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If you needed a refreshing look at youth athletics and the current climate we’re living in, football coach Randall Zimmerman is here to provide some perspective on life and coaching the youth.
In a recent interview with Topeka, Kansas station KSNT, the Junction City football coach, who is in his 30th season with the school, was calm and calculated when asked about the current state of youth sports and coaching.
“Sometimes we get this all mixed up,” Zimmerman began. “We think it’s about the sport of football. We think it’s about the sport of basketball. We are cheating our kids in the biggest way if we’re just coaching the sport.
“I’m so frustrated sometimes with people who cannot completely get that. This is an extension of the classroom. This is educational-based activities. It was put in public education to help with character-building skills. We need for as many kids as possible to be out for activities, sports, that kind of thing. Sport is the nugget to get them out, to teach them life skills,” the coach with 215 wins in 36 years of service continued.
Then, Zimmerman, who is the longest-tenured high school football coach in Kansas, said something that should resonate with reasonable people, but he knows we don’t live in reasonable times.
“Of the 1.1 million high school kids playing high school football this year, 7.6% will play beyond high school. God willing, 100% of them will be adults. And what kind of adults do we want to be around?” the old ball coach said while challenging fellow coaches.
“We gotta get this figured out as adults that are working with the youth. We gotta get this figured out. I get so frustrated by watching what goes on with all the club stuff and all the pressure on these kids to [play] one sport. We’re looking at high school as a stepping stone for college.
“What are we doing to get them ready to compete in life?”
“That’s my biggest thing. I could go on and on and on. Am I frustrated? Oh, I am frustrated watching adults work with kids.”
While there are many Randall Zimmermans out there doing great things with youth sports, there are also situations like what happened over the weekend during a Georgia high school game where a coach was arrested for punching one of his own players.
There’s also the story of the fake prep school, Bishop Sycamore, that sent shockwaves through the football industry when it was revealed that the coach who started that program was a fraud.
It’s a total mess out there and Randall Zimmerman hates to see it.