When I was a small boy growing up in Connecticut, I had to do two things: go to church on Sunday and eat vegetables. It should come as no surprise that as a grown man in Florida I do neither. I was urged to “be nice” by my mother and the results on that are subjective and erratic at best. Psychologically, I am a contrarian. If forced or urged to do something, I will likely do the opposite as soon as possibly can. Presently there is no other purpose for writing this paragraph than the simple fact this was stuck in my head. The true purpose of the blog is to enjoy some cut day stories in stream of conciousness fashion….
First off it is absolutely imperative that people are cut face to face. The persons effort in trying out deserves a face to face explaination of the decision. Case in point, the camouflaged idiot. At Winter Park, we had a massive tryout of some 70 kids for JV and Varsity. Much hilarity ensued as players ill-suited for a driveway pick up game botched up drills in ways that were virtually unpredictable in their random incompetence. Chief among the offenders was the camouflaged idiot, a athletic, but extremely uncoordinated and not very bright kid, who wore camouflaged cargo shorts and a wife-beater to tryouts. He was so out of control as to be a danger to himself and others. Serious consideration was given as to whether he should have been Baker Acted. At the close of try-outs, the JV coach, acting on his own accord, read off a list of names of players that made the squad. The camouflaged idiot was not among them, but this fact escaped him, and forty-five minutes after the JV try-out ended he stormed back into the gym and asked what time practice was tomorrow…..
During that same season, we cut a senior that had some talent, but was entirely incapable of accepting the limited role we anticipated for him. Please note it is generally a great idea to cut seniors without a meaningful role unless they fit the profile of the last man standing. This guy did not. In the hopes of moving things along, we quickly advised him of our decision and the rationale, but then were quite literally held hostage in the basketball locker room as he began to tell his life story, highlighted by a general theme of getting screwed by “the man”. Finally after pressing 91 on my phone, he relented and left without incident.
A few seasons earlier, we cut a very quiet player, who true to character did not say a word as we told him of our decision…..until he was asked if he had any questions. This query was made more out of courtesy and to make sure the player was actually still alive. Alive he was, and with great sincerity he asked “what is an appropriate shooting percentage?” We were caught off guard, and a wave of panic struck. Was it possible this player had calculated his shooting percentage for the entire try-out ? Hesitantly we offered 60 % on all shots including free throws and lay ups. A full minute that felt more like an hour passed until the stoic player mumbled thank you and left the room.
One of our proudest moments came when dealing with four players who also played football. Well in advance of try-outs these players and primarily their parents had expressed concern that they would be screwed cause they played football. The back story is that these four kids had been in conflict with a number of our varsity players throughout the summer and fall, and we had little incentive from a pure basketball or chemistry standpoint to keep any of them. Nonetheless try-outs proceeded and we decided to keep two of them (knowing this effectively undercut the four person alliance and any complaint of inequitable treatment), and within three days the two we kept quit and we were rid of the whole lot.