Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Bob Dunning: Dad never complained when I was cut


From page A2 | February 21, 2014 |

TOO PAINFUL FOR WORDS … it was the spring of my junior year at Davis High School … I showed up at the assigned time of 3:30 p.m. for the first day of tryouts for the varsity tennis team … if anyone could help the Blue Devils beat Dixon and Winters and Courtland and Clarksburg and the dreaded Rio Vista Rams, it was me … the team roster was posted by 8 a.m. the next morning in the high school gym … only one player had been cut (see photo above) …

It may not have helped that I showed up for the previous day’s tryouts barefoot, wearing cutoff Levi’s and wielding a 10-year-old “Althea Gibson” model tennis racket I had borrowed from my sister … plus I served underhanded so the ball would land in the little square where it was supposed to land, and I switched the racket from hand to hand to avoid ever having to hit a backhand …

When I complained to my dad about my misfortune, I got plenty of sympathetic words, but no action … he didn’t think I was any good either … little did my dad or the coach in question know that later in life my illustrious tennis career would take me to the hallowed grass courts of Wimbledon, where tournament officials welcomed me with open arms (once I agreed to buy a ticket) …

I still know the coach’s name and I have researched the statute of limitations for intentional infliction of emotional distress … rather than asking the school district to launch a full-scale investigation into this crime against my humanity, I’m willing to settle for $22,000 … cash only …

SPEAKING OF $22,000 … as we all suspected, given that the school district was billed at three different rates ($250 per hour, $225 per hour and $180 per hour) for the volleyball investigation that has officially entered the language as V-Gate, it is now confirmed that three attorneys worked on this report … apparently, when a coach cuts a player from a high school volleyball team, it’s a very big deal that can’t be handled by one attorney alone …

According to an administrative assistant in the DJUSD business services office, “I can clarify that the rates represent 3 different attorneys at the same firm who worked on this matter.” … when pressed as to whether other attorneys or investigators were consulted, this district employee wrote “I can clarify that the financial numbers in the most recent email totaling $22,041 were the total legal invoice billings for this matter that are in the possession of the business office as of this date.” … which leaves open the possibility there may be more billings down the road … either way, this is clearly the go-to law firm for volleyball-related matters …

SEE NO EVIL … after watching the school board meeting Thursday night, it’s apparent that none of our esteemed board members are troubled in the least by the $22,041 that has been squandered to date on a volleyball investigation that should have been handled in-house by our salaried district employees … not a peep from any of them about the waste of taxpayer dollars that could have been spent on far worthier causes …

THE AGONY OF DEFEAT … I turned on the TV Thursday afternoon in time to catch the final four minutes of the Olympic women’s hockey gold medal game between the United States and Canada … the U.S. was ahead 2-0, which is like being ahead 35-0 in football … I figured the gold medal was assured, which is a big deal considering who we were playing … alas, it wasn’t to be, as the perennial champion Canadians rallied to score twice in those final minutes to tie the game, then won the whole thing in overtime …

The medal ceremony was painful to watch … there was simply no way for the American women to hide their disappointment over coming so close … in many winter sports a silver medal brings great joy, but the cruel irony of Olympic hockey is that you have to lose your final game to earn silver … oddly, the bronze medal winners won their final game and team members were awash with smiles …

Winning a gold medal in men’s Olympic hockey pales in comparison to hoisting the NHL’s Stanley Cup, but for the women, this is the very height of their sport … they won’t get another chance for another four years … we can all be forgiven for crying along with the American women as the flags of three nations were raised, but only the beautiful strains of “O Canada” were played in the arena to conclude the medal ceremony …

— Reach Bob Dunning at [email protected]





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