Focus in sports needs to be on the kids

To the Editor:

I received a call from a reporter from The Enterprise last week. The first question asked was regarding playing time. Playing time is always an issue in sports, especially in basketball as there are only five on the court at once.

Coach Wright and the athletic director were completely aware of how I felt about how last season went. The reporter asked me about the 1,000-point goal and if parents had issues with this. The truth is, parents, players and most of the crowd knew about the goal ahead of time.

What an honor for this young man and his family. No one can fault the coach for doing a great thing for this young man, and my son was the first one on the court to congratulate him when he met this goal.

I told the truth when I said, “yes” to the reporter. I had heard comments made by the coach about this, but I don’t think anyone really believes the change the school has made in this position has anything to do with this personal goal, or playing time.

Individual families are being blamed as scapegoats. Unfortunately, during this interview, the sentences weren’t given full context. I was simply stating a point about the program. In the Hilltowns, and probably other small towns as well, there are no real tryouts. Kids are told they are on the 15 guys on the team, and possibly develop all those players, and I stated there should be “no selection of stars.”

Will there be kids who are stronger players than others and should they reap the benefits of their time, effort, hard work, and dedication? Of course they should.

But the community and the school can’t have it both ways without creating conflict. If you want everyone to be on the team, then the school needs to develop guidelines to go along with that. If you want real competitive basketball then have real tryouts and don’t carry 15 guys on the roster.

Do I believe there have been and will continue to be phenomenal basketball players coming out of BKW? Absolutely.

The bottom line in all of this, which very few fail to mention, the sports program exists for the kids, and that is where the focus needs to be.

With all that said — this is all commotion created by people trying to point fingers for this school decision which I believe has nothing to do with playing time. I’m asking the person responsible for giving our name to The Enterprise as the cause to consider the harm that you’ve brought about to our family and children.

A former BKW teacher even went so far as bashing both of my kids personally on Facebook. There is a post on Facebook citing the coach was a poor judge of the players last year.

There are adults soliciting petitions; one was even at a BKW soccer game approaching students to sign.

The community may never know the real reasons for this decision, but we need to act with integrity, tell the truth, and try our best to not involve the students and the players, and that includes The Altamont Enterprise. There are many words that have been misinterpreted in that story — which could be because the guy interviewing was not the guy writing the story.

Anyone that knows me, knows I have coached these kids, I have treated these kids like my own, and I apologize that my words were not expressed as meant and caused offense to some.

Ed Repscher

East Berne

Editor’s note: This letter was submitted to The Enterprise on Monday morning before the school board meeting. See related story.