Ryan’s release a disaster
Dear Editor:The recent release of Aspen High School’s baseball coach, Rick Ryan, can be described as disastrous. As a player under the reign of Rick Ryan between 2001 and 2005, I have seen everything there is to see regarding his coaching strategy and demeanor as a leader. As in any situation concerning a coach, his players, and the parents, there have been countless disagreements and quarrels, including with myself. There have been the ups and downs due to playing time, participants’ sensitivity, intensity, and the level of fun. What the community and mostly the authorities at Aspen High School have failed to understand thus far is the fact that these issues do not begin and end with Rick Ryan. These issues originate from the natural competitiveness that is high school sports. Commitment and an investment, both physically and mentally, to the Aspen High School baseball program warrants a reward in the form of a varsity uniform, a chance to display your skills for a limited number of innings, and possibly even a starting job. But, if you as a player fail to endow a maximum effort or fully pledge to the schedule/timetable, you do not reserve the right to complain about the coach. Herein lies the basis for conflict. Some players of today have an innate attitude that the coach owes them something just for showing up. As a graduate of Aspen High in 1984, Rick played through a much different era. He played through an era of hard-nosed coaches and against schools who focused on winning games as opposed to focusing on winning the CHSAA (Colorado High School Activities Association) Sportsmanship Award. Coach Ryan expects players to hustle, hate losing, earn what you acquire and, most importantly, constantly support your teammates in any and every way possible. All those unwritten rules exist as the essential requirements that Rick considers to be an Aspen baseball player. Aspen baseball’s increasing success over the past nine years reflects Rick’s understanding, love, respect, and coaching ability for the game. The bottom line remains that minute player/coach disputes have erupted into a volcano of overreactions, due to insecure players and exceedingly proud parents. I am embarrassed for the Aspen High School administration for their failure to alert Rick of any job-threatening issues and/or circumstance. In addition, this drastic action was taken unilaterally without obtaining a fair investigation of the facts and seems to have been a direct result of complaints from one or two disgruntled players. The administration did not consider the support that Rick acquired from the rest of the team and community, as well as his outstanding coaching performance over the past season. If this is indeed the end of the road for Coach Rick Ryan at Aspen High, I am honored to have played for him throughout the duration of his last season. I have heard the community’s disapproving repercussions of this astonishing dismissal, and I advocate everyone coming out of the woodwork to voice their opinions. Brock StrasbourgerAspenAHS baseball team captain, 2005
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