Photo Illustration: Ethan Less and Michael Forsgren
To cut or not to cut? Two counterview points consider this sports team question
March 3, 2016
No-cut policy provides opportunity to build both skill and character
There is a legitimate reason SPA’s no-cut policy never has and never will change. SPA’s athletic program states their mission is to provide ranges of opportunity for all students to participate and compete in. At its core, SPA is dedicated to finding a place for everyone. A cut-policy would inherently destroy this mission statement.
Instead of even thinking about beginning a cut-policy, SPA should focus on recruiting more students to participate in sports. A number of sports do not have enough players to even have legitimate C or JV teams. The more players that try out to play sports, the more competition there is within the team as players fight to be in a starting position.
A no-cut policy builds competition throughout the season rather than just at tryouts. It does not mean that the worst player on the team gets an equal amount of playing time as the team’s star. It teaches important lessons to players that they are not guaranteed playing time, but instead must earn it. Playing time is not equally awarded, but can be gained by improvement throughout the season, allowing less skilled players more opportunity for improvement. Nevertheless, a no-cut policy adds people-power to the all of SPA’s athletic programs and provides all hopeful athletes at least the opportunity to work during practice, develop team spirit, and strive to compete at higher levels.
Not only is the no-cut policy important to protect, but students at SPA must take advantage of this exceptionally inclusive yet appropriate competitive athletic program. This school’s sports atmosphere should further encourage students to try out for sports teams. At other schools, hopeful student-athletes would not get the chance to experience the work and reward of athletics.
At colleges and large high schools, it can be very difficult to get on a team. At SPA, students don’t have to make it. They just have to show up, commit to the team, and they are guaranteed a spot. SPA is a place where opportunities do exist. It has never been different, and will never be different.
Cut policy allows pursuit of passions outside of sports
St. Paul Academy and Summit School has always kept a strict policy that players can’t be cut from their high school sport, no matter their skill level or work rate. However, the current merciful no-cut policy has brought in players who just can’t keep up with the rest of the team, thus creating a difficult situation for other players on the team and coaches. A policy should be created that allows players to be cut from SPA sports teams, benefitting all parties, even the player who was cut.
The SPA sports program markets itself as a place for students to experience the ups and downs of competition, but doesn’t provide students the more realistic contest of being accepted onto a team. “Competition helps students to do their best and helps them learn how to deal with both winning and losing in a respectful, socially acceptable way,” reads the SPA athletic program website. This healthy competition should begin with the risk to be cut from a team too. Students need to learn how to deal with occasional failure. The possibility of being cut is an even more realistic way of experiencing failure than the chance to just lose a few games, races, or matches, then forget about it when the season is over.
Many players take their sports very seriously. When players come around trying out the sport for the first time or messing around during practice, it can infuriate the dedicated players. The policy would also show students that they have to work hard at all times. If players aren’t willing to put in the work and the dedication, they probably don’t deserve to be on the team.
For the school-focused student-athlete, a cut policy for athletic teams can save them the trouble of falling behind both the team and on homework. Allowing students to get all their work done and then get an appropriate amount of sleep, instead of having to go to long practices and many games, makes more sense than getting punished later for not going to a practice by getting even less playing time. Students should find something they really enjoy instead of wasting away their time following the fruitless path of a sport they are not dedicated to.
SPA needs to make a policy that allows its high school sports teams to cut players. This makes the player work even harder to do their best and it makes teams much stronger. Doing this would be the logical move by SPA to make athletics even more competitive and successful and to make SPA become a feared powerhouse in athletics.