Thursday, April 2, 2015

Set me up to whine through life........

"She is devastated," stated Susan Dimitrew.

Audrey Dimitrew, 16, has been benched and her parents have now filed a lawsuit in an attempt to force the team to give her playing time.  The Woodgrove High School sophomore from Purcellville VA had played on the school's JV volleyball team as well as joining the Chesapeake Region Volleyball Association, an out of school league.  Audrey had tried out for the association as a setter, the position she also plays in high school and received offers from four teams in the league.

She chose to sign a contract with the Chantilly Juniors partly because the coach for that team had remarked that she had "college level" skills.  The coach had also remarked to her that she was the best setter that had participated in the tryouts.  The CHRVA is one of the largest leagues in the area with about 8,600 girls playing on teams there.  Audrey had competed with about 75 girls when she attended the tryouts for the under 16 league in November 2014.

The out of school leagues have been in existence for decades beginning with hockey and has mushroomed to a large number of sports.  Most of them require a contract be signed and there is a financial investment as well to cover equipment, travel expenses and coaching.  They offer in return an opportunity to play a sport they enjoy against different competitors, a chance to receive extra coaching and a chance to improve skills in hopes of continuing to play in college or on scholarship.  The costs are very dependent on the level of play and the quality of the league and can cost from $2,000 to $20,000 a season.

Audrey evidently started out well with the team and was getting playing time in practice and scrimmages.  She was benched though for the first two tournaments in the middle of January and was told that she was not ready to be the setter on the team and probably would not see much playing time. Audrey's mother Susan stated that her daughter was devastated to hear the news, especially after she had been praised so highly before signing.  They complained to her coach because they did not feel that Audrey was getting what she believe she was promised   and it was important that she play the position of setter, since that was what she tried out for.

The coach answered by giving them two choices....... Audrey could continue on as a practice player for the team or she could transfer to another team in the league.  Her parents found her another team that would accept her but when they requested the transfer, the league denied it.  They stated that the league by-laws allow a transfer only if there is a verifiable hardship and letting someone transfer just because they were not happy with their playing time or lack of, would cause a bad precedent.

Audrey's parents stated that they tried to reason with the league as well as bully them claiming that she was owed playing time because the coach had given her such glowing reviews.  They also claimed that missing this time playing in the spring of her 10th year will not allow her to be exposed to other coaches who could help elevate her game in the future.  Audrey has stated that she is unsure if she wants to play volleyball in college though.

All of their appeals to the league failed and in the middle of March, her father filed a lawsuit against the league seeking a temporary injunction so that she could play the rest of the season with another team.  The judge declined to impose one stating that while he sympathized with her, he could not force a private organization to alter the decision making process.  Her mother Susan has vowed that it is not over yet and they will continue fighting for their daughter.  The league on the other hand is considering disbanding due to the cost of the lawsuit and possibility of more legal action from Audrey's parents.

Audrey's parents are not the only ones to go to court because their child was somehow wronged by not being made a star.  Ervin Mears Jr sued Sterling Regional High School in Camden County NJ for $40 million dollars after his son was kicked off of the track team May 6 2013.  His son Mawusimensah Mears was kicked off of the team for having too many unexcused absences from practice.  Ervin claimed that his son was bullied by the school and the coaches during his freshman year and was not allowed to show his true talent then.

He went on to explain that his son missed practice because of an injury and a family member's death.  Ervin went on to claim that this now prevented his son from gaining college scholarships and he insisted that the school award him varsity letters and championship jackets for 2012 and 2013.  His son stated that he had worked hard at practice and tried to be the very best that he could be but at the meets, he wasn't given the respect he felt he deserved.

William, Suzanne and their son Billy Munck are suing the Dallas Lacrosse Academy LLC in Dallas TX using the RICO laws.  William claims that his son Billy was prevented from getting on the varsity team with them because he did not support their per play classes and programs.  Billy did eventually make the varsity team after some parental bullying and he transferred to finish high school at the Millbrook Academy, a private college prep school in New York.  The former ESD student is currently playing lacrosse for the Division III Southwestern University.

William claims that his son was wronged in 2010 when the director of Coast2Coast Lacrosse held Billy back from the varsity squad at ESD because they had not supported or attended the various high end camps and other services.  He added that he himself volunteered at a non profit lacrosse team that would possibly draw people away from the C2C profit programs.

What we do have is an increasing number of parents and children who somehow believe that they are entitled to special treatment or star status because they think they are great.  Audrey and her parents signed a contract based on the praise of a coach, as if they never lie or stretch the truth.  They did not read the contact fully it seems because i doubt that it had any guarantee of an amount of playing time she would get. Lastly, instead of Audrey taking this time and busting her butt practicing to possibly convince the coach to play her and bench the girl who is playing, her parents come to her aid and insist that she be a star.

Ervin's son was tossed for too many unexcused absences......... no matter what the reason, someone had to make the effort to notify the coach.  If he did not accept that the young man should stay home because of an injury, then he should have shown up for practice and done whatever he could, even if it was just lift weights.  The bit about being bullied his freshman year.... was that when they told him to hustle his butt and things?  He mentions that they didn't respect him at the meets.  Really?  Does that mean that they did not treat you like the rising star you thought you were?  I know of a high school relay team that qualified for the state championships but wasn't allowed to attend.  It seems that they blew off the coach's requirement that they come to practice during school vacation and went to the beach instead.  They were shocked when the coach told them afterwards that they had been withdrawn from the competition but that is the consequence.  They also did not have parents that threatened to sue if they did not go.

Billy is another project, with parents that insist that he was good enough to make the varsity squad but was denied that.  He left the high school he was attending in TX after his junior year in 2010 and attended a private college prep school in New York.  He then has gone back to his home state of Texas and is now playing on a Division III college team which is not eligible to offer athletic scholarships.  It still means a lot to be able to play on the college level but Billy is playing at the lowest level there is.

The complaint is two-fold.......... Audrey got benched and was informed that she would probably not get to play much this season and then when she tried to transfer to another team in the league, she was told that she could not because there was no verifiable hardship.  Her parents are outraged that she will miss a valuable year of playing because they evidently chose the wrong team to play on.

It must be remembered that no matter how good you played at try-outs, you have to give 110% each and every day on the team or it is the coach's choice to bench you for the good of the team.  UConn women's basketball coach Geno Auriemma does not have a problem with benching his best players in key games for whatever infraction he feels they have committed.  Few will argue that he doesn't run a tight ship and a hugely successful program and if a player does not fit in with that program they are free to transfer to another college that will accept them.

Even the NCAA has rules regarding transfers and if you choose to transfer out of one program to another where you will probably fit in better and have more playing time, you will be sitting out the season until you have spent one academic year in residence.  The rules in Audrey's league are similar and for a similar reason, to prevent athletes from transferring every time they feel butthurt about their lack of star status.

It would seem that the nation is developing a huge crop of parents who insist that their child is the star and a lot of children who are learning that instead of earning your way to the top.... my parents will sue the bastards who prevent me from being there.  Suck it up Audrey and all those other parents who feel that they have to run to the legal system to make them a star.  Life is filled with choices and consequences....... you just got a taste of the real world.

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