Regarding comments made at the School Board meeting last week about RCHS going back into the Bull Run District, myself along with many other citizens applaud the decision to rejoin the Virginia High School League (VHSL).
It was not too long ago, in fact only three years, that we were competitive in basketball with the other schools in our district. Not only single-A but the double-A schools.
My children as sixth-graders were on a JP team that played Madison, Page, Luray and Stonewall Jackson. We competed, we won and we improved. In the years since the rule was implemented about trying to use only school employees for coaching, our teams have suffered. There has been no continuity, no first-hand experience and clearly no success. In the years that we have played “the private school schedule,” the JP teams have dominated, yet as they move into the JV and varsity level, they have floundered.
The first year we participated and played freshman football, we won. When Mike Leake, Gary Settle, Rhonda Jenkins, Richie Burke, Mike Weir, Jared Neiders, Hodge Miller, Connie Compton-Smith, Kim Vest, Bonnie Pullen and Jeff Jenkins all coached the sports at our schools, we won, we competed and the stands were packed.
When my boys were in the first and second grade, they wanted to go to basketball games on a Friday night. The gymnasium was packed, they had half-time shows, there were cheerleaders, there were fans. Now we are lucky to have 25 people in the stands for a basketball game. The last home game for the season was pitiful. The seniors were not even honored as they should have been.
When the board at Stuart Field decided to move from District 5 play to District 8 play in the Cal Ripken/Babe Ruth League, our first year was tough. District 8 included Fauquier, Winchester, Summit Point, Stafford and Manassas. But we improved and we have competed and our players have become better for the move. Many of our players are on varsity teams at their respective schools in both Culpeper and Rappahannock County as ninth- and tenth- graders. Players in any sport cannot improve if you do not have solid competition. Playing teams that are little or no competition does not help the athlete, it gives them a false sense of confidence and sets them up for a fall.
We need to rebuild our programs and we need to hire the best candidates for the positions of coaching in all sports. All coaches should have to be evaluated and reapply for their positions every year. They should not be handed the job, because they are a teacher. The parents of the players on the individual teams should be polled and talked to about the coaching.
We need to bring the pride back to our school and back to our county. Keep RCPS in the VHSL District and start anew. Nowhere does it say we have to have varsity teams in all sports. Rebuild, regroup and watch success and pride come back to our school!