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Old
02-06-2008, 12:27 PM
  #1
Puckboy
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For those involved in youth hockey

A general question to all who are involved in youth hockey. What would look for in a program and what would you change to your current organization. I would like to grow the program in my area and am looking for any and all suggestions. It may be anything from how try outs are run, coaches are picked, rink is mangaged.

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02-06-2008, 02:21 PM
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Coaches are good. If you get some to move to your organization i guarantee players will move to. You also need a few years to show that your organization isnt a joke

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02-07-2008, 10:11 AM
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I am surprised by the lack of responses. I assumed many where involved with youth programs

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02-07-2008, 11:23 AM
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Make sure you are doing this for the right reasons THE KIDS. if you are building a house program ensure teams are formed to build parity, (i.e. split the studs, the middle of the road and the beginners equally between each team).

Make sure you are following USA Hockey program guidelines for devekpment, practice to game ratios, splitting of ice time etc. Once again, if this is a house program all players should get equal ice time. The goal is to develop all players and instill a love for the game so they want to come back season after season.

That being said, you need to ensure your coaches make sure it's FUN. If it's not fun the kids won't come back. Everybody from the organization officials, coaches, parents to players need to be on the same page. This is about fun, developing skils, instilling a sense of teamwork and sportsmanship. Just remember, nobody is playing for the Stanley Cup. As I all ask my players before taking the ice for a game "What's the most important thing?' The answer is "HAVE FUN!"

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02-07-2008, 11:50 AM
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I don't really have a lot of experienced being involved with youth hockey, but I think like anything, it's essential to have a positive environment in which to grow in.

Gotta get the kids in it for the right reasons. If they're not playing to have fun, what use is it?

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02-07-2008, 12:00 PM
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After watching my son play competively for years, I've come to the conclusion that tryouts are a waste of time. The coaches and other selectors have pretty much already made up their minds, so why put kids and parents through the charade and disappointment?

Anyone who's paying attention knows where almost every kid fits in the pecking order. So at the end of each year, announce where each player will play the following season. In essence, let the season be the tryout for the following year. And when a new season begins, assess each team for the first two or three weeks. If a player looks like they should be playing at a higher level, or are in over their head, make the switch then. There always seems to be two or three kids on every team who are playing at the wrong level.

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02-07-2008, 01:17 PM
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Quote:
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After watching my son play competively for years, I've come to the conclusion that tryouts are a waste of time. The coaches and other selectors have pretty much already made up their minds, so why put kids and parents through the charade and disappointment?

Anyone who's paying attention knows where almost every kid fits in the pecking order. So at the end of each year, announce where each player will play the following season. In essence, let the season be the tryout for the following year. And when a new season begins, assess each team for the first two or three weeks. If a player looks like they should be playing at a higher level, or are in over their head, make the switch then. There always seems to be two or three kids on every team who are playing at the wrong level.
So a kid works hard over the summer, should be on a rep team, but plays house for a couple of weeks, then you put him at the level he should be at.

How do you tell the marginal rep player, the one you decide to move down to make room for the improved kid, that he's going down to play House League and it's time to say good bye to his teammates?

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02-07-2008, 01:45 PM
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So a kid works hard over the summer, should be on a rep team, but plays house for a couple of weeks, then you put him at the level he should be at.

How do you tell the marginal rep player, the one you decide to move down to make room for the improved kid, that he's going down to play House League and it's time to say good bye to his teammates?
I've seen plenty of kids in tears, my own included, when they've been cut after tryouts. Is that any better? No system is perfect, but I really believe making adjustments a couple of weeks into the season is the best way toi make sure every kids is at their proper level. I'm not asking them to move to another city. Just go to another team with players they've probably played with before.

I think the `trauma' of changing teams two weeks into a season is much less than playing at a level you clearly don't belong at. I've seen kids criticized by their teammates and listened to parents gripe in the stands about how they're not good enough to play at that level. It's no fun.

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02-07-2008, 01:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Macman View Post
After watching my son play competively for years, I've come to the conclusion that tryouts are a waste of time. The coaches and other selectors have pretty much already made up their minds, so why put kids and parents through the charade and disappointment?

Anyone who's paying attention knows where almost every kid fits in the pecking order. So at the end of each year, announce where each player will play the following season. In essence, let the season be the tryout for the following year. And when a new season begins, assess each team for the first two or three weeks. If a player looks like they should be playing at a higher level, or are in over their head, make the switch then. There always seems to be two or three kids on every team who are playing at the wrong level.
I couldn't agree more.
This happens far too often in most towns. I know that our home town, a person can only coach a set of kids (or birth years) once. This means that he can't coach the same kids for 10 years.
It helps somewhat, but there always seems to be another father or person of interest who takes up where the last coach left off and picks the same kids year after year.

I've seen some teams where a kid, who is easily one of the top 5 players on the team, gets cut only because the coaches and parents don't know him and his parents.

And lets face it, out of the 15-18 kids that make the team, there's very little separating them from the ones that do get cut. So that's where the politics and popularity contests kick in.

I really don't know how you avoid this though. I've even heard of some parents sending coaches gifts or doing their best to kiss their ass so their kid gets more time.

It makes you wonder how many potential NHLers were pushed out of the game because of stupid parents and coaches.

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02-07-2008, 05:05 PM
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I agree to an extent on the tryouts. I coach my dauhgter's team and have a good idea which kids will be ready to move up to the A level next year. I appreciate a second and third opinion, but I'd rather base it on someone who has seen every game and every practice. My daughter will still be a B player next year so there is no bias there. We're not ultra competitive, so I certainly don't have any parents bribing me to get their player to a certain level.

Besides making sure the kids have fun, the biggest asset you can have is being organized. There is nothing worse than paying alot of dough for a program and then having practice times moved repeatedly or games double-booked (both of which have happened with my team this year). It is extremely frustrating for the parents and for the kids if they have carved out a time in their schedule to get to practice, and then have the practice time and place moved. Or to get to a rink for a game and find out that two other teams are also there for a game at the same time.

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02-08-2008, 03:02 AM
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I've seen plenty of kids in tears, my own included, when they've been cut after tryouts. Is that any better? No system is perfect, but I really believe making adjustments a couple of weeks into the season is the best way toi make sure every kids is at their proper level. I'm not asking them to move to another city. Just go to another team with players they've probably played with before.

I think the `trauma' of changing teams two weeks into a season is much less than playing at a level you clearly don't belong at. I've seen kids criticized by their teammates and listened to parents gripe in the stands about how they're not good enough to play at that level. It's no fun.
The system should be fair. I just don't see how your suggestion makes it more fair. Why would the kid, if picked fairly, half a year earlier "clearly not belong"? Kids can improve a lot in 6 months, rarely will they regress. All you are suggesting is that they turn the first few weeks of a season into a tryout with some kids at a disadvantage starting out. If a good honest job was done 6 months earlier, you will have players "on the bubble" not have them clearly not belonging. Along comes a kid that worked extra hard over the summer, that now "clearly belongs" and you have to make room for him...in your system by taking away someones spot on the team.

Good luck finding a player that will be happy to move down, it's hard enough getting players to move teams for balancing a house league never mind moving down a rep player. If the guy obviously doesn't belong it's easier to cut him in a tryout than move him later, especially if he was put there through political pressure originally.

I agree with your sentiments. Parents are doing there kid no favours moving them up well beyond their abilities not to mention unfairly displacing some kid that deserves to be there. The problem is that there will always be grey areas, differences of opinion, even in a well run system.

My kid has been cut, lots of tears, but the process was good for him IMO, though I agree it is not always. I just don't see a reasonable alternative to tryouts.

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02-08-2008, 07:39 AM
  #12
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The system should be fair. I just don't see how your suggestion makes it more fair. Why would the kid, if picked fairly, half a year earlier "clearly not belong"?
That's my point. I don't think there would me many, if any, kids who wouldn't belong if you used the previous season as an evaluation instead of a frenzied tryout over a few weekends. I don't think many, if any, kids would have to be shuffled. And as long as everybody knows before hand how the system works, the disappointment of being bumped would be no worse than the disappointment of being cut under the current system. Or no worse than the helpless feeling kids get when they realize they're in over their head, can't compete, and are afraid to take a shift. Kids end up quitting hockey because of that.

Maybe what I'm proposing wouldn't work, but I know the current system is flawed. When you've got 150 kids on the ice for a few weekends and a bunch of evaluators in the stands with clipboards, mistakes are going to be made. I've seen many kids go into tryouts, play well and get overlooked while others make mistakes but it's missed or overlooked. There are a couple of kids on my son's team this year who are obvious house leaguers and are having a terrible time competing. Maybe if all the coaches in the league had sat down at the end of the last season, done honest evaluations on every player based on their play and development over an entire season, that could have been avoided.

I dunno, maybe this has been tried in some places and causes even more problems. Just a thought.

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02-08-2008, 12:31 PM
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...I've seen some teams where a kid, who is easily one of the top 5 players on the team, gets cut only because the coaches and parents don't know him and his parents....
And somtimes it is because the coach does know the parents. As mentioned so many times on this board, coachs are volunteering. The last thing most of them want to deal with is parents who whine and complain at every opportunity.

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02-08-2008, 01:11 PM
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Tryouts are probly the one thing that gets looked at the most. i couldnt wait for tryouts as a kid. I know that as a coach you have atleast 80% of your team picked out, but having kids you never seen before is also good. its easy to play against kids you just got done playing becuase you know what they like to do but you get a new kid who has all the moves you can see what kids defend or act better. but i loved it when my coach took a chance on someone he has never seen before but looked good at tryouts becuase thats how i got onto my first travel team. picking the same team will only give you the same results or close it year in and year out and changing players on the team can make or break a season. also the more ice time you can give a player the better, but the coach has to know how to manage the ice time and teach is the most important. i had a midget coach who taught from the time you hit the ice until the zamboni kicked us off. i had a high school teach me nothing and skated the team every mourning and it sucked. but to build a good USA hockey team and organization its starts with coaching and management, also coaches cant show favorites twords there own kids because it can really bring down a team.

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02-08-2008, 10:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Puckboy View Post
A general question to all who are involved in youth hockey. What would look for in a program and what would you change to your current organization. I would like to grow the program in my area and am looking for any and all suggestions. It may be anything from how try outs are run, coaches are picked, rink is mangaged.
So I take it you are writing a ebook on how to become a hockey director? Maybe a ebook on "How to build hockey programs for Dummy's"

The way you are asking this question, it seem to general. If you are really a hockey director, would would know these answers to your questions. If you are not a hockey director, I recommend you go out an hire one. Building a program without an experience hockey director will just make you look bad to your parents and kids that will not join your program.

To teach you how to do this properly can't be done over a forum thread. It takes 100's on man hours to build a program that is successful. Yes, you can try. But you just can't throw something together off the cuff.

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02-09-2008, 10:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Headcoach View Post
So I take it you are writing a ebook on how to become a hockey director? Maybe a ebook on "How to build hockey programs for Dummy's"

The way you are asking this question, it seem to general. If you are really a hockey director, would would know these answers to your questions. If you are not a hockey director, I recommend you go out an hire one. Building a program without an experience hockey director will just make you look bad to your parents and kids that will not join your program.

To teach you how to do this properly can't be done over a forum thread. It takes 100's on man hours to build a program that is successful. Yes, you can try. But you just can't throw something together off the cuff.

Headcoach
dude, chill out. the poster wasn't asking anybody to teach them anything. here's a bulletin: we're all volunteers and every town won't be able to find someone with years of experience to build their program. and for all you know, the poster may in fact have years of experience and just be looking for some new ideas.

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02-09-2008, 09:05 PM
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dude, chill out. the poster wasn't asking anybody to teach them anything. here's a bulletin: we're all volunteers and every town won't be able to find someone with years of experience to build their program. and for all you know, the poster may in fact have years of experience and just be looking for some new ideas.
Sorry Headcoach, I've got to agree with zeroG. Not everyone that asks for advice expects to become an expert, and you have to start somewhere....

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02-11-2008, 07:43 AM
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And somtimes it is because the coach does know the parents. As mentioned so many times on this board, coachs are volunteering. The last thing most of them want to deal with is parents who whine and complain at every opportunity.
I'm sure that can be the case just as much.

But in this case, the kid had moved from out of province and was cut solely based on the fact that the parents didn't know anyone and weren't in the 'in crowd'.

The kid wound up making it on another AAA team in a town further away. By seasons end, he was 2nd on the team in scoring and top 10 in their division. The local team missed out on a dynamite player only because of politics/popularity.

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02-13-2008, 09:36 AM
  #19
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So I take it you are writing a ebook on how to become a hockey director? Maybe a ebook on "How to build hockey programs for Dummy's"

The way you are asking this question, it seem to general. If you are really a hockey director, would would know these answers to your questions. If you are not a hockey director, I recommend you go out an hire one. Building a program without an experience hockey director will just make you look bad to your parents and kids that will not join your program.

To teach you how to do this properly can't be done over a forum thread. It takes 100's on man hours to build a program that is successful. Yes, you can try. But you just can't throw something together off the cuff.

Headcoach

Not a director and not looking to be. It is my goal to grow the program that I am involved with. I am willing to help out any way that I can because I love the sport of hockey and love to teach the game. The team I am associated with and any other team should always strive to become better. I am not writing any type of book that is for sure just looking to be able to provide feedback to the director on new and hopefully exciting ideas that will help benefit the kids.

Thanks for everyones help.

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02-13-2008, 02:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Puckboy View Post
Not a director and not looking to be. It is my goal to grow the program that I am involved with. I am willing to help out any way that I can because I love the sport of hockey and love to teach the game. The team I am associated with and any other team should always strive to become better. I am not writing any type of book that is for sure just looking to be able to provide feedback to the director on new and hopefully exciting ideas that will help benefit the kids.

Thanks for everyones help.
Ok, I stand corrected. I would be more than happy to help. After doing this for 30 years. I have a lot to tell you. Where would you like to begin? We can do this on the forum or you can PM me or send me an email. It's up to you. Before we get started, I need to know just a few demographic of your area. Sorry, it not that I am prying, it's just that this will tell me a couple of things so I can direct you.

What is the name of your town or city? If you will provide this to me, I could work up the demographic for myself and not burden you with this. Once I have the demographics, I could work you up a game plan on how to build your program.

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02-14-2008, 08:59 AM
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Head coach a PM has been sent. Should have a lot of the info you are looking for. Thanks for taking the time and helping out.

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02-14-2008, 11:59 AM
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Head coach a PM has been sent. Should have a lot of the info you are looking for. Thanks for taking the time and helping out.
Here's what I worked out for you on demographics and it looks like you are a apart of the Manchester School District as well:

Southern New Hampshire University: 3700 students
Manchester Central High School: 2395 students
Smyth Road School: 384 students
Currier Art Center: No information
David R Cawley Middle School: 481 students
Trinity High School: No information
Fred C Underhill School: 476 students
Weston School: 569 students
Hooksett Memorial School: 523 students
The Derryfield School: No information
Bakersville School: 321 students
Beech Street School: 677 students
Gossler Park School: 429 students
Green Acres School: 557 students
Hallsville School: 355 students
Highland-Golf Falls School: 594 students
Hillside Middle School: 937 students
Jewett School: 397 students
Manchester Memorial High School: 2169 students
Parker-Varney School: 467 students
Parkside Middle School: 791 students
Southside Middle School: 936 students
Webster School: 466 students
Wilson School: 443 students
McDonough Elementary School: 579 students
Northwest Elementary School: 676 students
Henry J. McLaughlin Middle School: 818 students

Total students for the surrounding area: 19,571 students

Ok, so what's next?
Please answer these questions that I sent to you on your PM.

Thanks
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02-14-2008, 06:07 PM
  #23
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While HeadCoach came out hard core........

The point is made in how much goes on that many of hte players and adults do not realize. Just comprising a board of directors involves many legal action and liability isues. Considering each team fielded would require a min of around 140hrs of ice at the travel level. At just 100.00 per hour....lots of money becomes involved. Kudos to the people that deal with all the behind closed doors workings of a hockey organization. Its a tough job.

There are thousands of people directly involved with the game and its promotion for the benefit of our children, to every one who is looking more from an internal or personal gain POV. I read what apears to be VERY petty reasons for a child to not be selected. In my years as a player, coach, program director, and hockey dad, I have seen nothing but valid reasons for the selections that are made. I have also seen nothing but valid reasons for those who didnt make the cut.

There is politics in Hockey because its Organizations are inherantly political in structure. We have presidents, VP and a host of other "directors". Is it tough...yes. Try to break into a team at the Bantam level. The child had better be pretty good to knock out a team member that might consist of 14 core players for multiple seasons. Add in the fact that many Coaches also move up with their team, you have a "family" unit.

The one thing I dont like about try-outs is that, at least localy, the coach may not post a list of preselected players nor state there are limited slots. I think it would make for a much better process if it is either known how many slots "might" be available or if there have been any "pre-selected RETURNING" players. From a player stand point alone, it would def inspire them to do their best knowing how few actual slots are up for grabs.


When your child joins the team, you join, also. Your behavior as a parent will have its impact on 16 or so other families and their level of enjoyment in the coming season. With the last 8 seasons being from a parental perspective, I have seen both good and ugly. With just one negative influence there can be a huge drop in the seasons "fun" factor. I have never known a child to NOT be selected because the childs parents are unknown. It is more advantagous to be an unknown than a known negative influence. I have even personally seen a child make a team with the coach well aware of the Dads "history". I think it only took 3 practices before the dad got into it with someone about the costs and left, taking his son off the team. If hte child is truely good at the game, they will make the team.

RELAX......ITS JUST A GAME. I Love that slogan.

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02-15-2008, 10:40 AM
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...The one thing I dont like about try-outs is that, at least localy, the coach may not post a list of preselected players nor state there are limited slots. I think it would make for a much better process if it is either known how many slots "might" be available or if there have been any "pre-selected RETURNING" players. From a player stand point alone, it would def inspire them to do their best knowing how few actual slots are up for grabs....


When your child joins the team, you join, also. Your behavior as a parent will have its impact on 16 or so other families and their level of enjoyment in the coming season. With the last 8 seasons being from a parental perspective, I have seen both good and ugly. With just one negative influence there can be a huge drop in the seasons "fun" factor. I have never known a child to NOT be selected because the childs parents are unknown. It is more advantagous to be an unknown than a known negative influence. I have even personally seen a child make a team with the coach well aware of the Dads "history". I think it only took 3 practices before the dad got into it with someone about the costs and left, taking his son off the team. If hte child is truely good at the game, they will make the team.

RELAX......ITS JUST A GAME. I Love that slogan.
I really like your suggestion about having pre-selected returning players, although I can see where even that would cause some parents and players distress. I don't mean to be cynical, but regardless of how teams are picked, I don't believe there will ever be a season (hockey, or baseball, or soccer or figure skating....) where someone doesn't feel they or their child has been 'done wrong by' for one reason or another. It's the state of human nature, don't you think? Every person has their own definition of skill and talent, and a lot of times that becomes clouded when it's your own child. The really funny thing is the parents who are most vocal are often the ones who feel their players are stronger than they really are, and get really offended if anyone even suggests otherwise.

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02-15-2008, 10:53 AM
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...The really funny thing is the parents who are most vocal are often the ones who feel their players are stronger than they really are, and get really offended if anyone even suggests otherwise.
Thought I had better qualify this - no, you can't go around saying someone else's kid is a weak player. But some parents take offense if you say something like, "Johnny's backward skating is sure improving" because they think you're implying he wasn't a strong backward skater to begin with. I have so little patience for stuff like that!

Actually just last night my husband and I were talking about a concern that has been brought to him from one of the parents on our youngest son's team. (He's coaching the team this year.) It's a case where the player has good skills, but a poor work ethic. In trying to help this child play to his potential, the coaching staff needs to be push him (among others) to play hard every shift. Apparently this is causing the child an undo amount of stress. So what is a coach to do? My husband is almost to the point of simply opening and closing gates and not giving the kids any feedback. I'm really sorry to hear him say that, because I believe he's got a lot to offer these players. Like MikeD said, though, it only takes one parent to suck the fun out of a season...

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