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All-area team complaints: How do you respond?

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by TheHacker, Apr 2, 2011.

  1. TheHacker

    TheHacker Member

    I'm sure all of us who deal with preps have dealt with this: Angry parent calls or emails demanding to know why their kid didn't make the all-area team. Invariably they ask, "How do you guys pick people?"

    You can explain until you're blue in the face that it's the staff's opinion of who the best players are based on what we observed, and we use stats and input from coaches as part of our consideration. At my place, we actually publish language like that as a disclaimer with our all-area teams, though it hasn't stopped angry parents from asking how we pick. Reading comprehension truly is a lost art.

    As soon as you say all that, they demand to know why you think that Players A. B and C are better than their kid, or they start throwing stats in your face.

    I've been doing this a long time, and I never know how to answer these people. I'm reluctant to be drawn into a player vs. player debate. It's pointless because we're talking about their child, and unless I say, "He's the next LeBron James," nothing is going to pacify them. Bearing that in mind, I realize I shouldn't worry about it. But it does frustrate me. I'm sure many of you feel the same way.

    Suggestions on how you handle these situations? What do you tell these people?
  2. slappy4428

    slappy4428 Active Member

    We got one last week... fuck daddy... the leading scorer doesn't mean best player...

    To all concerned,

    As a concerned parent I noticed the all state selection was released today and I'm very disappointed in the selection committee and yourself if you had anything to do with this outcome. My concern lies on the 2A selection from Piddlefuck High School, which was not the leading scorer or rebounder on the team it was (my son) which you should be aware of this because the stats were posted on (Your website). A kid who has worked hard to overcome an ACL injury and return to the team an lead them to a very successful season. Has all sports in (this state) become so political that we don't promote the kids that actually has worked hard to better themselves but those that are selected for other means or intentions. Obviously the decisions were not based on basketball skills and performance but by those who sit behind a desk and pull names out a hat.

    Thanks for the non-support and the obvious over looked efforts by my son this past season.
  3. HejiraHenry

    HejiraHenry Well-Known Member

    I don't think you want to get pulled into player vs, player comparisons or anything of that sort.

    I tend to stay pretty neutral in those kinds of conversations. "We stand by our choices, as they were made after doing a great deal of homework." I take reponsibility for the choices our prep guys make and I know they do their due diligence.

    This year, resisting the impulse to overinflate the All-Area selections, my guys have been doing 10 in each sport, period, regardless of class. In a pool of about 60 high schools, it keeps the honors extremely exclusive. Having fewer moving parts actually seems to cut down on the points of conflict, since LOTS of players get "left off."
  4. LongTimeListener

    LongTimeListener Well-Known Member

    Not for nothing and the guy is obviously a supercharged dad, but his son was the leading scorer and rebounder on the team and you picked someone else over him for all-area? Was this a position thing, was the teammate the point guard and you didn't have room for the dad's kid on the front line?
  5. slappy4428

    slappy4428 Active Member

    Take his kid off the team and they are successful; take the other kid off -- the kid who saw double teams and did the grunt work so his kid could score -- and .500 is a miracle.
    And it wasnt for all-area, it was all-state from our state's association. Yeah, we put the other kid up. He's a better player than daddy's boy.
  6. podunk press

    podunk press Active Member

    Always a difficult situation. I had different answers for different people.

    For pissed off coaches: "This is our All-Star team representative of our newspaper. I'm sorry you feel the way you do about our decisions, but we are faced with difficult choices and the decision is final. Nothing will change that."

    Usually, the coach would continue bitching, and I would just let them vent, half-listen and politely rebuff any requests for explanations.

    For pissed off parents: "I'm sorry you feel this way." Over and over again.
  7. slappy4428

    slappy4428 Active Member

    My response to the prep editor was "ask daddy if his name is spelled right so when it appears in the paper, his name is right...."
  8. LongTimeListener

    LongTimeListener Well-Known Member

    Without knowing the players or the situation entirely, that's a pretty tough hair to split when one guy has made a clearly bigger tangible contribution. As these awards and accolades go, it sounds like the dad has a pretty good beef. Did you have prior run-ins with him? Because it sounds like maybe you did.
  9. Shaggy

    Shaggy Guest

    apologize and promise to try harder after their kid graduates.
  10. schiezainc

    schiezainc Well-Known Member

    This one is simple enough for us.

    When people complain we tell them that our staff has seen a wide variety of games across a wide variety of levels and, as such, we feel that we are more than capable of being objective in our analysis of who the true all-area team of (insert sport) is.

    This does not mean that the team we've selected is comprised of the best athletes in their sport. In fact, given the way our state divides classes, sometimes the best overall athletically skilled player might get left off.

    But, as a newspaper chain of several papers with several local towns in mind, we select our teams based on a multitude of factors including (but not limited to): Games we've seen in person, stats, the opinion of other coaches, the opinion of his/her coaches, performance in important/playoff games, overall impact on team, importance to team's success, team's ultimate success, the opinion of the state's coaches in their all-class, all-division and all-state selections and, of course, other variables.

    Just because your son is batting .333 in Division I and leading his team to a stellar 6-12 record does not mean he is having a better, more noteworthy season than a kid who has a 4.5 ERA in Division II and is leading his team to a championship. Would your kid crush the other kid if the two met face-to-face? Probably. But our all-area teams are based on more than just talent or athletic ability. They are a collection of the players we feel have had the most impressive seasons and, sometimes, that means a kid who is gifted enough to be on the team may not make the cut.

  11. printdust

    printdust New Member

    I have one suggestion: Never pick a second team, third team or god forbid, honorable mention. Those really bring out the parental complaints..and it is ALWAYS parental complaints, even if they prod the coach into complaining for them. They hold his nuts over the fire, thanks to a buddy on the school board that happens to be their neighbor, business associate, puppet or longtime friend.

    It's one thing to not be mentioned as one of the top six, or 10, players in the region. It's another to list 30-40 and try to explain why someone's kid is not the 41st.

    Sometimes, just to piss them off further, you ought to say how much you are aware that selection to this team guarantees each a full-paid Division I scholarship and you make those decisions based on talent, character, and parental attitudes...you know, the "nut doesn't fall too far from the tree" thinking. Therefore you want the best rounded player in all facets. Talk about getting 'em going.....
  12. Mark2010

    Mark2010 Active Member

    Ugh! Parents! A no-win situation. All I can do is explain that it is a subjective list and he/she is entitled to their own opinion as well.

    So glad I don't have to deal directly with this crap anymore.
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