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Sent to the showers

Ah, the angst of Old-School America these days. Everything's political correctness. Kids are too soft. Parents are too permissive. Coaches can't physically abuse their athletes like in the good old days and call it "discipline."

So I can imagine OSA is probably shaking its head and rolling its eyes at the idea that four Cascade High School track coaches have been fired for making some of its athletes do "bear crawls" -- i.e., crawling on their hands and feet -- on an asphalt track as punishment for missing practice.

The kids in question came away with blistered hands for their trouble, which figures given the abrasive nature of asphalt tracks (having fallen on a few back in my undistinguished track days, I can attest). And there's where I part company with OSA.

First of all, the kids had a good excuse: They missed practice for a pre-prom meeting. Second of all, if you're instituting punishment that's causing physical harm to a kid, you've crossed a line -- and I don't care how often they used to get away with it back in the day.

So, out the coaches go, and good riddance. This isn't to say they were wrong to punish their kids for missing practice. It's to say the application was wrong.

After all, if they'd wanted to punish them, why not just suspend them for a meet or two? Was that too hard a concept to come up with?

Ben Smith's blog.