Dear Editor:

I’m writing this in response to your Letter to the Editor about third and fourth grade football. It’s important to me that the misinformation provided in the letter submitted last week be cleared up. I don’t want anybody who may not know better to put any value in your letter. It is not okay to tell tales about your child’s coaches and teachers, or anybody, for that matter. Taking words and situations out of context is no different than lying, and it can’t be tolerated. Here is the truth.

The third and fourth grade coach has given all of his players generous amounts of playing time in each game. At practice, he and his multiple assistants provide valuable experiences to each player. There are also multiple dads who assist him with well-organized practices. I’ve been there a few times and paid close attention.

I support the practice of teaching our children the principles of hard work, commitment, accountability and fairness at an early age. We can’t ‘save that for high school,’ as you suggested in your letter. If we wait too long, we might end up with even more “Jeff Dillards.”

There are only 11 starting spots available in football, and I support the coach in teaching his athletes that some things need to be earned through hard work, talent, and commitment. Especially, since I know that those who don’t earn a starting spot are still getting valuable playing time in games, as well as at practice.

The coach explained that if members of the team chose to be late or skipped practice, they may not get to play as much as those who kept their commitments to their teammates. It was explained that if parents wanted to be upset about this, they could be. However, that still would not and should not change anything. It wouldn’t be fair to the other members of the team.

Seven to nine year old kids want to win. In sports, teams always have goals. These are not T-ball aged kids. Surely, at this age, one of the team’s goals is to win. That goal motivates everybody to get better. It isn’t fair for one or two parents to hold the other children on the team back from achieving that goal by spreading negativity, or supporting a lack of commitment.

There was a well-advertised, mandatory parent meeting at the high school in August. It was packed with supportive, involved, and helpful parents. It doesn’t seem like you were there, Jeff. The same principles and expectations that you seem to have problems with were clearly laid out and discussed at that meeting.

One of the major items of business at the mandatory meeting was how to handle concerns about your child’s playing time. It was explained that you should first talk to the coach. You didn’t. Your next option would be to talk to me. You didn’t. The way you chose to handle your concerns was dishonest, harmful, unprincipled, and immature, among other things.

Please give me a call, Jeff. I’d love to know who you are, and help you understand some of the important points you missed from the mandatory parent meeting. Also, if anyone has concerns about the size of the team (33 kids), please know that was my decision, and not the third and fourth grade coach. If you’d like to call me, I can help you better understand the reality of that particular situation. Here’s my number: 435-899-1302

P.S. As coaches, we have always seen an overwhelming amount of support and positivity from the parents in our community. We want you to know how much that means to us. We are impressed by your kids daily, and truly care about them. We are grateful for the opportunity to be involved. We’re having a fun year. Let’s continue to stay positive and make it fun. Thanks again for all you do.