CornerKICKS: There’s still time for adult leaders to “Do What’s Right!”

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Joe Trost, columnist for #PrepSportsReport

It’s an opportunity in time when pretty much everyone is on the same page with one key item – and I mean everyone.

But yet here we are on Thursday and adults are just bitching and moaning at one another or saying how sad this is instead of doing something to truly help kids while there is time.

Remember, the kids – the main reason people get involved in athletics and education.

As I asked last week when kids were being impacted, I ask again: Will the real adult leaders please stand up and do what is right for the 1,000s of student athletes during the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) strike?

As you’ve undoubtedly heard or seen on the news, if the CPS strike is not over by 3 p.m. Friday – all Class 2A and 3A boys soccer teams will not be allowed to take part in the IHSA state playoffs.

It’s right there on page 94 of the IHSA handbook, policy number six.

I understand the rule, but it’s time for common sense to reign and for the real adult leaders to standup. Rules are made as guidelines, and that’s something adult leaders tend to forget in moments like this.

Where you at Craig Anderson (Illinois High School Association (IHSA) Executive Director), Beth Sauser (IHSA Assistant Executive Director), Karl Kemp (Chicago Public Schools (CPS) Executive Director of Sports Administration), Thomas Smith (CPS Interim Soccer Coordinator) and Brian Papa (Illinois High School Soccer Coaches Association (IHSSCA) President)?

I’m talking to you Andres Hernandez (Solorio athletic director), Nick Browder (Argo athletic director), David Rudolph (Peoria Notre Dame athletic director), Nick LoGalbo (Lane athletic director), Ted Robbins (Lincoln-Way West athletic director), Chris Cassidy (Young athletic director), Bob Quinn (Naperville North athletic director) and Rachel Yzaguirre (Washington athletic director).  

Time to standup and do something Ian McCarthy (Young coach), Eric Willson (St. Charles North coach), Andrew Ricks (Lane coach), Spero Mandakas (Glenbard North coach), Matt Ravenscraft (New Trier coach), Adrian Calleros (Solorio coach), Tory DeLong (Morton coach), Alan High (Herscher coach) and Al Perez (Washington coach).

If I could list each and every single administrative leader and coach in Illinois, I would. We should all be doing something to help the kids.

This isn’t just a CPS or Chicago issue. This is a kids’ issue, which could one day impact a child you know.

I ask you again: What are we doing?

Think about this for a second. Because of adults, kids won’t be able to go out and play a game they love. Even if their first state playoff game isn’t until next Tuesday or Wednesday and the strike ends on Friday evening, Saturday, Sunday or Monday – nope.

I ask you again: What are we doing?

All week long, I worked with different media outlets in the Chicago area to tell the stories of the student athletes, the ones getting lost in this adult battle.

Why do I care? It’s the kids. Imagine if it was you or if it was your child or neighbor or relative? I don’t care if the child is from city or suburbs, public or private schools, rich or poor. I’m pro kids.

When I heard last Friday that CPS was blocking a media outlet from talking to a coach about this situation, that’s when I decided to get heavily involved. From CBS, ABC, WGN and more, I made sure student athletes and coaches were appearing nightly on as many outlets as possible.

I understood why CPS blocked the Friday interview, but that doesn’t make it right. Everyone wants to control the message, as perception is half the battle during strikes.

I ask you again: What are we doing?

Just as the IHSA adjusted from a long-standing rule and allowed high school soccer players to take part in a corporate-led all-star game ahead of their senior year this past summer, the IHSA needs to stand up here and follow its campaign moto: “Do What’s Right!”

Kemp, Smith and every single CPS athletic director, who are grossly underpaid, this is your chance to standup and be true leaders. And where are your athletic director peers?

I don’t care if you are in Edwardsville, Springfield, Champaign, Peotone, Naperville, Gurnee, Libertyville or Crystal Lake. Don’t sit on the sidelines and watch 1,000s of kids get screwed by this rule.

We are supposed to be helping create lifelong memories – not destroying them.

I ask you again: What are we doing?

If this was basketball or football, the coaches’ associations for those sports would be up in arms to support their peers. Where is the IHSSCA? I’ve said it for years, it’s the weakest coaches’ association of all the IHSA sports, because they never rally together.

Leave it up to soccer coaches to stand on the sidelines as high school soccer players get screwed. If they’re not moaning about the officials, coaches are complaining about an athletic director or an opposing coach.

How about standing up and rallying together to do what is right for high school soccer players in YOUR sport who need your support. Prove me wrong IHSSCA and make an effort – do something for the kids.

Where is the IHSSCA board in a moment like this: Joe Moreau (Neuqua Valley), Scott Steib (Barrington), Norm Hillner (Lake Park), Barry Jacobson (Downers Grove South) and Seong Ha (Glenbrook South)?

Silence and looking the other way are weak when kids are paying the price.

I ask you again: What are we doing?

There’s not a single adult in the state of Illinois who doesn’t agree the kids are getting screwed.

It takes one person to start a movement and “Do What’s Right!” If you don’t believe me, here’s a three-minute TED Talk to teach you how to start a movement: CLICK HERE

Stand up. Do something.

There is still time to make this right.

CornerKICKS (normally) will appear on Sundays. Contact Joe Trost at joetrost@gmail.com.

Bio on columnist: Joe Trost is an award-winning writer at Star Newspapers, Chicago Sun-Times, Chicago Tribune and ESPN.com. Locally, he is a three-time statewide IHSSCA Media Person of the Year; founder of the PepsiCo Showdown, the largest high school sports series in the U.S.; and board member for Buddy’s HELPERS, which engages and educates student athletes about Making A Difference On AND Off The Field.

 

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