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Brandon sports, 'oh yea, not so good'

April 28, 2010 - Dear Editor,

Ah yes, springtime in Ortonville. The birds are a chirpin', the bees are a buzzin'. The scent of fresh young blossoms in the air, mixed with the bittersweet smell of sporting mediocrity wafting from Brandon Schools.

On any given day one can ask most Brandon school athletes how their team is doing. More often than not, the answer is, "oh yea, not so good". This is not just in one or two isolated programs. In my opinion, this is not the athlete's fault anymore, let's stop going there! Every school loses it's share of senior class athletes. Yes, we have a limited pool to draw from, but our coaches must deal with that. When is the last time we went to a district final in football, basketball, baseball, volleyball or soccer?

Our sole achievements in sports of late have been in cheer, poms, and dance. Thank you, ladies. Our former winning coach in baseball is now hoping to continue his winning tradition with our neighbors to the north, Goodrich. I wish him well and hope he makes it into the Coaches Hall of Fame.

When will the school superintendent and board of education start to make their employees accountable? Some school board members feel the schools cannot be run like a business. I disagree. In the present economic climate, businesses are having to take cuts from the top down and cut non-productive workers. Ms. McMahon has been quoted to say that the Athletic Director, "is working very hard and has great visions." Please explain this to us. What has he done for Brandon sports? Should he and his coaches not have to produce positive results for us, like any employee?

As of this date, the girls varsity soccer record stands at 0-6. The head coach has been absent in excess of 50 percent of their practices and has also missed home games. This is acceptable to Mr. Thompson as, "we are giving him a break, so that he can further his education." Does this not seem unfair to the team, not to mention the parents who are paying for this "coaching"? Who's education are we paying for here? To add insult to injury, we have to pay $5 a head to watch the outcome of this! Our elected board and superintendent have been advised of this and have done nothing to rectify it. "Ignore it and it will go away. School is out in June." That is like having an ER doctor tell you not to worry, "all bleeding will eventually stop!"

Facility-wise, we have all the "bling". Crown jewels like football and soccer stadiums. Brand new tennis courts. As a matter of fact, we now have two of each of those. Too bad we don't have at least one winning team.

Personally, I prefer the old football stadium. Maybe it just seemed like a bigger crowd because you had to search for a seat. It seemed more "Ortonville", better atmosphere and more body heat on those cold Friday nights! Bigger isn't always better.

Hopefully the warm breezes of summer, will help heal and cleanse our athletes. I look forward to the crisp, cool air of fall, with the smell of burning leaves, and hopefully a victory for some of our teams.

Yes, the schools' priority is to maintain a high academic standard, we all agree on this. However, sports are an integral part of school life. School board, please do your job, revamp the athletic department. Our kids and our community deserve and need a change. The entire school community needs to speak up now. Waiting until your child is in middle school or high school will not give you enough time to fix this trend.

Go Blackhawks! Patrick O'Shea

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