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Writer says stop widening home plate

Vox Pop

This letter is in response to The Star News’ editorial in the Nov. 26 edition asking area school boards to loosen the academic requirements for student/athletes during the COVID-19 pandemic. Doing so, in my opinion, would set a poor example for participants and coaches regarding the very fabric of what high school athletics should be built upon. I know I can’t say it best, so instead I want to leave one of my favorite summaries of why we shouldn’t “widen home plate”. When you have time, lookup a speech given by John Scolinos at the 1996 American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA) Convention in Nashville, Tenn. Here is a short tidbit from that speech where he asks coaches about the width of home plate from t-ball to Little League to Babe Ruth, to high school, college and professional baseball. No matter at which level you are playing, home plate is always 17 inches wide.

“This is the problem in our homes today. With our marriages, with the way we parent our kids. With our discipline. We don’t teach accountability to our kids, and there is no consequence for failing to meet standards. We widen the plate! If I am lucky,” Coach Scolinos concluded, “you will remember one thing from this old coach today. It is this: if we fail to hold ourselves to a higher standard, a standard of what we know to be right; if we fail to hold our spouses and our children to the same standards, if we are unwilling or unable to provide a consequence when they do not meet the standard; and if our schools and churches and our government fail to hold themselves accountable to those they serve, there is but one thing to look forward to …” With that, he held home plate in front of his chest, turned it around, and revealed its dark black backside.

“… dark days ahead.”

— Douglas J. Etten, Saint Germain