I am proud to say I am from Hermiston, a tight-knit community in Eastern Oregon. However, as of late, when it comes to high school sports, coaches and parents, I am finding myself not so excited to say I live here.

I have been a resident of Hermiston for about eight years. My family moved here due to the beautiful weather, slower pace, and to be honest, the overall friendliness of the townspeople. My kids have participated in sports from youth leagues, AAU teams and now high school. A couple of things I have noticed is the very political issues involved with certain sports and the lack of school board members and parents backing legitimate concerns and issues. Examples: We have approved money for new bleachers at Kennison Field for football, yet the bleachers at Weber Field are broken, chipped, bent and quite frankly an embarrassment to any out-of-town teams that come to play. We built a new baseball field at Armand Larive but we cannot use it? We will purchase Nike uniforms for the football team but cannot afford some new equipment for the baseball team? Last time I checked, our football team hasn’t won a state championship in quite some time, yet wrestling, golf and others sports have, and they fundraise their own money. Does not quite add up to me. I understand certain people within the district are partial to certain sports and certain coaches. That is natural — but is it fair to our students and community?

Another issue is the lack of support and respect for some of the coaches within Hermiston. I have seen and heard this first-hand as of late. How involved should a parent be when the student is at the high school level? As parents we are there to support, encourage, cheer and offer advice when needed or asked for. Not to involve ourselves in everyday activities and bad-mouth and belittle a coach because maybe, just maybe, “your” kid is not good enough to start the game, or they are disrespectful to the coach, or whatever the case may be. Yes parents, it is true, you have teenagers, they get mouthy and out of line and when a coach makes decision based on stats, performance, attitude and other attributes — and not who your parents are — why get upset and start the process of eliminating that person? Are you eliminated as a parent because your kid does not agree with your rules and what you expect from him or her? A parent can’t live through their child or try to relive “what could have been for themselves” but was not. The issues should be legitimate instead of petty, such as “my kid didn’t get to start,” or “my kid is the best pitcher on the team, why is he sitting?” Communication is a wonderful thing as long as pride and attitude are set aside for the discussion and one is open to listening to all points of view.

I may not agree with every decision a coach has made, or how maybe their call has cost a game, but I do respect anyone who takes on that role. I cannot imagine the pressure one must feel coming from the community, parents, athletic directors and board members. Can you imagine the daily toll it must take to answer, “When are you going to win a championship? That’s what we hired you for,” or “Why is my kid riding the bench,” and “Do you know who I am?” These are forms of bullying that we actually are trying to teach our kids not to do, but in reality they are learning it from parents and community members. I find that extremely sad. We all want what is best for our children, but do we want it at the cost of being evil and manipulative?

Hermiston lost a very dedicated coach this week, who I for one am proud to say has coached my son and not only taught him more about the sport he loves, but also about being a respectful, dedicated and responsible young man. All the things we as parents teach are reiterated through his coaching. Thank you for the last three years, Mr. Brent Mattson, and I wish you nothing but the best of luck on your next journey. I am sorry that a few “bad” apples made Hermiston feel like an unwelcoming town. Best wishes.

CONCERNED PARENT • HERMISTON

Editor’s note: The Herald does not usually print letters without names; but does make exceptions when the writer is identified to the Herald staff and protecting third parties is a concern.

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