Tuesday, March 24, 2009

High School Coaching Anew! 'Play Up, Chaps! Oh, Play Up, Do!'

The Chicago public school system is proposing new rules for high school coaches that would explicitly ban them from pushing, pinching or paddling athletes or engaging in "displays of temper,"' the Chicago Sun-Times reports.

The proposal follows allegations that at least four Chicago coaches had paddled or hit athletes. The new policy could including banning coaches for life for a single rule violation.

"We're trying to send a message. We're trying to make it crystal clear that this is not acceptable behavior,"' CPS counsel Patrick Rocks tells the paper.
USA Today 3/24/2009

As a Result -

2010 Chicago Public School Soccer Match Percy Julian College Prep versus Calumet High School

“Hold the punt-about!” “To the goals!” are the cries, and all stray balls are impounded by the authorities; and the whole mass of boys moves up towards the two goals, dividing as they go into three bodies. That little band on the left, consisting of from fifteen to twenty boys, Dewann amongst them, who are making for the goal under the Calumet wall, are the Calumet High boys who are not to play-up, and have to stay in goal. The larger body moving to the island goal are the School boys in a like predicament. The great mass in the middle are the players-up, both sides mingled together; they are hanging their jackets, and all who mean real work, their hats, waistcoats, neck-handkerchiefs, and braces, on the railings round the small trees; and there they go by twos and threes up to their respective grounds. There is none of the colour and tastiness of get-up, you will perceive, which lends such a life to the present game at Calumet, making the dullest and worst-fought match a pretty sight. Now each house has its own uniform of cap and jersey, of some lively colour: but at the time we are speaking of plush caps have not yet come in, or uniforms of any sort, except the Calumet white trousers, which are abominably cold to-day: let us get to work, bare-headed, and girded with our plain leather straps—but we mean business, gentlemen.

And now that the two sides have fairly sundered, and each occupies its own ground, and we get a good look at them, what absurdity is this? You don’t mean to say that those fifty or sixty boys in white trousers, many of them quite small, are going to play that huge mass opposite? Indeed I do, gentlemen; they’re going to try at any rate, and won’t make such a bad fight of it either, mark my word; for hasn’t old Brooke won the toss, with his lucky halfpenny, and got choice of goals and kick-off? The new ball you may see lie there quite by itself, in the middle, pointing towards the School or island goal; in another minute it will be well on its way there. Use that minute in remarking how the Calumet side is drilled. You will see in the first place, that the sixth-form boy, who has the charge of goal, has spread his force (the goal-keepers) so as to occupy the whole space behind the goal-posts, at distances of about five yards apart; a safe and well-kept goal is the foundation of all good play. Old Marcus Pureheart is talking to the captain of quarters; and now he moves away. See how that youngster spreads his men (the light brigade) carefully over the ground, half-way between their own goal and the body of their own players-up (the heavy brigade). These again play in several bodies; there is young Jamal and the bull-dogs—mark them well—they are the “fighting brigade,” the “die-hards,” larking about at leap-frog to keep themselves warm, and playing tricks on one another. And on each side of old Leander, who is now standing in the middle of the ground and just going to kick-off, you see a separate wing of players-up, each with a boy of acknowledged prowess to look to—here Warner, and there Hedge; but over all is old Leander, absolute as he of Cuba, but wisely and bravely ruling over willing and worshipping subjects, a true football king. His face is earnest and careful as he glances a last time over his array, but full of pluck and hope, the sort of look I hope to see in my general when I go out to fight.

The Percy Julian side is not organized in the same way. The goal-keepers are all in lumps, any-how and no- how; you can’t distinguish between the players-up and the boys in quarters, and there is divided leadership; butwith such odds in strength and weight it must take more than that to hinder them from winning; and so their leaders seem to think, for they let the players-up manage themselves.

But now look, there is a slight move forward of the Calumet-house wings; a shout of “Are you ready?” and loud affirmative reply. Old Marcus takes half-a-dozen quick steps, and away goes the ball spinning towards the School goal,—seventy yards before it touches ground, and at no point above twelve or fifteen feet high, a model kick-off; and the School-house cheer and rush on; the ball is returned, and they meet it and drive it back amongst the masses of the School already in motion. Then the two sides close, and you can see nothing for minutes but a swaying crowd of boys, at one point violently agitated. That is where the ball is, and there are the keen players to be met, and the glory and the hard knocks to be got: you hear the dull thud thud of the ball, and the shouts of “Off your side,” “Down with him,” “Put him over,” “Bravo.” This is what we call “a scrummage,” gentlemen, and the first scrummage in a School- house match was no joke in the consulship of Plancus.

But see! it has broken; the ball is driven out on the Calumet High side, and a rush of the Calumet Injuns carries it past the Calumet players-up. “Look out in quarters,” Marcus’s and twenty other voices ring out; no need to call though: the School-house captain of quarters has caught it on the bound, dodges the foremost School boys, who are heading the rush, and sends it back with a good drop-kick well into the enemy’s country. And then follows rush upon rush, and scrummage upon scrummage, the ball now driven through into the School-house quarters, and now into the Calumet goal; for the Injuns have not lost the advantage which the kick-off and a slight wind gave them at the outset, and are slightly “penning” their adversaries. You say, you don’t see much in it all; nothing but a struggling mass of boys, and a leather ball which seems to excite them all to great fury, as a red rag does a bull. My dear sir, a battle would look much the same to you, except that the boys would be men, and the balls iron; but a battle would be worth your looking at for all that, and so is a football match. You can’t be expected to appreciate the delicate strokes of play, the turns by which a game is lost and won,—it takes an old player to do that, but the broad philosophy of football you can understand if you will. Come along with me a little nearer, and let us consider it together.are the colour of mother earth from shoulder to ankle, except young Brooke, who has a marvellous knack of keeping his legs. The School-house are being penned in their turn, and now the ball is behind their goal, under the Doctor’s wall. The Doctor and some of his family are there looking on, and seem as anxious as any boy for the success of the School-house. We get a minute’s breathing time before old Brooke kicks out, and he gives the word to play strongly for touch, by the three trees. A way goes the ball, and the bull-dogs after it, and in another minute there is shout of “In touch!” “Our ball!” Now’s your time, old Marcus, while your men are still fresh. He stands with the ball in his hand, while the two sides form in deep lines opposite one another: he must strike it straight out between them. The lines are thickest close to him, but young Brooke and two or three of his men are shifting up further, where the opposite line is weak. Old Brooke strikes it out straight and strong, and it falls opposite his brother. Hurra! that rush has taken it right through the School line, and away past the three trees, far into their quarters, and young Marcus and the bull-dogs are close upon it. The School leaders rush back, shouting “Look out in goal,” and strain every nerve to catch him, but they are after the fleetest foot in Rugby. There they go straight for the School goal-posts, quarters scattering before them. One after another the bull-dogs go down, but young Marcus holds on. “He is down.” No! a long stagger, but the danger is past; that was the shock of Crew, the most dangerous of dodgers. And now he is close to the School goal, the ball not three yards before him. There is a hurried rush of the School fags to the spot, but no one throws himself on the ball, the only chance, and young Brooke has touched it right under the School goal-posts.

The School leaders come up furious, and administer toco to the wretched fags nearest at hand; they may well be angry, for it is all Lombard-street to a china orange that the School-house kick a goal with the ball touched in such a good place. Old Brooke of course will kick it out, but who shall catch and place it? Call Crab Jones. Here he comes, sauntering along with a straw in his mouth, the queerest, coolest fish in Rugby: if he were tumbled into the moon this minute, he would just pick himself up without taking his hands out of his pockets or turning a hair. But it is a moment when the boldest charger’s heart beats quick. Old Marcus stands with the ball under his arm motioning the School back; he will not kick-out till they are all in goal, behind the posts; they are all edging forwards, inch by inch, to get nearer for the rush at Crab Jones, who stands there in front of old Marcus to catch the ball. If they can reach and destroy him before he catches, the danger is over; and with one and the same rush they will carry it right away to the Calumet High goal. Fond hope! it is kicked out and caught beautifully. Crab strikes his heel into the ground, to mark the spot where the ball was caught, beyond which the School line may not advance; but there they stand, five deep, ready to rush the moment the ball touches the ground. Take plenty of room! don’t give the rush a chance of reaching you! place it true and steady! Trust Crab Jones—he has made a small hole with his heel for the ball to lie on, by which he is resting on one knee, with his eye on old Marcus. “Now!” Crab places the ball at the word, old Marcus kicks, and it rises slowly and truly as the School rush forward.

Then a moment’s pause, while both sides look up at the spinning ball. There it flies, straight between the two posts, some five feet above the cross-bar, an unquestioned goal; and a shout of real genuine joy rings out from the Calumet players-up, and a faint echo of it comes over the close from the goal- keepers under the Doctor’s wall. A goal in the first hour—such a thing hasn’t been done in the School- house match these five years.

“Over!” is the cry: the two sides change goals, and the Calumet goal-keepers come threading their way across through the masses of the School; the most openly triumphant of them, amongst whom is Akim, a Calumet man of two hours’ standing, getting their ears boxed in the transit. Akim indeed is excited beyond measure, and it is all the sixth-form boy, kindest and safest of goal-keepers, has been able to do, to keep him from rushing out whenever the ball has been near their goal. So he holds him by his side, and instructs him in the science of touching.

“Are you ready?” “Yes.” And away comes the ball kicked high in the air, to give the School time to rush on and catch it as it falls. And here they are amongst us. Meet them like GDS, you Calumet boys, and charge them home. Now is the time to show what mettle is in you—and there shall be a warm seat by the hall fire, and honour, and lots of bottled beer to-night,(like them Playas at Whitey Young!) for him who does his duty in the next half-hour. And they are well met. Again and again the cloud of their players-up gathers before our goal, and comes threatening on, and Warner or Hedge, with young Brooke and the relics of the bull-dogs, break through and carry the ball back; and old Brooke ranges the field like Job’s war-horse: the thickest scrummage parts asunder before his rush, like the waves before a clipper’s bows; his cheery voice rings over the field, and his eye is everywhere. And if these miss the ball, and it rolls dangerously in front of our goal, Crab Jones and his men have seized it and sent it away towards the sides with the unerring drop-kick. This is worth living for; the whole sum of school-boy existence gathered up into one straining, struggling half-hour, a half-hour worth a year of common life.

The quarter to five has struck, and the play slackens for a minute before goal; but there is Crew, the artful dodger, driving the ball in behind our goal, on the island side, where our quarters are weakest. Is there no one to meet him? Yes! look at little East! the ball is just at equal distances between the two, and they rush together, the young man of seventeen and the boy of twelve, and kick it at the same moment. Crew passes on without a stagger; East is hurled forward by the shock, and plunges on his shoulder, as if he would bury himself in the ground; but the ball rises straight into the air, and falls behind Crew’s back, while the “bravos” of the School-house attest the pluckiest charge of all that hard-fought day. Warner picks East up lame and half stunned, and he hobbles back into goal, conscious of having played the man.

And now the last minutes are come, and the School gather for their last rush, every boy of the hundred and twenty who has a run left in him. Reckless of the defence of their own goal, on they come across the level big-side ground, the ball well down amongst them, straight for our goal, like the column of the Old Guard up the slope at Waterloo. All former charges have been child’s play to this. Will-kill and 'Tang have met them, but still on they come. The bull-dogs rush in for the last time; they are hurled over or carried back, striving hand, foot, and eyelids. Old Brooke comes sweeping round the skirts of the play, and turning short round picks out the very heart of the scrummage, and plunges in. It wavers for a moment—he has the ball! No, it has passed him, and his voice rings out clear over the advancing tide, “Look out in goal.” Crab Jones catches it for a moment; but before he can kick, the rush is upon him and passes over him; and he picks himself up behind them with his straw in his mouth, a little dirtier, but as cool as ever.

The ball rolls slowly in behind the Calumet goal not three yards in front of a dozen of the biggest Calumet players-up.

Next week ! Will Akim, Old Marcus and Crab Jones bring Honor to Old Calumet or will Percy Julian College Prep roundly sully these young hearts of oak?

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