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Say no to public, private split

Rockford Lutheran beat Rock Falls in a volleyball sectional Monday, but a proposal in front of the IHSA would split the postseasons for public and private schools.
Rockford Lutheran beat Rock Falls in a volleyball sectional Monday, but a proposal in front of the IHSA would split the postseasons for public and private schools.

Kids, this one is for the adults. Turn the page.

If you can’t help but blurt out the “R” word every time private schools are mentioned, turn the page to save your sanity. You’re not going to like what I have to write, but here goes.

Public schools need private schools in sports.

Private schools need public schools in sports.

In an age where the desire to win has reluctantly become a prime desire in high school sports, Illinois is seeing an increase in tactical legislation to substitute the investment of additional dedication to hard work from student athletes.

As adults, we preach to students to never give up in competition. When the phrase “we can’t compete” comes up, it sends the message that it’s OK for adults to throw up the white flag.

Kids look up to adults.

Continually altering the landscape to fix a single school’s problem shoudn’t be how Illinois high school sports operates. Note the word “continually” – splitting sports into two classes, starting with boys basketball in 1972, was needed due to an actual noncontrollable reason: the growth of metropolitan areas was making the competitive landscape lopsided.

It’s out of control now.

There are 25 Illinois High School Association bylaw proposals up for revision, addition or elimination this year. Administrators will gather at town hall meetings throughout the state to discuss the proposals, and the IHSA’s Legislative Commission will meet on Nov. 25 to reject any proposal or send them to a vote of the schools between Dec. 2-16.

I’ve mentioned some of the more important bylaws in recent columns and offered opinions on those potential changes. There’s one more left.

Separating playoffs for public & private schools

Cody’s take: No! No! No!

Disclaimer: I am a 2005 graduate of Sterling High School, a public school, and a rather successful athletic public school at that. I have attended public schools in Sterling and Rock Falls from age 4 to 19.

The Sauk Valley itself has had tremendous success in state athletics among various schools in various sports. Along the way, they’ve beaten private schools to get to those

Let’s eliminate the ridiculous notion that private schools are unbeatable.

Newman is the area’s only IHSA private school, and football is perhaps its most successful sport. From the first year the Comets won state, 1990, coming into tomorrow’s game with Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley, they have failed to make the state finals in 22 seasons. All but a handful of other schools are 0-for-29 in that span.

The Comets have won 292 games and have lost 60 since 1990. Of the seasons that Newman didn’t win a state title, which include state final losses to Hardin Calhoun in 1993 – regardless of footwear – and Carthage in 1998, only two have been ended by privates: Aurora Christian in 2012 and Bishop McNamara of Kankakee in 2015.

The proposal to separate playoffs for boundaried, public schools and non-boundaried private schools, brought forth by Carlinville High School, details that private schools are winning more than its 27.1% share of the membership.

The proposal also puts emphasis on playoff contests. Why not regular-season contests? That alone screams that winning is the focus of the bylaw.

Kids are focused on what they can control on the competition surface. The competition is a gray blob: the name on the front of the jersey doesn’t matter, the name on the jersey doesn’t matter, the colors or logos on the jersey don’t matter, the history doesn’t matter. There is a task to be accomplished, and it can be done. If failed, then go again.

The kids aren’t born with the notion that the opponents are a little different. I’ll stop myself there from going on an “-ism” tangent, but to mention that any “-ism” or hatred is taught, more likely than not from those older than they are.

Pounding down the belief that there are outside means that make opponents different than they are is wrong. It’s not added motivation, it’s a creation of negativity.

We often forget that high school sports is meant to be an extension of classroom learning. Sports events are glorified physical education classes. No one kid knows everything about their sport, as much as some like to think they do.

Mistakes are learned, as well as missed opportunities. Some second chances will never be granted. Losses, no matter how overwhelming, are part of the experience. It’s teaching the five stages of Kubler-Ross in action: Denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.

What doesn’t kill someone makes them stronger.

Private schools get beaten also. They experience the same methods of the learning process. Keep them in the picture.

They’re all kids.

No different.

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