There are as many life lessons to be gained playing high school sports as anywhere.
Perhaps the most important one is also the one missing the most -- accountability.
Amador Valley football coach Danny Jones saw this missing from some members of the freshman football team in his Dons program. Instead of waiting for the school to react, Jones acted quickly and decisively, suspending the team for a week of practices and canceling their game that was scheduled for Sept. 16.
It might seem like a huge burden for a high school coach to be expected to develop character traits in the players, as well as teach them their respective sports.
But all the best high school coaches I have had the honor to consider friends have embraced helping teenagers become quality young adults.
This is exactly what Jones is doing.
Jones, who graduated from Amador, wants his players at all three levels of the Dons football program to represent the school with the highest standards. If you can't do that, Jones feels the player is not worthy of wearing the Amador uniform.
It was a gutsy move because there was no doubt he was going to get some blowback.
Certainly there were many players who did nothing wrong, and Jones did take some blowback from parents saying it wasn't fair to the players who did nothing wrong.
Of course, the harshest criticism came via the cowardly, "anonymous" email.
What is lost -- this is what accountability is all about.
Accountability is not just answering to your parents, teachers and coaches, but your peers as well. Doing something stupid, or even illegal is some cases, not only affects you but your peers as well.
Cause and effect go hand-in-hand with accountability.
I have worked in the middle schools in Pleasanton for some time, and my wife has worked at Foothill for over 15 years. These are two things some kids today are vastly missing.
Sure, most are great kids, but you have some running loose in terms of discipline and accountability. And it doesn't take many kids to make the entire school look bad.
Believe me, I know plenty of admin who would love to enact tougher discipline policies, but so many of the current guidelines are about making the kids feel warm and fuzzy.
These kids are smarter than many give them credit for. They know what the buzzwords are to say to administrators to get off with a slap on the wrist.
That has changed vastly compared to when I went to school in Pleasanton. You made a bad choice and you paid for it. Now, use words like stressed, bullied or that they are anxious, and instead of being disciplined, you find yourself in the wellness center or the counselors office being told you are okay, and we will work through this together.
No cause and effect -- no accountability.
The one thing I feared the most was my dad getting a call from the school, but those days are gone. There are so many parents who have their heads in the sand about what their kids can do.
If you don't believe me, spend some time on a school campus, especially at lunch time. You will be shocked with some of the stuff you will see.
In addition to vandalism, I have personally witnessed violent actions by kids that warranted far worse a punishment than they received.
It seems to be one of those cases where we coddle until someone gets seriously hurt. We need to be proactive, not reactive.
Jones had seen enough and acted the best way he could.
If even one kid thinks twice before making a stupid decision because of Jones' action, then it must be considered a success.
TV30 live football schedule
It's high school football season, and TV30 is back with all the local action.
Live televised broadcasts of the high school football games will be shown on TV30 starting at 7 p.m.
The games scheduled to be shown live this year are:
* Foothill at Amador Valley; this Friday (Sept. 24).
* Foothill at Dublin; Oct. 22.
* Granada at Livermore; Nov. 5.
Watch the games live on Comcast TV30, AT&T U-verse via Channel 99 or streaming at tv30.org. Check back for repeats during the week.
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]