Beyond The Score

Central Vermont Sports Blog

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Winter Sports 2011

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Winter Sports 2011-2012

Sorry to be away so long but I’ve been building a new house and finally (never really finally) done! My mind has wondered to the process of hiring and informing the public (US) of new hires for coaches for winter sports. I wrote a piece about the firing of Lynn Ribolini last spring for the Times Argus newspaper and have reflected on the process of hiring new boys and girls basketball coaches for this season ever since. Unless you are part of the rumor mill or have a kid playing at MHS you have no idea of who the coaches are or how they were chosen for the job. Transparency is not part of the new direction employed by the new athletic directors at MHS. The outgoing principal has a lot to do with this considering that the new atheltic directors are truly puppies at the job and need direction and help. They are both talented and inexperienced. They will eventually do their jobs well but without knowing the MHS sports culture and expectations they are at an disadvantage and have to HOPE they ae doing what is expectated. Lynn Ribolini had years of success and experience and he didn’t know what was expected of him. Eventually he was fired. Anyway, who are these new coaches and what are their goals for improving the basketball programs at MHS? The first games of the season begin next week and I’m excited to see how MHS players compete. I’m excited to see both Sweeneys return to the court after dealing with knee problems. The new uniform might include a knee brace. Anyway, I’m back and will fill you in on what’s happening on the MHS sports scene as well as other Central Vermont teams that I favor. I hope you’ll respond with your ideas and updates. – LATER!

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December 4th, 2011 at 1:16 am

Posted in Editorials

Where Have All the Fans Gone?

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Saturday afternoon I went to a Montpelier High varsity girls basketball game against a strong southern team, Mill River, in the Lenny Drew Gym. The MHS girls were disappointed because they lost but they showed heart and grit. If they could only shoot. They’ll get better as the season continues and it’s a treat to watch them play. Great bunch of kids!

I was disappointed in the atmosphere and lack of fans. The student section had 7 people in the stands. Behind the players bench there were two families – a total of 6 people. 14 people in 4 sections of bleachers that could easily seat 200! The “parents” section may have had 35 people in it. The biggest group of fans could be found in the visitors section. 40-50 people must have driven up from Mill River to watch their girls play an impressive game.

Why? Where have the fans gone?

Things sure have changed over the years. It wasn’t too long ago the stands would have been full of screaming fans and players would have been charged with excitement.

What’s happened? Why aren’t students showing up to support teams? Where are the crowds?

I have a couple of thoughts about it but I’m an old dog so like the kids I can easily be ignored. Anyway, here are my thoughts. The idea of a school community is being redefined by students, teachers and adminstrators.

Coaches generally are not teachers. They don’t have direct daily contact with students that teaching-coaches had in the past. Today’s coaches, show up, coach and are gone. Job done!

Inschool promotion of activies doesn’t happen at the level of the past. When was the last all school rally introducing the teams and players and pumping kids about upcoming games?

There’s a Boster Club. What are they doing to help get fans in the gym and develop a sense of community?

It is rare to see more than a couple of teachers at games or other school events like dances, concerts, art shows. Like coaches many teachers come to school, do their jobs and go home. In the past teachers and coaches of fall and spring sports attended winter games and supported “their” students.

These are just a few of my thoughts on why the fans are gone. What are your thoughts?

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December 18th, 2010 at 10:27 pm

Injuries: When is it OK to play?

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Kreitzberg Arena in Northfield Vermont

My first coaching assignment was in 1967 as a downhill, jumping and cross-country ski coach for girls and boys at Community High in Fort Kent Maine. I was fresh out of college and other than being a college athlete and certified teacher, I knew nothing about coaching. I read books, went to clinics and coached at camps for years and the biggest problem I had as a coach was knowing when a player was ready to get back to competing. Years later I still felt I didn’t know enough about injuries.

In 1984 I decided to take a sabbatical and learn all I could about athletic training, injury prevention and management. I spent the summer at Montclair State in New Jersey with their athletic trainers and in the classroom learning modalities, prevention and taping techniques. I spent the winter as an intern or volunteer at Green Mountain Physical Therapy where I was a goofer but had the opportunity to pick some incredible trainers brains. They helped me create a plan for helping players with injuries. What I learned most was what NOT to do when it comes to treating an injury. I also learn what to do if a player wants to return to play.

This is a long winded way of getting to the point but for over 30 years I’ve advocated for a trainer at Montpelier High. I have never found an Athletic Director, Principal or School Board member in Montpelier that has showed any support for this position.

Saturday a Montpelier girls basketball player returned to competitive play after breaking a bone in her leg during a soccer game a few weeks earlier. She spent weeks on crutches and met with her doctor plus doing some therapy. Saturday she played for a few minutes in a scrimmage against Twinfield and reinjuried her leg after a couple minutes of play.

At what point are athletes allowed to compete after and injury? Who decides? Obviously it’s up to the coach but how does he/she make that decision?

Ask the player? Ask the parents? Get a note from the doctor? Is there a policy in place to guide coaches making those decisions?

Regardless of how the coach makes the decision, it is rarely made with true knowledge about injuries. It’s rare that a coach has the expertise in atheltic training. I’ve watched coaches wrap ankles, knees, wrists etc. and violate every rule of protective modality. I see players taping players.

At Montpelier High players are put in situations that the personnel dealing with their injuries lack the knowledge to help or prevent further injury regardless of intentions. It happens time and again. Players return to competition too early.

MHS needs to hire an athletic trainer to not only assit coaches with injuries but help players learn how to train to prevent injury. Athletic Trainers can be an integral part of the curriculm by teaching courses on nutrition and fitness as well as attending contests and assisting injuried players. Spaulding, Harwood and U32 all have full time athletic trainers. They make a huge difference in players health and safety!

Some comments from decision makers at MHS about hiring a trainer:

We have fireman at football games. Why do we need a trainer?
Kids have insurance!
It’s up to the parents to let their kid play after an injury.

Do you think we need a athletic trainer at MHS?


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December 5th, 2010 at 9:04 pm

Beyond the Score

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Welcome to BEYOND THE SCORE! A Central Vermont Sports blog. We’ll share stories about local players and awesome plays of the week. We’ll also plug in some general opinion about sport and the joy of competing. We hope you’ll add your thoughts and ideas.

Beyond the Score title is taken from Times Argus sports writer, Stephanie Carter, who created a column in the 80’s that explored sport from the point of view of the fan, player, parent, coach and general observer. We hope to bring Stephanie’s approach to this sport blog.

We will keep the blog open to free expression. Mindless dribble will be rejected or ignored but challenging comment and things that open our eyes to what’s going on in CVT Sport will be welcomed.

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January 29th, 2010 at 2:09 am