Sometimes being on top means when a pebble hits, it feels like a boulder. The latest news to come from the North Shore again falls into the negative category. Head football coach Reggie Torres and JV coach Ikaika Plunkett have been suspended indefinately by Principal Donna Lindsey. Apparently some JV players had illegal substances while on their training camp at school. The coaches were suspended for not notifying the administration of the incident, which was discovered on Tuesday. Lindsey found out on Thursday after a parent complained.
No one is commenting until an investigation is completed. But apparently the coaches tried to handle it internally, with punishing runs at midnight and early the next morning.
The program is still reeling from last season’s disqualification from the OIA playoffs for using an ineligible player. AD Joe Whitford had to go on paid leave during that investigation.
In defense of the coaches, I and many other people who have coached or worked with youth may understand. Kids will always make mistakes. And these high school players, specifically the JV players, are indeed kids. Yes, the rules are black and white, and in this case illegal substances on school grounds or at a school function have policies that leave no gray area. But have we not in our own adolescent lives broken obvious rules, or tried to stretch them, or even see if we can get away with them? Many times with peer pressure and misguided upbringing, teens who may have their head on straight and adults view as “good kids” can simply mess up for one reason or another. Even trouble makers, those that are non-malicious and simply looking for some added attention or gratification may try to break a “tough rule”.
In the end it is wrong. But as adults there are times we may want to teach this lesson in our own way that will not have the youth suspended from school or kicked off the team. Based on our own judgement, we want to give the youth a second chance. Why? Because in our judgement they deserve it.
But Reggie Torres has been driving on a bumpy road since day 1 as head coach of a nationally ranked football program. The whole Kahuku community, Red Raider nation, were divided in response to his changes and reforms of the program. Remember the boycott of practice a few years back? Much like those small Texas towns where older generations still live and die by their sons or grandsons now carrying the Kahuku torch they once did years ago, parents have their own agenda and Torres knew that going in. When the microscope is on and neighbors have differing opinions on how you run “their team”, you have to cross all your T’s and dot your I’s.
Because when you turn away, the Nation can come up to bite you.
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