This article is about the Macon County Youth Football league, specifically the Mites age group. I, along with several other parents, have seen extreme favoritism where only special people’s children get to play, while others are left on the sidelines. This occurs at practices and at games.
This is supposed to be a recreational football league. We as parents pay A LOT of money to get our kids some football experience. It starts at $100 for the season. Then we must travel for several of the games, some of which are over two hours round trip. We also must pay at the gate to get in and watch our children play.
It doesn’t matter if you pay the sign-up fee, the gas, and the entrance fee at every game. It doesn’t matter if your child attends every single practice, every single game and is always on time or early. If your child’s last name isn’t an important or well-known name in Macon County, your child is going to be second string. Or stand on the sidelines and never see the field. During practices more than one time, at least eight children stood on the sidelines for over an hour, never seeing the field for practice or learning how to play the game.
Recreational sports are about learning to play the game, about learning to love the game, and building friendships. They are imperative for learning and developing life-long skills. Recreational sports should most definitely not include spending hours on the sidelines at practice, and never seeing game time at all. It should not matter what the experience level is, everyone should get some experience.
Several of the children who sat on the sidelines the last three months don’t want to play football again. They don’t like their experience this season, and don’t want to try again next year. When your own child can see very obviously that certain children who miss tackles and make false start are allowed to continue playing or aren’t made to run a lap, but others are pulled off the field or running, something is very wrong.
True volunteer coaches work with everyone, no matter the skill level, and no matter who the parents are. They don’t tell a team six games in (out of ten) that they’re not going to the finals or competition at the end of the season, as has happened this season. I have been a coach for several years myself, along with several other parents I’ve spoken to who have coached as well, and we agree that this is not the attitude a volunteer coach should instill in these young athletes.
In my opinion, these coaches are not fostering a love of the sport or encouraging these children at all. And these are important life lessons that are clearly not being taught in Macon County. These young athletes will never improve if they don’t get practice time on the practice field. They’ll never learn if they aren’t shown how to play football correctly.
Many parents from the team pulled their children off the field for good early in the season. On the Mites team, there were easily forty at the beginning of the season, now there are less than thirty. And while the season is now over, I am writing this in hopes that this might make a difference for other families and other children won’t have the same experience in Macon County.
Signed a concerned parent.
*Editor’s note: The Southern Scoop News has agreed to publish this letter anonymously. While the letter is being published anonymously, The Southern Scoop News has confirmed the writer’s identity.