Did you catch it? It was all over the national news...a high school football coach in Utah, Coach Labrum, put his entire team on probation. Why? Right before Homecoming! He suspended them for cyber-bullying, and school issues including poor attendance, failing grades and overall negative attitudes. I say bravo for him! He had them turn in their uniforms and commit to community service, better attendance and attention to their classwork before they were allowed to play for their big homecoming game. He took a hard stance because his football players were showing a "lack of character". The good news is that the parents backed this coach in his decision to call the fouls and dole out the penalties. The bad news is he made national news because he's such a rare breed.
As teachers and parents, we can't be afraid to do what's right because someone is not going to like it. This made news because it doesn't happen on a regular basis. It isn't "par for the course" and so everyone stood up and took notice! We would all be remiss if we didn't take a peek at what this meant for his team. They realized in a flash that they would not be participating in Homecoming if they didn't shape up, toe the line, and start showing some responsibility, respect and character. And you can bet that their hours at the nursing home where Coach Labrum sent them for their community service touched a couple of hearts and opened many of their eyes with compassion. Cyber-bullying should not be tolerated by anyone, especially the parents of those committing that heinous act and our sports stars are not exempt from being held to excellence of character. In fact, as role models for younger students, they should be exemplary of good character.
So often, it is the playing and winning that matters in sports all over this great nation of ours. However, we have seen a few of our national sports celebrities tumble and that too has made national, if not international, news. We Americans, and the world it seems, are obsessed with our sports figures: Tiger Woods, Mike Tyson, OJ Simpson (back in the day!), Lance Armstrong and Alex Rodriguez are a few who have fallen off their pedestals in a big way. As parents, we need to point out to our children that even the rich and famous can be taken down with sin and need to walk the straight and narrow road of character.
When our children's teachers take a hard stance on something that will make a difference in our children's lives down the road, making them better people and more compassionate community members, we need to support them, even though their decisions may not be popular at the time with our kids. However, as parents our eyes should be on our goal of what we want for our children when they are grown... and good character should be on all of our lists!