The Reality of Politics in Athletics
After the loss, I didn’t want to do anything for a long while. I was exhausted physically, but more so, mentally.
At the culmination of every season, the newspapers pick their top five players for each position in South Jersey and New Jersey as a whole. Since we had a 25-1 record throughout the regular season, with me being the leading scorer and rebounder on the team, I figured I’d be on all the rankings. This was important to me because it would be icing on the cake for the thousands of hours of work I put in. From getting kicked out of tryouts on my first day of freshman year to leading this team deep into the playoffs as a leading scorer, I felt I deserved any accolades that would come my way.
However, it wasn’t meant to be.
When I opened the newspaper to see where the reporters ranked me, I was nowhere to be found. I wasn’t in any of the major newspapers at all, when I felt I was easily as good as the other players who made the first teams. After the shock of not making any of the teams, I thought about what may have happened.
Before the newspapers made their final rankings, they typically called the coaches to get their input. I had a feeling that when the newspapers called Coach Adams, he didn’t vouch for me. The reporters had no choice but to believe him, so they may have kept me from all the rankings. While I was expecting to go to Maine being an All-State or at least All-South Jersey player, officially it wasn’t the case.
I didn’t confront Coach Adams about the rankings because I didn’t want to deal with him ever again. On the final day I’d ever need to see him, we had to return our warmups and jerseys to the coaches, all washed. I brought the bag of clothes, but I couldn’t even go into the same room as him since I didn’t want to look him in the eye. Later that day, I got an angry call from him because I didn’t place the bag in his hands. It felt like a nightmare I couldn’t get out of.