Archive for Thursday, February 24, 2005

Letter to the Editor

February 24, 2005

To the Editor:

We received an unsigned letter in the mail last week that certainly highlights and even echoes some realities and deeply held feelings by all of the Baldwin City Recreation Commission staff. The anonymous author vehemently critiqued the recreation department's progress toward our stated goal of providing a "quality recreational and leisure opportunity" for the children of our community.

I do wish to thank that individual for bringing to the attention of the public the various shortcomings of coaches, spectators and even some players who participate in the programs we offer. I agree with this secretive writer that we have coaches that do not live up to the standards we wish to achieve. We certainly find that at times there are absolutely wonderful parents who exhibit behavior at a sporting event that is better left ignored, if not in fact, censored. I am well aware that this teaches our children attitudes we certainly do not wish to foster.

It is at this point that our paths diverge, however. The fact that there are adults who do not live up to the standards that we wish to present in no way negates our overriding desire to put together programs that meet those objectives. I strongly believe that we do just that ... plan, develop and administer "quality" programs for our children. We consistently work to keep a balance between instruction and competition ... with fun as the objective. We seek to find the best parents available to work with the literally hundreds of children who enroll in the various sports. We also take time to try to instruct coaches, officials and players in the best sportsmanship possible. Often times, we find ourselves with more children than we have "optimum" coaches for. We find ourselves in a dilemma between refusing a child's opportunity and seeking less than optimum coaches for the various sports programs we offer. We consistently choose to allow the children to participate. That creates some problems, but we feel they are better served getting to play than to be forced to sit on the sidelines.

If the nameless penmen would spend a day with us during the development and administration of these programs, he or she would be amazed at the "blood, sweat and (at times) tears" that goes into getting these programs ready for your children (or grandchildren, if that be the case). It is not out of the ordinary to change rosters a dozen times before all the "complaints" of parents are addressed, if not rectified. There is no issue that I know of that doesn't have ardent supporters on both sides of the aisle. For every person that voices the opinion of this unsigned letter, there is another person equally as vocal, who thinks we are competitive enough, don't limit the opportunities to "just the best" of the children or who think we should be running a collegiate program of sports for our Kindergarten children. We get to hear it all.

I am happy to say that much of the time those complaints come through the door or by way of the telephone by people who take the time and have the grace to identify themselves to us. It gives us an opportunity to discuss the issue with them and to get some feed back that might make our programs even better than I think they currently are.

I would be glad to talk with anyone about our programs. We have office hours from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, but I have been known to meet with people late into the evening if that was the only time they could get with me. A phone call works nicely to set up an appointment, if needed. The number is 594-3670. Really, I would love to talk with any or all of you who have concerns.

Monte Ezell

Director of Recreation

820 High Street

(Editor's note: The Baldwin City Signal also received the anonymous letter regarding the recreation commission. The Signal does not publish anonymous letters.)

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