Weatherford Democrat

October 23, 2013

A good ‘problem’ to have

Webb of Thought

Weatherford Democrat

— Lord knows the unfortunate decision by a Western Hills football parent to file a bullying report against the Aledo coaching staff last week, motivated by a 91-0 District 7-4A win by Bearcats over the Cougars was, using even the most diplomatic of descriptions, extremely misguided. 

The sincerely virtuous end-purpose of the Aledo ISD on-line reporting system, which is to bring to light legitimate potentially harmful, oppressive and harassing tactics wielded on its students, was potentially diluted by this ill-advised diversion. 

Aledo district officials are compelled to treat the report as any other, to investigate the validity and determine corrective action (if any is warranted) to be taken.  

Western Hills head football coach John Naylor was understandably embarrassed by the filing. Aledo athletic director Tim Buchanan, in his 21st year as head coach of the Bearcats, has never heard of any football team subjected to a bullying claim.

The everybody-has-an-opinion (good, bad or “say-what?”) social networks have gone viral, as have the local, and even national news outlets.  

My Austin-resident nephew woke me from semi-peaceful slumber this morning with a phone call, wondering just “what in the wide, wide world of sports was going on up there.”

Experiencing firsthand the quality approach Coach Buck and his staff deploy in the mentoring of young athletes year-after-year while maximizing their kids’ individual and collective skills to put a superior, class product on the gridiron, the absurdity of such an allegation is merely augmented. 

Given my own personal bent to make light of ... well, most everything that is an acceptable target ... I am going to try to take the high road here, if for no other reason to do my part to get this silliness behind us.  

So, what’s going on (or went on, up here) is that a very talented and deservedly state-ranked football team played a team in the throes of trying to get better.

In Aledo-land, because of its tradition to excel in football (as well as nearly every other athletic and non-athletic endeavor), August inceptions are to improve each day and each week in preparation for, certainly a district championship, but also to gird its loins for the calibre of competition the Bearcats will encounter in games 11 through (it is hopeful) 16. Getting the starting 22 players, not to mention the special teams squads, as many game-play repetitions as possible between the seasons’ first kick-off and the final clock-tick of the district season is, and should be, an on-going goal.

In trying to avoid “showing up” opponents, Aledo is already sacrificing valuable starting-player reps. It is hardly the fault of the Aledo staff — in fact, it is rightfully the aim — to put all of the components in place to present as daunting an opposition as possible to the other teams (who are out to beat you, by the way). 

And with second and third-team players in the game, those kids are getting precious playing time. Playing hard during these opportunities is not an option — not only to do well, but to earn more playing time for themselves. Not playing hard is also an unwelcome invitation to get hurt.

It is truly a shame this silliness has provided a potential blemish on an otherwise stellar football season for the Bearcats. 

One can only hope, from now through the postseason (and let’s go ahead and include “forever,” shall we?) sports journalists will not enhance articles, broadcasts and/or blogs with mention of this nefarious incident.