Every time you think you have seen it all, you live another day and you realize you haven’t seen nothing yet!
Really? Seriously? It’s a joke, right?
Of course it’s serious. The coach involved is John Suk, a 31 year old middle school teacher, who was coaching third base in a junior varsity baseball game. Over the course of the trial his character, qualifications, intentions and intelligence are all attacked, all for making a split-second decision that every coach has to make hundreds of time over the course of their career.
Reading about this situation made me want to laugh until I remembered that a real person’s life had been torn to pieces in a real court of law. It is laughable, but there certainly isn’t anything funny about it!
What if the jury does in fact decide that Suk is liable? And what does that mean for all coaches in all sports.
The gymnastics coach who tells a youngster to do a forward roll or cartwheel? The diving coach who tells a kid to jump into the pool? Or the hockey coach who tells a kid to skate fast? All the things that all coaches have to ask all their athletes to do, can lead to injury — in many cases very serious injuries.
We all try to coach in a way that doesn’t lead to creating a dangerous situation but all sports are dangerous. No one means to, no one wants to and everyone is sorry when it happens but things can go wrong even with the best practices and the best intentions. Period.
What will happen when schools either can’t or won’t pay for the increasing cost of insurance? How about recreational leagues or travel-ball organizations? We all know that we live in a litigious society, but there are many more of these types of cases out there waiting to kick us in the butt!
So you say you want to coach?
About the Author: Tory Acheson brings a wealth of knowledge to the Fastpitch Prep staff. He has coached at all levels of the game, including the last 25 years at the college level at the University of Wisconsin – Parkside, Tennessee Tech and Kennesaw State. He began his coaching career at the high school level spending 9 years Whitnall High School in Greenfield, Wis. and is now working as a professional softball instructor.