Friday, November 12

Follow the rules, pink shoe kid

I was surprised to find this interesting story on the Yahoo homepage today. Basically, the kicker on a high school team decided to wear a fresh pair of pink shoes, the coach didn't like it and told him not to wear them again. So the kid shows up in practice the next day wearing the shoes, which led the coach to give the kicker the boot (pun intended). Now the kicker is angry and filing a lawsuit. God bless America, right?

At first I was on the pink-shoe kid's side. The shoes were a gift from his grandmother and he wore them as part of a breast cancer awareness thing. Almost every pro team has done this in some fashion this year, so I thought it was reasonable for him to wear them, and very unreasonable for the coach to kick (pun) him off the team. But then I remembered something from my years playing organized sports. You respect your coaches. End of story.

This kid is absolutely in the wrong. His coach told him to wear a different pair, and he had the nerve to show up the next day, still rocking the Barbie Total 90s. In grade school basketball (Bay City Champs 2004), we were not allowed to wear headbands. So that meant we had to leave our Reebok I3 Iverson headbands at home. No exceptions. Even if my 2.3 minutes per game generated some form of forehead perspiration. You listen to what your coach says, then you do it. You don't pretend to listen, then show up the next day waving your pink disrespect in his face. Good for that coach. If the kid really cared about wearing the shoes, he could be a man and discuss the issue with the coach before practice. Maybe get special permission by explaining his story. I bet the coach might have had some sympathy, and the Mary Kay cleats might still be kicking squibs today. But no, he had to raise a scene, and now is filing a lawsuit. All because he didn't follow his coach's rules. I don't care that he might not graduate, he didn't follow the rules. If he decided to use a pen on his math final, he wouldn't have passed, so why should his football credits be any different?And who needs academic credit from a football team to graduate? Something tells me he was no model student. Take your selfish drama and play on the soccer team full time. Part of being on a team is following the rules, even if you think they are unfair. If you have a serious issue with that rule, then take it up with the coach instead of ignoring him. Is it really a big deal that he wore pink cleats? No. But it becomes a big deal when he blatantly disrespects his coach and then threatens to sue over it. Heck, Gerry Bertier didn't like Coach Boone's rules at first, but he got over it. The kid isn't taking a noble stand; he is being a weasel that went behind his coach's back, undermined his authority, and now will be enjoying summer school.

Also, what is the deal with all the pink gear in sports? I think the concept of "breast cancer awareness" is pretty pointless; we all know what it is by now. If it isn't raising funds for actual breast cancer research, then I see it as nothing more than a fashion item and another way for Nike and Reebok to make money. "Look at me and my cool pink gloves with matching had towel!" Its called "pinkwashing" or making a profit off of breast cancer products. This USA Today article sheds some light on the issue.

UPDATE: The kid is back on the team, but the school won't give the details...And he won't be wearing his Pepto-Bismol specials either. Looks like he decided to play by the rules. In the end, I trust the judgement of an authority figure over some 17 year old part time football/soccer player, and I'm glad to see taxpayer dollars would not be wasted on a frivolous lawsuit.

By Aaron Brandt, fourth string point guard, 2004 St. Peter Macomb Patriots