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BOTD 04-05-2014 Colton's Culture Shock - A Kat Production

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Skater


Bransom Postmaster
A Blast from the Past – 1982 – Colton’s Culture Shock
A Kat Production

You are the head of the athletics department in a small rural town in Oklahoma. You and your staff use your paddles freely, for both minor and major infractions. Most of the boys have grown up in the town and accept the culture of pervasive corporal punishment without question. The boys on the various sports teams rarely get through an entire week without bending over for a couple of swats. Even the relatively light swats for slacking off sting and burn, but the boys seem to take it in stride, even claiming they would rather take swats than undergo some of the other punishments, such as running laps or doing pushups. Colton, age 16, however, feels differently. His family moved to town from California during the summer, and Colton started his junior year of high school here. At first, he was incredulous when he learned that he was subject to corporal punishment. It isn’t long before you tell him to bend over for a couple of swats for arguing with an assistant coach. Colton reluctantly bends over, but after the first swat, he stands up and tells you he is quitting the team. He is a very gifted athlete, and you do not want to lose him from the football team. Furthermore, he is good enough that he could win an athletic scholarship to college – but not if he quits. What will you say to him?

Colton
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John Boy


Sherrif
I think we need to talk about my use of CP, I think we then need to point out I do offer other options but there is a general consensus that it is the worse of the punishments. Maybe I should just give him a different punishment and then let peer pressure and the not so much street cred take its toll.

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AFinch


Sherrif
Really? A swat is so terrible it's worth quitting a team in a sport you love, and for which you are gifted enough to win a scholarship, thus assuring your future? Honestly, if Colton is that much of a wimp, he'll never make it in college, let alone the NFL, anyway. I can guarantee a tackle is more painful than that swat was.

As an aside, at least through the 70's, and I'm pretty sure up til the 90's, paddles swung pretty freely in California schools. I know--I was there.

As a coach in 1982, I'm going to tell Colton to bend back over. He can do any d**ned thing he wants, including quitting, after he gets his second swat. Though he'll hear the cliche mantra (winners never quit, and quitters never win) first. I'll tell him that he's a gifted athlete, and that I don't want to lose him from the team, but that "there is no I in team", and that being good isn't good enough. I'm betting that, having called his bluff, he will be reporting for practice tomorrow and being more respectful to the coaching staff.

Stone Man


Marshall
If there are options, such as the two mentioned, I should have offered them to Colton as I must have known he'd moved here from California. Then it will be up to him, and his team mates, if he converts over to swats, stays with exercises, behaves himself... or quits.

ivor


Marshall
It is obviously a culture shock for Colton but for the sake of discipline and my own reputation, I can't let him off scot free part way through. He can take the other swat or I'll assign him more than is the normal equivalent. If he refuses that, I guess we are off to see the Principal.

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Jack


Admin
As a coach involved in this kind of situation, I'm obviously going to take him aside and try to politely convince him to quit being such a pussy and just suck it up.

What I'm not going to like dealing with is when Colton's parents find out about it and they go to the ACLU and the news media.

In general terms, I agree that CP does have a use in school situations. More specifically I don't trust most teachers to be fair (based less upon knowing those teachers and more upon knowing how many times I was paddled unfairly). If the scenario is correct that '(t)he boys on the various sports teams rarely get through an entire week without bending over for a couple of swats,' then there is a serious problem, but it lies with the coaches, not the kids.

Of course, as a coach involved in that environment, I'm not going to admit that, and that's the problem with the system in the first place.


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Jack


Admin
AFinch wrote:Really?  A swat is so terrible it's worth quitting a team in a sport you love, and for which you are gifted enough to win a scholarship, thus assuring your future?

No, but when you come from someplace that CP isn't allowed, and you're getting an unfair swat, and the other kids have made it clear that you're probably going to be getting one every week the entire year... Yeah, I'd quit over that shit too.


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Kat


Editor Extraordinaire
AFinch wrote:As an aside, at least through the 70's, and I'm pretty sure up til the 90's, paddles swung pretty freely in California schools. I know--I was there.

Kier, during a program called Washington Workshops in 1984, I hung out with a group of kids who were Californians (Los Angeles area). They were all shocked that I went to a high school where corporal punishment was in use. I drew assumptions about the state, based on their reactions. Corpun and Wikipedia both say that the state ban in California came in 1986.

The inspiration for the scenario came from an anecdote I heard about Troy Aikman's culture shock on moving to Oklahoma from California. I can't recall the source of the anecdote -- just that someone mentioned he wasn't at all happy to find he was subject to paddling in Henryetta, OK. I think for purposes of the scenario, we'll have to assume Colton came from a district that banned CP ahead of the state ban.

Kat

Kat


Editor Extraordinaire
I patterned the school in the scenario from my own high school, where the athletic coaches were notorious for how frequently they swung their paddles. They were bad enough in the classroom, as most of them taught academic subjects, but the athletes came in for the brunt of it. I didn't hear a lot of complaints from the athletes, though. I think adolescents generally accept the culture of certain organizations, particularly when the participation is voluntary. Most adolescents are conformists by nature -- even somewhat fascistic. I think that the rub comes when an outsider joins such a group and challenges the culture.

For a kid like Colton, I think it would be more than a question of how much the licks hurt. Where other kids might take swats for minor transgressions and see them as something that toughens them, Colton would probably see them as unfair and an assault on his dignity.

The problem is that neither perception is wrong. The coaches aren't necessarily bullies; they are merely perpetuating a culture they experienced themselves. If Colton is to fit in on the team, he will have to accept that culture. I'm afraid that making exceptions for him is only going to alienate him from his teammates. If I were the coach, I'd have a frank talk with him and try to bring him to an understanding of the local culture. If he can see that bending over for swats gains him prestige rather than losing it, he can adjust.

Kat

Jack


Admin
Kat wrote:The coaches aren't necessarily bullies; they are merely perpetuating a culture they experienced themselves.

I have to disagree with this. While the paddlings described don't necessarily mean they're bullies, just because they're 'perpetuating a culture they experienced' doesn't mean they aren't bullies. This statement is a cause, not a defense.

I dunno - I think this scenario is going to be one where your own baggage alters your perception of things a lot. I know that the way I'd react to this as a kid, and the way I'd react to it as a parent, would be entirely different. I kind of wonder what Noah would have to say about it.


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Kat


Editor Extraordinaire
Jack, I said that weren't necessarily bullies, already qualifying the statement. A lot depends on their motivations for perpetuating the culture. They may just feel it's their turn to be the bullies, as is often the case with hazing within organizations. On the other hand, they may feel that the culture has value, such as toughening up the players or building esprit de corps. I have my own conclusions about the validity of those assumptions -- I disagree with them -- but the motivation matters.

Kat

Jack


Admin
Kat wrote:Jack, I said that weren't necessarily bullies,

Okay, I have to give you that, and will agree with you.

I also agree with your conclusions. I did coach for a couple of years. I did paddle some of my students - even my soccer players, but I just can't see every kid on a team needing paddling even on a yearly basis, much less a weekly one. I can kind of see what you're talking about in the scenario, as just part of the culture - but I still feel more akin with Colton than with the coachs.

BTW - it's kind of interesting that you picked that name for a scenario on this weekend.


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1strappedboy


Sherrif
Jack has a valid point about the 'culture'. It certainly was that way when I was in middle/high schools.

As to Colton, I think that he is in for rather an adjustment. While I certainly don't want to lose such a gifted athlete, He will have to receive his 2nd swat regardless and afterward we can discuss whether or not I am willing to make him "different" from his team mates. During said discussion I will point out to him (if he doesn't already realize) my recognition of his abilities and his value as a member of the team.

As a member of a team. There is indeed no "I" in that word and I think that like any boy this age, the want to 'conform' will over ride his culture shock.

squarecutter


Sherrif
Going with the prevailing culture I think First I have to persuade Colton to take his second lick. Step 2 is to either talk to the parents or have the Principals or Coltons senior tutor talk to Colton with his parents. I take it opt outs weren't available in 1983and such ideas as above were anathema tho Athletics Coaches. Finally I might, if he is a sensible guy talk to the team captain about how to help Colton integrate.In the end Colton is clearly not used to this type of punishment, he may not have had an implement used on his backside before and a little understandiing is needed. Can Southern jock culture do understanding?

Zac


Wrangler
I think this comes down which is greater, your wanting Colton on the team or Colton's wanting to be on the team.

If it the latter, then he will eventually have to come round to taking swats being part of the reality of being in team.

However, if it is you who really want to keep him in the team then you might have major problem. Unless you are prepared to rein in the use of the paddle a lot, and given how pervasive its use has become that is unlikely, you have absolutely nothing to offer him.
Colton might enjoy the sports but not at the price of at least as couple of swats, maybe more, a week. His last school team seemed to manage well enough without them. There are other places, other teams, where he can play the sports he loves with a constant undercurrent of low-level violence.

Usually mantras like "my way or the high way", "take you licks or you are off the team", in fact anything that ends "...or you're off the team" does assume that people are so desperate to be on 'the team' that they will jump through any number of hoops to be on it. The idea that some people, however talented, might not be quite that desperate and might be fine with "off the team" option is unthinkable. When it happens platitudes like "There is no 'I' in team" become counterproductive, especially if you actually, and maybe even desperately, do want them on the team.

I rather hope it is this way round, with you wanting Colton on the team more than Colton wants to be one team and rather than jumping through all your hoops he shakes the dust from his football boots.

Y Lee Coyote


Cowboy
So paddling the local custom so he should conform to it.  What other local customs should he conform to?  Only certain churches are acceptable?  Only boys get paddled?  You gotta drink or smoke or talk dirty or harass outsiders or join in gang banging the fat girl?

And the scenario hints that maybe there is a prize for the one who whacks the most.  The whackers apparently enjoy it which is certainly is perverted.  It is certainly far too frequent which indicates that it is not effective and has become just a macho boasting point.

Colton has forced a reexamination of the policy whether anyone like that or not.  This is not the behavior of a wimp.  It's way past time that the school suck it up and review the entire concept of corporal punishment.

Y.

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