Panning the list
School district discouraging the posting of team rosters on bulletin boards
School athletes wondering whether they’ve made a sports team would have previously been used to looking for an answer on a posting made to a school bulletin board. The Eastern School District is now encouraging coaches to take a different approach that’s more sensitive to the potential disappointment experienced by those who fail to make a team.
Students clamouring to get a peek at the school basketball roster posted on a bulletin board may soon be a thing of the past, following a new recommendation put forward to those handling athletics within the Eastern School District.
Within the district’s athletics policy is a regulation stating, “Once a team is selected, it is recommended that successful team members be informed in a way that respects the sensitivities of students not making the team.”
This recommendation, says district spokesperson Mary Tucker, encourages coaches to inform players involved in the tryout process about who did or did not make a roster through means other than a bulletin board posting.
“It’s all about (being) safe and caring, and being respectful and sensitive to the feelings of students,” says Tucker, the communications manager for Eastern School District.
“It is a competitive environment, and there’s a lot to learn, but for those children who don’t make the team, by being able to deal with it in their own private way first, we feel it’s an important part of this policy recommendation.”
The recommendation was made late in the spring and brought about through the district’s review of the athletics policy, which has been ongoing over the last two years, according to Tucker.
Based on feedback received from parents, coaches, teachers, and athletics directors, Tucker says it became apparent there was a need to introduce new measures to encourage ways of dealing more sensitively with a student’s potential disappointment over not making a school sports team.
“ When a child doesn’t make a team, he’s got to deal with those emotions of disappointment in a public way, where if they just got an e-mail, phone call, or letter from the coach and had an opportunity to absorb the information first, then it will be a little bit easier for the player to deal with.”
The district’s active and healthy living program specialist, John Elkins, developed a template letter to allow a coach to input the names of those who tried out for a team and create a standardized letter.
“ In a letter to the students who didn’t make a team, it would be recommended they continue to play in intramural and house-league sports and develop their skills,” Tucker says, “and also talk to their phys-ed teacher about what they need to do, or talk to the coach about what they need to do to improve their skills for next year.”
Making letters for each student who attempts to make a school team may appear to be a time-consuming task for coaches used to making one list to post on a bulletin board. Tucker says the template letter does simplify the process.
“ We’ve gotten pretty good feedback,” she says. “Some of the athletic directors have felt the letter was a good idea. You’re not going to make everybody happy, but we feel it’s a good recommendation.”