| Cobber Sports Home | Cobber History | Perspectives Index | Jerry Pyle |
Perspective: by Jerry Pyle
Missing the Cut
It was a pretty good week for Cobber sports. But some Cobber coaches and athletes suffered the agony of being part of roster cuts, telling someone or being told they didn't make the team.
Both the men's and women's basketball teams pared their rosters this past week. The hockey team will be doing the same soon. For some of those who tried out but did not make the team there is hope for redemption and return on a junior varsity team. For others, it marked the end of what they will think of as their playing careers. And it was painful.
Those who were cut often faced a practical separation from friends. They knew they were being cut off from a chance to be part of a special club where life-long friendships are often bonded in common struggle. The sometimes-subjective nature of the decision of who to cut, when combined with the intense hope of those who are cut, is a recipe for explosive emotion. It is a wrenching experience for the athlete. They will get over it. But they will never forget it.
For most coaches, making a cut is the worst part of their job. Most of them remain in coaching because of a profound affection for young people. It is more than a little difficult to communicate that affection when making a roster cut.
Those who were cut were not "bad actors" or lazy. Nor were they lacking in effort or character. They just ran up against 12 or 14 or 26 athletes who were better at playing a certain game, the proverbial faster gun in the next town. But it will take some strength on their part to ignore the cruel myth that "one can achieve anything one puts their mind to." Most of those cut tried mightily.
For the athlete, there is the ever-present temptation to feel that he or she didn't get a fair shake. Or that the coach was somehow ignorant. Or that the coach let a "personality clash" get in the way of choosing the best players. Simply admitting "I was not talented enough," takes more composure and self-confidence than most of us possess when we are the one being cut. But the athlete who is cut must find a way to understand it. And explain it to others.
All athletes, no matter how old, remember the exact circumstances when their string ran out. For some it was not making the varsity team in high school. But if you played in high school you get asked if you played in college. If you played in college you get asked if you played in the pros. If you played in the pros you get asked why not longer. And you learned to give a short answer.
Some of the saddest people are those who never overcame their bitterness over that last cut and learned to give a gracious answer.
There is life after that last cut. Cuts are not a measure of character.
These pages are maintained by Jerry Pyle firstname.lastname@example.org. These articles are copyrighted © and may not be published or reproduced without the express permission of Jerry Pyle.
Return to Perspectives Index Cobber Sports Home Page Concordia Home Page