Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Tails and Dogs

I do not know when the last time was that I set foot on the campus of Sayreville High School (a/k/a "Alma mater of Jon Bon Jovi") but I would be willing to wager it was at least several years ago.  I have a somewhat vague recollection of making a trip down to Sayreville one cold February Saturday morning to watch Margaret's nephew, Joe, wrestle when he was a senior at Middlesex High School.   Working off of memory, I think that would have been during the winter of 2008.  Prior to making that not-entirely memorable journey, I cannot recall when (if ever) I had set foot either on the campus or in the high school.  My point is simply this:  I scarcely know anyone from Sayreville and arguably know less than that about the high school, its athletic programs in general and/or its football program in particular. 

That being said, Sayreville High School's football program has become a front-page, above-the-fold headline here in the State of Concrete Gardens - and for all of the wrong reasons.  The game that the Bombers were scheduled to play last week against South Brunswick High School was cancelled several hours before kickoff for the always-ominous-sounding "undisclosed reasons".  The good news, relatively speaking, turned out to be that the school did not cancel the game in response to the football team's Defensive Coordinator having been arrested for possession of anabolic steroids.

The bad news is that, according to a statement put out by the Superintendent of Schools, the football program may have an issue with "hazing" and/or "bullying" (in the pieces I have read, it appears as if the District is using the terms almost interchangeably).   Worse yet, the Superintendent of Schools and the District decided on Monday night that the extent of the bullying and/or hazing is pervasive enough that they cancelled the remainder of the season for the high school's freshman, junior varsity and varsity teams.   No more football shall be played at Sayreville High School this season.  The future of the program and its coaches?  I would not pretend to know although, presently, it does not appear to be so bright as to require the wearing of sunglasses.  

Nerves are frayed and tempers are raised in Sayreville these days in response to the action undertaken by the Superintendent of Schools.  While it would seem to me that unless and until more information is known, such as what actually happened, the number of players involved, the coaches' knowledge of what happened, the coaches' tacit acceptance or confirmed endorsement of it, and the length of time it has been permitted to occur, a lot of people are staking out a position based upon emotion and not upon information.  There is neither anything criminal nor unusual about that.  

As long as the minds of those who have already assumed a position remain open to the continuing receipt of information, including information that might tend to cast doubt upon the correctness of one's initially-assumed position, then there is nothing at all wrong about someone manning the battlements on one side or the other.  If however the minds, once made up, cannot embrace the truth - whatever that truth may turn out to be - then at day's end no lasting lesson shall be learned here.  

If that occurs, then Sayreville, New Jersey shall remain thousands of miles and a world away from Dillon, Texas.  

And losing shall continue to replace winning as the order of the day...


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