Fri, Jan. 17

Letter: B-Team decision makes absolutely no sense

Editor: A terrible decision was recently made by some of our local school leaders.  This decision will have a lasting, negative impact on our young student-athletes immediately and for years to come. 

Our schools’ athletic programs will suffer, and large numbers of student athletes will miss an opportunity to compete for absolutely no logical reason.

In a recent closed-door meeting, representatives from seven local schools “unanimously” voted that seventh graders NOT be allowed to play on the B Teams of some (NOT ALL) of our local middle schools. 

I tentatively say unanimously because at least two schools were not represented in this meeting.  Also, not all schools in the region have to abide by this decision.

Historically, middle school sports have A and B Teams.  The A Teams have been comprised of mostly 8th graders, with a few talented seventh graders who earned a spot on the team. 

The B Teams are typically comprised of seventh graders with a few select younger players from 5th & 6th who earned a spot.  The B Team is an ideal forum to develop young, potential talent. 

To not allow seventh graders on the B Team is frankly stupid.  Not only will you stop the development of seventh graders on the cusp of becoming good athletes, school sports programs will ultimately suffer because all athletic development would stop after 6th grade.  I invite someone to explain the logic in this.

A little background information on myself, so you can see where my concern comes from.

I am a life-long Cottonwood resident, parent, volunteer and coach.  I grew up playing sports with and against the very schools involved in this controversy, and just happened to be on the B team in seventh grade.  I am the son of two former teachers and coaches. 

I am friends (until they read this) and colleagues with some of the leaders who made this decision. And, full-disclosure, I am the parent of a seventh grader who just tried out for his middle school basketball team.    

Last week, after try-outs, my son and several of his friends found out they had made the B Team. They were all very excited until the following day, when we were informed a new rule had just passed; no seventh graders will be allowed on the B Team. 

Obviously, these boys were devastated.  This made no sense to anyone.  We were also informed that some schools are allowing seventh graders on their B Teams. 

This, too, made no sense.  However, we learned this isn’t an individual school decision.  The group that made the rule also decided which schools would and would not allow seventh graders to play on B Teams. 

Allegedly, one of the reasons for the decision is that seventh graders are too big, and 5th & 6th graders wouldn’t have a level playing field. 

If this was part of the thought process, shame on those who decided this.  To completely prohibit a group of kids from playing because they might be bigger than other kids is insane.  A larger stature does not necessarily equate to a greater skill set. 

This poor decision was made by leadership lacking common sense and sound judgment.  I fear this decision was made based on individual school shortcomings without considering the overall impact on an entire group of seventh grade student athletes.

So, what’s the solution you ask?  It’s actually quite simple, and I wish our local leaders who have thought of it.

The A Team will be comprised of the top 12-15 players in the school.

The B Team will be comprised of the next best 12-15 players.  No 8th graders shall be allowed on the B Team, just as Seniors in High School may not play Junior Varsity.

If a school’s basketball program is comprised of 5th & 6th graders, allow them to try-out. There will be cuts made.  If they are good enough to make the team, good for them.  If they don’t make the team this year, they can try out next year.  Keep in mind, the city Recreation League allows kids as old as 5th grade, so they have that option. 

It’s as simple as that.

Several good lessons can come from this:

• Fair, open try-outs will be held for all eligible grades

• There will be cuts - you might get cut.  

• Life is hard - you must earn what you get.

• If you’re smaller than your opponent, play harder.  Ask David about Goliath.

• Sometimes adults make bad choices - kids should not suffer from them.  

This decision needs to be changed.  I write this to ask local parents and leaders in this community to speak up.  Go to your students’ school administration and athletic directors and demand this decision be changed.

The middle school basketball season begins Nov. 12.  

D.K. Green

Former seventh grade B Team point guard, Cottonwood Junior High

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