At the extreme risk of dating myself, I remember the great scene from the movie "Network" (1976) where the late actor Peter Finch, playing a news anchor who hit his breaking point in dealing with everything going on in the country, goes off script and tells the audience the following:
"I want you to get up right now. Sit up. Go to your windows. Open them and stick your head out and yell -- 'I'm as mad as hell and I'm not gonna take this anymore!' Things have got to change. But first, you've gotta get mad! You've got to say, 'I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not gonna take this anymore!'"
Sound familiar? Maybe a little like what we are going through now? The issues that provoked Finch have changed, but the anger is growing to the same level.
It sure does resonate with me.
For the sake of this column, I will touch on high school athletics, and high school athletics alone.
Late last week, the word came down that high school sports are being pushed back once again. Dec. 7 was the first date for sports to resume, but now they are "postponed."
This is garbage.
Club sports continue, often using high school facilities for practice. It's also getting more consistent for these local club teams to travel out of state for tournaments and come back fine.
Yet this is lost on decision-makers.
With high school sports, at least the kids had Dec. 7 as the carrot to point their hopes toward. Now that is gone and who knows when they will have another hope to cling to, if one even arises.
So, where do we direct our anger?
It is not the Pleasanton Unified School District, as they have their hands tied by the Alameda County Public Health Department.
In my heart of hearts, I believe PUSD would love to see the kids competing. They regularly hear from upset parents and know what it would mean to Pleasanton. High school sports have always been one of the fabrics that makes this community great.
California's "do as I say, not as I do" mentality is creating a lack of credible leadership in the state and that is trickling down to the respective counties.
What always has me "as mad as hell" is when people sitting behind desks make life-altering decisions for others who are out trying to live life. Now, it is affecting our kids.
I am not alone with these feelings. Parents are getting upset, as are the coaches.
The coaches feel they are swimming in quicksand and are trying to push back. Many coaches are working together in a new organization called the West Coast Coaching Alliance.
James Logan High School football coach Ricky Rodriguez is the driving force behind the WCCA, an organization that now has over 500 members. They count not only high school coaches as members, but band directors and middle school coaches as well.
For Rodriguez what is happening currently runs deep.
"For me this is personal," Rodriguez said of the shutdown of both schools and athletics. "I see the affects of kids not being able to go to school, not just academically, but socially as well. A lot of kids are struggling."
Rodriguez, a 2003 graduate of Washington High in Fremont, has been running conditioning camps at Logan for 15 weeks with 100 student-athletes. In that span, they have not had one player test positive.
"I know some people think we are running around unorganized," Rodriguez said. "But that's not the case at all. We spend 40 minutes every single day checking the kids in, taking temperatures and making sure they are all safe."
In the day and age where peoples' motives are questioned regularly in hopes of discrediting a point of view, most coaches stand above reproach. High school coaches do not take on any position to make money but do it for the good of the kids
"We ask so much of our student-athletes, like homework, studying and practice when it's regular times," Rodriguez said. "In times like these, we need to go to bat for them -- they deserve it."
The WCCA needs your help.
"We can only do so much as coaches," Rodriguez said. "If the parents send emails or call the (decision-makers), it can really help."
For more information on the WCCA and how to get involved, please contact Rodriguez at [email protected]
Editor's note: Dennis Miller is a contributing sports writer for the Pleasanton Weekly. To contact him about his "Pleasanton Preps" column, email [email protected]