Letters to the Editor

Letters to the editor - Jan. 22. 2015 editions

Emotional roller coaster

Dear Editor,

Playing and coaching on a high school team can be an emotional roller coaster.

Students play for a variety of reasons: a passion for the sport, to have fun with their teammates, to enjoy the “status” of being on a team, or maybe because they have been encouraged by a guardian to try to earn a college scholarship. Maybe for team swag (stuff we all get). Expectations can be high.

Coaches coach for different reasons: They may have a passion for the sport and believe they can help students learn life lessons on the athletic field that can’t be taught in the classroom. They may envision a league or section title. They may have had an influential coach when they were young, and they hope to “give back,” passing on positive influence to the next generation. They may take pride in players building skills that will allow them to compete in college.

Few coaches do it for the money, or for bragging rights proclaiming their success around the water cooler in the teacher’s lounge.

However, the experience students get on the “court” can be very different from the experience students get in the “classroom.” The playing fields, rightly or wrongly, are not equal. In class, students can expect progressive discipline. Initially, discipline for minor behavior problems are addressed with the least averse consequence in hope that students will improve performance. Also, all students should expect feedback from teachers that will give all students the skills to learn the content of the lesson. On the court, the intensity is ramped up. Coaches may correct with greater intensity, hoping players will modify behavior immediately and permanently. Some players may not get much feedback.

Students and their families need to be aware of this unequal playing field. Coaches need to be aware that students and families might be entering an arena with a different set of expectations than they experience in their school day.

The motto of the “California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) Central Section,” a group of 107 schools including YHS is: “Pursuing Victory with Honor.” Most high school athletic programs will support this motto. The motto is not a, “winning at all cost” manifesto. It does imply and encourage however that:

1) Coaches do their absolute best to build individual skills and team play to win games, and 2) Coaches do their absolute best to treat all members of the team, opponents, and officials with dignity and respect.

Coaches that fall short of these standards should be managed by administration as they see fit. Victory will take care of itself.

Is it all worth it? Families and coaches need to weigh the benefits and pitfalls of getting on the roller coaster, and make the decision that they view in their best interest. When players choose to play, and coaches choose to coach, there will be challenges. Some will be significant.

Stan Lawrence,


Editor’s note: Stan Lawrence has 37 seasons of coaching experience, 29 as Yosemite’s head tennis coach, five as assistant tennis coach, and three as assistant basketball coach.

Life lessons?

Dear Editor,

Hmmm ... after reading the Jan. 15 edition of the Sierra Star, it sure seems like the parents and players are running the basketball program. Coach Lopez is very good at what he does and was a tireless fundraiser for the program. He coached my son in travel basketball, and I thought he did a great job. He does not stand emotionless on the sidelines, is totally engrossed in his job, and is very passionate when dealing with his players.

Apparently, this type of coaching is not what some parents and players want in this namby pamby society we live in.

The worst part of this situation is the backing of these individuals by the current administration at YHS. When players quit in order to force the resignation of a coach, it sends a clear message that coaches can be held hostage and forced to succumb to the parents’ wishes.

That is so wrong on so many levels. Those players should not be allowed to rejoin their teams.

What kind of life lessons are being taught when young people are rewarded for quitting on their teammates because they didn’t like Mr. Lopez’ coaching style?

What happens when their child doesn’t like his boss? Are these parents going to manipulate that situation, also?

Wake up YHS administrators, back your coaches, and make positive changes to restore this athletic program to its former glory, instead of running it into the ground.

Susan Steinmetz,


Deep gratitude

Dear Editor,

After losing our home of 14 years to the Courtney Fire on a Sunday afternoon in September, we have learned about something surrounding us that we didn’t know the extent of until, we needed it. The outpouring of love and support that this community gives is humbling. I realize the fire was three months ago, but I felt it is still so important to express our deep gratitude to those who helped us in so many ways.

First and foremost, we give thanks to our Lord, Jesus Christ, for working in your hearts to do good things.

Thank you firefighters for your tireless efforts to fight the fire and to risk your lives for our benefit. Thank you for sacrificing sleep, food and comfort to gain advantage in the battle with the flames. We thank the sheriff’s department for protecting our property day and night for days after the fire. When you lose everything you have, what little remains is precious to you.

We thank PG&E for working night and day, risking your lives to restore power and safety to our neighborhood. Thanks also to Sierra Tel crews who worked hard to replace the underground melted phone lines.

Thank you Red Cross for coming to our immediate aid, and for organizing the meetings at the Oakhurst Community Center to bring businesses, organizations, churches and individuals together to help the victims.

Thanks to Christian Aid Ministries. You came from far and wide, working hard to clear our properties for free. Madera County Building and Tax Assessor Departments for working hard to help us to rebuild our house and waiving fees.

Fire Victim’s Donation Center: Thank you for volunteering day after day for more than 30 days to provide a quiet, discreet place for fire victims to come and get needed clothing, shoes, toiletries, bedding, toys, pet food, and gift cards.

And a great big thank you to all of you anonymous givers of the community who donated money and gift cards. Your love and generosity lifted us up in a time of difficulty. Thank you for bearing our burdens with us.

“Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ” Galatians 6:2.

Monica Jeffers,