Former MGCL Football Player Voices Opinion On Merger

After reading the article and the comments on the opposition to the MGCL football merger, I feel like it is my turn to say something. As a former player, I have to say that I am saddened by what has been said. The parents have had their turn to voice their opinions. Now it’s time for the people to get the kid’s opinion.

I understand that some players and parents (mostly parents) are having a tough time accepting limited playing time. I’m sorry, but that’s just the way that it has to be. During the 2013-2014 season (the first year of the merge), we barely had enough to practice. We had a total of 21 to 23 kids on the varsity team who were “pure” varsity players. That number went down as one kid quit and others became ineligible due to grades. We didn’t have enough to run 11 on 11 drills. The first year of the merge was absolutely necessary for practices because if we didn’t, then Chautauqua Lake would’ve been putting freshmen and sophomores not yet ready for varsity at risk. Maple Grove was in an even worse position due to their unusual small number of pure varsity players.

After the success we saw during the first year of this merge, I believe more kids were inspired to come out and join. Once the 2014-15 team reached the state final four, even more kids wanted to become a part of what was happening. The wins are nice, but the friendships that were being made also inspired kids to come out.

With more kids coming out, the parents should know the following:

First, more kids wanting to play football means more competition for positions. This is not midget football anymore where every player is guaranteed their six plays. You have to go out there in practice every day and prove to the coaches why you deserve to be out there. This means being a good teammate, doing your job in the classroom and doing your job in the offseason to make yourself stronger.

Second, the best thing that a team can do is having every player accept their role. Whether that is a starter, a role player, or a practice player, you have to know your role on a team and accept it. Eventually, your hard work will be rewarded. Finally, being up 33-0 at halftime is the goal. That is a huge confidence booster for a team. That means that everyone has done their job not only on Friday night, but also every day at practice. Even the scout team players had a helping hand in the 33-0 lead at halftime because they helped the team prepare for what the other team had to offer. Every kid deserves praise because they all bust their tails at practice all week.

People will say “How can you rant about this? You never experienced sitting the bench.” Well, you’re right. I haven’t experienced sitting the bench. But I too made a sacrifice for the team. I played almost every single snap at quarterback my senior year for MG-CL. But I sacrificed playing defense my senior year. I would have loved to play defense. However, I made the decision to sacrifice my defensive position to the much more talented player at football camp over the summer. I let him take the reps while I sat and watched the defense. I even played scout team quarterback. I did anything to help the team. You can bet that when our defense was out there on Friday night, I was the biggest cheerleader on the side line.

I can tell every parent that while I was a part of this merger, that there was no segregation of MG and CL players. I had just as much opportunity to win a position as an MG player did. Everyone had an equal opportunity.

It saddens me to see parents still arguing over this merger, which is three years old now. It’s also upsetting that some parents cannot grasp the idea that their child may be too young, small, or quite frankly just not good enough to be on the field during game days. Playing time comes down to work in the offseason, work in the classroom, being a good teammate, and being coachable. I am sorry, but sometimes the truth hurts.

Finally, I have nothing but positive remarks to say about Coach Fischer and the rest of the MG-CL coaching staff. They have done an amazing job with the kids. I am upset that I was only a part of this merge for its first year, my senior year. The lessons that these coaches have taught me about sports and life are going to last a lifetime. I am a better person because of them. They helped me understand what it is like to succeed, and what it’s like to experience defeat. At the end of the day, the MG-CL coaches preach family. Everyone on the team is one big family. We say it at the end of practice. We say it before games. We say it after our post-game prayer. My teammates, MG or CL, will always be my family.

Kyle Mayer is a Mayville resident.