Jackson Polar Bears Follow-Up

I wrote about some things that irritated me while watching Jackson play on Wednesday, turns out I unknowingly dipped into a very hot topic. I intentionally wrote the original article with broad statements and descriptions. I probably made a mistake doing that. I received so many positive responses from parents and players and even followers that have nothing to do with Jackson. After finding out that the article was making its rounds on message boards I saw that it was being looked at in the wrong light. My fear is that some people were showing support and agreeing with something that I wasn’t trying to project. Though I risk losing some support from people, I feel it’s important for me to keep my integrity and clear up exactly what I meant. I sincerely appreciate the support but I’ll never accept public support in exchange for getting what I wanted said, understood. If I were to do that it would be extremely weak minded of myself and an injustice to the Jackson team, parents and fans. Hopefully the wrong impression wasn’t taken by as many people as I thought.

This time I won’t be vague, I will be specific in order to leave no grey area…

Keep in mind I formed my views without any of the backup issues that the Jackson people struggle with. I only know Coach Butch in passing, I am 0-2 in coaching matchups with him in my career, I’ve talked to him one time this summer at a middle school league. Though I believe he is perfectly capable of doing the job I have no dog in that fight. I have no idea whose parents have all the money, whose parents are on the Board or most influential. I obviously don’t have any connection with any Jackson players, therefore have no preconceived ideas. I have my opinions based solely off of the games I’ve attended and things I’ve heard and observed while there.

The one thing I did know going into this was that Mr. Grace has quite the reputation, and I want to be very clear about this…I was not pointing him out in any way at all. I am also not defending him at all. If anyone thinks that is what I had in mind that is a cop-out and diverting any fault from themselves and whoever else is just as deserving. Without knowing whose parents are whose I heard lots of negativity, and Mr. Grace wasn’t even around.

The biggest injustice is the fact that in my opinion the parents and fans take out their frustration with her dad on Landrie. The fans, I’m assuming some or most were parents, were trashing Landrie and yelling for her not to shoot, making comments like “you won’t get the ball back if you pass it to her”. If you had any sense of reality, as opposed to only recognizing your daughter isn’t scoring as much or shooting as much, you’d realize Landrie is probably also leading the team in assists. At the very least she does an above average job of finding open players and drawing double teams that results in easy baskets for others. She has a unique set of skills that raise the level of the Polar Bears, and you might be shocked to see the difference if you had to play without her. Although many people like to criticize her shot selection, having a player with her range and ability to pull up in transition as well as she does benefits the team in ways most casual observers wouldn’t understand. I’ve talked to Landrie, she realizes she takes some bad shots, she wants to improve and make some better decisions, but I can promise you that publicly scrutinizing a teenage student-athlete isn’t the way to help her get there.

Landrie clearly isn’t without fault but she also doesn’t deserve to be addressed the way she does. Unfortunately it doesn’t stop there. So many people are complaining about using the posts so much. So the guards shoot too much and the posts are too involved, I can’t imagine what the fans want. Then there was complaining that they only scored 29 points against a top 10 team in the state. Since when is a coach terrible for holding a powerful undefeated team to almost half their average and losing by 5 points? The whole situation is magnified and blown out of proportion by people who have no understanding of basketball. It honestly seems like not one player on the team is exempt from the criticism.

If parents only realized how much leverage their words carry. These girls can’t develop continuity and trust to their fullest potential if they’re going home every day hearing how so and so should pass more or the posts aren’t carrying their weight, it’s just not possible. Once people start supporting everyone, Mr. Grace included, you will see a little sharper team, a less hesitant team, a smarter and more free-flowing team. They will then be able to play without reservation, worrying about who they should pass it to or who they shouldn’t. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, this team is loaded with talent! They have four guards that are better than any other four guards in the Federal League and the county. They have above average height and posts, each excelling in a different area. Not everyone can score the points, and every rebound can only be had by one person. When the parents and fans allow their child to be a part of the team and not always strive to increase their recognition then things will work more smoothly. No one person is more important than any other! This surely isn’t a last place team, no one can be happy with that. I understand the frustration from the players and parents.

For what its worth this team is 8 points way from beating Lake, McKinley and Stow, and being the second/third best team in the league. They honestly are that close. They are athletic enough to play with almost anyone. To put things into perspective, in the Lake and McKinley game they were one possession from a win. There’s no way to tell but think of how many turnovers may have been a result of a player not wanting to pass to someone or not making the extra pass for a basket just because they wanted to score or second guessing based off of the negativity they hear from their parents.

I honestly did see a difference Saturday in the half I seen. There was an impressive stretch of team basketball and distributing, everyone was making the right pass for a score. The fans also were behind the team in what seemed to be more of a united fashion. Against Stow there was a lot of complaining and moaning and worrying about who was doing what, Saturday it seemed like the fans were more supportive after timeouts and seemed to be more of a solid group. This issue may be laughed at but I’m telling you right now that this Jackson team may be the best team in the league next year. Parents might as well start checking the egos at the door if you want the best for this team moving forward.

I’m hoping this clears my thinking up, and forces everyone to take a look at how they’ve been acting and talking negatively about the players, coaches and team. Or you could think I’m a foolish outsider that should mind his own business, I’d suggest you take a good look at what I’m trying to say as an unbiased point of view. Negativity is never a good thing. Of course not everyone is guilty and if you’re a parent who supports the team and players unconditionally I commend you. It’s also not just a Jackson issue, but most teams aren’t so close to success. I’m excited to swing by a few more times this year and see the team play some big games…be patient and positive and you might just see the next step happen.

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3 replies

  1. @Mr. Huddle; All in all your first article was an A+ it was clear enough to get the points across that needed to be brought out in regards to the toxic behavior. And because I have been to almost every single game I can assure you that 99.9% of these toxins were being generated directly by one 800 lb. Gorilla in the room. (Or in this case about 175 lb.) I am for certain this is what substantiated your first article’s content making it your only crystal clear writing.
    However your follow up article lacks much clarity. It seemed as if you were somehow trying to exonerate the circus animal and deflect your perceived observation of toxic remarks onto the good parents in the crowd. I CALL NO WAY!! I am not sure what compelled you to point away from the true toxic source, gracing the gym at nearly every game. And I am really not sure how you further went on to somehow bring to attention, other parents that were guilty of giving grief to a certain a player because of this gorilla’s reputation. The more I read your follow up article the less clear you become. Furthermore had you been in attendance for the last two years you would have known this was not the clearer path, in fact your follow up flips the toxic blame completely away from the source. “REALLY”? Hey listen, after nearly two years of this unwelcomed circus act, there may have been a parent or two directing some coaching toward a certain player as you have said. However they were Never ever ever TOXIC! I would venture to say that the sideline coaching was merely the effects of the poisons and toxins released over the last two years by that one gorilla who for too long got away with flinging his rude and obnoxious words and phrases like fecal matter. This is the reputation you say you heard about and this is the only “backup story” struggled with by the people of Jackson, as you characterized it. Being continually subjected to this circus act; was every adolescence and adult in attendance; I am finding it hard to believe you have never witnessed this behavior first hand? Especially at this Stow game. Certainly you couldn’t have overlooked it? By the end of this same game the gorilla’s tactics were at an all-time high; “OR should I say low!” stooping to lower levels of disgust than ever before. Flinging the harshest name calling and degrading statements towards these young players and opposing fans in a manner that is so juvenile and quite frankly beyond sad. I am certain NO parent in their right mind would ever act in this manner; EVER! So how you were able to somehow deflect any shed of toxic behavior towards my fellow parent supporters in this crowd is beyond me and quite frankly sir you have muddied the waters. The only backup story that the people of Jackson has ever struggled with is related to this one individual and his ability to be allowed to continue this circus act for so long. It is a wasted day and a dis-service to all, if a player of any perceived caliper is what allows such an atrocity of circus behavior to be the gift that keeps on giving. The fact is, at this level when such fanatical circus behaviors are acted out in front of our kids and in front of any public community gathering it is best handled head on and eradicated by the appointed powers caging the troublesome beast.
    Well a new day has dawned and rumor has it the gorilla is no longer allowed to grace us at these home games. And I have to say it’s about time

    • At the Stow game I didn’t even know where he was, didn’t see him the entire game. So therefore in that particular situation I could not just assume he was doing all the things you mentioned. However I have seen him in less than honorable moments in previous years, and this year at GlenOak. I thought I made it perfectly clear that I wasn’t pointing the finger entirely at him, and also not defending him. It’s not my place to say who has the most blame, though you very well could be right. My message was that there is more guilty parties then him, if you want to assign severity that’s up to you, I merely said that it there.
      Given the fact that several Jackson players and parents, yes parents, thanked me and agreed with what I said tells me that there is something there, perhaps you’re just not giving it as much credibility as it really needs. I support your idea that if there is a problem that serious it should have been taken care of and hopefully it has. Now hopefully the program can move forward, win some games and start seeing some success. Hopefully I see you around at a game and get a chance to chat. Thank you for reading the article and taking time to respond, I do appreciate it.

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  1. Stow-Jackson Game Notes « HOFHuddle.com

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