Sunday, April 20, 2014

Consider both sides, please

I am a former Davis High School volleyball player who played both freshman and sophomore years. Recently, allegations have been made against the Peterson family involving the volleyball program that are not accurate.
When I started out as a freshman, there were 14 freshman athletes playing volleyball. By the senior year, only three remained. Most of the 11 who quit did so because of personal conflicts with the coaches. The volleyball program has had a history of complaints that have mostly been ignored.
Emma Peterson was brought up to the JV team as a freshman, coached by Julie Crawford. Then as a sophomore, she was brought onto the varsity, coached once again by Julie Crawford. After playing for Julie Crawford for three seasons and playing competitively for Five Stars volleyball for many more, succeeding on both teams, Emma was cut from the varsity volleyball team. She was the only one cut and the only senior.

Emma is a talented athlete who did not deserve to miss out on playing her senior year because of a problem her coach had with her mother.
It is sad that the people of our town choose to personally attack and malign a high school student who has done nothing wrong. This has gone too far. People who should not have been involved have felt the need to attack the Petersons and their integrity, even though they do not know the whole story. Instead of being so quick to vilify a fellow Davisite, maybe they should spend the time to learn about the situation.
I think the underlying question here is why this situation has gone on for so long. Administrators should have made a decision before it negatively affected the boys volleyball team, which I think we all can agree is an unfortunate situation. Both sides are frustrated with the lack of communication and progress in a case that should have been solved months ago.
Emily Paciulla

Letters to the Editor


Discussion | 10 comments

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  • Debbie RamosFebruary 18, 2014 - 12:16 pm

    Very well said, Emily. I agree with you 100%. Can we all stop taking sides? Please remember that the young woman involved still has to attend school through all of this. Some of the comments on Facebook and in reply to articles have been down right vicious and many comments have been posted anonymously. I am disappointed in this town.

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  • February 18, 2014 - 2:35 pm

    Perhaps the Petersons should have considered this before they started rocking the boat. After the last firing of the coach, it was obvious that this was going to be a hot topic. The Peterson parents brought this on themselves! It's a shame that Emma is suffering for it.

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  • Ann BlockMarch 02, 2014 - 4:54 pm

    My goodness, did you even READ Emily P's comment?? This is from a brave girl that was ON THE TEAM. She says that 11 players from the same grade left even before Emma Peterson. Why was that?? Perhaps you should be thanking the Petersons for looking out for all the volleyball players in Davis and sticking their necks out -- instead of joining the lynch mob against them. Bravo Emily -- and hang in there Nancy, Emma and family. (BTW, I know neither party to this dispute personally -- but this incredibly destructive and mostly anonymous criticism by those who have NO information about what happened has got to stop!)

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  • March 03, 2014 - 9:50 am

    Ann, you need to understand that volleyball at the level of the senior girls team is incredibly challenging and a lot of girls just either lack the talent, athletic ability, personal drive, etc to make the team ... whether they want to or not. I've seen a lot of otherwise capable players get to their senior year and just decide to not even try out ... that doesn't have anything to do with the coach, it's because it's hugely competitive, very hard work, takes a ton of precious time, etc ... it's just not for everyone. And that should NOT be misinterpreted as it meaning anything else. It's really easy to blame coaches for everything from lack of playing time to not winning ... happens all the time ... that doesn't make it true or fair.

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  • Ann BlockMarch 03, 2014 - 12:59 pm

    Since my elder daughter is playing D1 college soccer, I do understand highly competitive sports requiring a lot of skill, and that not everyone has the talent or skills. Soccer requires talent and skills that are also developed over time, and some kids do not stick with that sport, either. That said, eleven players dropping out from one class is significant, even in a tough sport. Extremely significant. I doubt that lack of talent would account for those numbers -- something else is going on. The District ignored an abusive situation in an elementary school for years, with half the students in a particular teacher's class literally leaving every year. No action taken b/c litigation was feared. Finally the parents had had enough -- and organized and threatened the District with litigation themselves. Granted 7 year olds are in a different space altogether than teenagers. But teenagers should also be treated fairly, with respect, no humiliation and no abuse. We have many awesome coaches in Davis -- but we also have coaches that feel the rules don't apply to them and egos that are truly "legendary". We need clear, concise rules with due process, but speedy process -- and a plan "B" in place in case the coach, teacher, or whomever, is not asked back, so that the team as a whole can move forward.

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  • David WallaceMarch 03, 2014 - 11:41 pm

    Ann, it is completely normal for a majority of freshman players to no longer compete in a given team sport by their senior year. When you consider that there is an exclusive freshman team, as well as freshman players on both the JV and varsity teams, simple math alone dictates that there are not nearly enough spots for even 1/2 of them to continue on to their senior year. Typically only about 1/3 of freshman athletes will compete for their entire high school careers, the rest stop playing for any number of reasons (e.g. loss of interest, injury, increased academic demands, school transfer). Others may be cut from the team based on performance ability or negative behavior. The point is that 11 is not "extremely significant" but rather standard. Furthermore, while I can appreciate Emily wanting to support her friend, she needs to learn that she can do so without making negative remarks against the coaching staff. It devalues her point that she doesn't want people to attack the Petersons, while she is doing the very same thing to her former coaches.

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  • March 04, 2014 - 8:52 am

    David, again, I am quite familiar with the progression from freshman to senior in high school sports. You are correct that many JV players do not make the cut for varsity. Turnover happens. But Emily directly said "most of the 11 did so because of personal conflicts with the coach." With all due respect, I would tend to believe a credible former player and current student athlete, especially one who has herself been recruited by numerous D1 schools as an athlete in her sport, than someone who has never been on the team, whether parent or bystander. Seems like this coach has a lot of room for improvement. Just because a coach "wins games" doesn't mean s/he is a good coach. Coaching should be a lot more about winning -- in high school especially it should be about developing character as well as talent, teaching respect and teamwork, and modelling behavior as an adult while on "duty" that is irreproachable.

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  • February 18, 2014 - 7:33 pm

    Bravo, Emily!

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  • February 19, 2014 - 12:52 am

    Emily- you are a very courageous young woman and you should be very proud of yourself. Well said!

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  • MTMarch 04, 2014 - 11:48 am

    I agree with David. By my calculations only five of the "14" ever played for coach Crawford in their DHS careers and of those five, four made it all the way to senior year tryouts. Slippery slope when you speak for other players.

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