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