February 12, 2016

Parent disappointed with GEHS baseball

Debbie Hickman
Special to The Gardner News
USD 231 patron and father of a Gardner Edgerton High School baseball athlete, Michael Gray, addressed school board members at the June 10 meeting to express his concerns for what he described as a struggling high school baseball program that has failed to produce winning seasons.
Specific concerns centered on the program’s decision not to track defensive stats, student managers recording offensive stats rather than a player or coach and workout regiments not designed to benefit the non-football athlete.
Gray explained that students enrolled in the training class, offered as an elective during the school year, are required to participate in the workout as designed for that class.  When his son discussed his desire for a weight program to meet his needs as a baseball player he was told, by his class instructor, that he did not have to work out on weights.  Gray indicated that it seemed out of his (the class instructor) realm to provide an alternate workout plan.
Gray stated that where football players would want to train with heavy weights and the use of creatine, baseball players would not.  Creatine, sold under, different brand names, is a naturally occurring amino acid sometimes used to boost weight or increase lifting ability.
In closing, he wanted the board to know it was not his intent to complain about the baseball program but hoped his comments would spur a look into why GEHS was not competitive in baseball.
Ron Ragan, board president, responded by acknowledging that GEHS has been underperforming in baseball.
An email to Leann Northway, director of community relations for USD 231, inquiring into district policy on the use of creatine, went unanswered.  Northway did not respond to follow-up phone messages.


  1. blazerblue says:

    The problem does not lie with lifting weights or using creatine. The problem is with the district getting rid of Coach Vanrheen and replacing him with Coach Schrack. The heavy weight lifting program that football players do at the high school does, in fact, benefit baseball players, increasing their strength, speed, flexibility, and athleticism. While the training program at the high school does directly relate to football, it also helps men and women in all sports at the high school. The lifts are designed to get you bigger, stronger and faster which are three things that benefit the baseball athlete as well. By replacing a coach who was and still is well respected in the KC area, and putting in a coach that has fielded completely miserable baseball teams, you will not be successful. While Vanrheen had teams that struggled with their records at times, they were well versed in the game and competed well, and you knew that your child was enjoying baseball. With Coach Schrack, none of this seems to be going on. By thinking that this issue lies within work out regimens or the use of supplements is absurd. The issue lies with Coach Schrack, and his inability to coach a high school baseball team. Talk to some of the baseball players. They will tell you.

  2. Judith Rogers says:

    Ron Ragan states GEHS has been “underperforming” in baseball……………..I would say the whole damn district has been underperfoming in good education at a reasonable cost for numerous years. And I have certainly had it with this sports education that parents and educators are supporting and enabling as the U.S. goes lower and lower in world standings with respect to education. It has come to the point of astronomical costs for education and I believe now would be a very good time to take all sports programs out of our educational system. If parents want their kids to play sports, have special workouts, etc., etc. then they need to be paying for it out of their own pockets and find private sports teams for their kids to participate in.

    Priorities in our school systems are totally out of whack and we certainly aren’t seeing the educational results we should be seeing considering the astronomical costs citizens are paying across the land.

  3. Michael says:

    My son plays for Coach Schrack on the 12U AA baseball team. So far this season, the Blazers have posted a 10-1 record in league play and a 16-4 record in tournament play while winning 3 out of the 5 tournaments they have played in so far this year. Their power ranking lists them as the second best team in the state for 12U AA. The Blazer team is made up from students that live within the school district. There are many other great baseball players in the district that play for other competitive teams. I’m anticipating the day when these young kids get to GEHS to join forces. Coach Schrack and his staff teach these kids how to play fundamentally sound baseball while keeping the atmosphere light and fun (they are still kids, and it is just a game).

    My son has the desire to be a better overall athlete. He is enrolled in the speed and strength conditioning summer program (his request) at MidAmerica Nazarene University, and during the school year, he works out on his own. This program promotes light lifting to help individuals improve quickness, agility, explosiveness, speed and core strength. My son has asked about creatine and other supplements since some of his friends take them. I personally don’t advocate the use of supplements, especially for my son who will be in the 8th grade and is already 6 foot tall and 160 pounds.

    As far as removing sports from schools: My son started playing organized school sports last year as a 7th grader (Varsity letter winner in football, basketball and track). My son has learned that participation in a sport is a privilege and playing is contingent on getting good grades and having proper behavior both in and out of school. He ended the year on the B Honor Roll.

  4. Michael, Good job at cherry picking the data. Now, lets talk about the Gardner HS Varsity Baseball Team. What was their record and winning percentage?

    I’ll wait patiently for your answer. =)

  5. Michael says:

    Thanks CFG 06. I won’t cherry pick the GEHS varsity record ;). The point I was trying to make was that GEHS baseball can have a bright future as these young kids develop their baseball skills and that Coach Schrack has been key to developing these skills. He has helped my son this year, not only with the fundamentals of baseball but, with just plain old confidence and believing in himself. I’m guessing the GEHS baseball squad didn’t put up a great record this year and of course, the players, coaches and parents of players are disappointed. Winning is so much an “in the now” concept, it takes time and hopefully that time will come soon. As far as competing, I hope those young men competed hard every game, and as cliche as it sounds, that’s winning in itself. Now, I must gather data on GEHS varsity baseball.

  6. anonymous says:

    When you look at records, be sure to note that the past two years have been in the EKL not the Frontier League.

  7. Judith Rogers says:

    Wonder if all of the Gardner Daddies have this in depth info on their kids’ English classes, math, science, etc., etc.???? I highly doubt it and I have never seen one talk about it on an open site like this one.

  8. blazerblue says:

    Alright Judith, lets give it a rest here. You are probably just bitter over something the GOP did today. Michael, I am happy that your son has had success on the baseball field, and maybe Coach Schrack does well with younger kids. But that doesn’t translate into success on the high school field. Your commitment is honorable but I feel like you are blinded by the success of a youth baseball team. He might be great with kids baseball, but a high school is different and until you talk to the players or people surrounding the program, you will continue to be misguided. If youth sports translated to other athletic successes, I would probably be living comfortable on my NFL salary, because I was a stud back in my youth football days.

  9. Michael says:

    Blazerblue, I understand that youth sports and high school sports are totally different. I may be misguided due to the fact that I don’t follow the GEHS baseball program. I can only comment on what I have seen between Schrack and the kids. What I have seen may be different than what you have seen because of the level of play.

    I’m actively involed with my kids’ academics. My son has been selected to take Alegebra 1 in the 8th grade next year, only a handful of students were selected. He was also selected to participate in a learning program sponserd by Kansas University. My daughhter was published last year for a short story. Both of my children earned the B honor roll, and both exceeded standards on their State Assesments.

  10. Judith Rogers says:

    One of my family members attended KU and recently graduated. In that youth’s junior year at KU, an advanced math class was teaching a concept that the kids had never had previously and they were truly struggling. A Chinese student in the class advised he had been taught that concept in 6TH GRADE………..think about it…………..especially while you are more worried about your kids’ “sports” education and all of the dollars connected to it – someday you probably will be wishing those sports education dollars were actually spent on education and you also might show a good example of integrity, ethics, etc. for your kids by taking ownership of your comments.

  11. Judith Rogers says:

    I might also mention that I became well acquainted with a family from India when I was helping to teach people English as a second language. They were here on work visas since the father worked for companies such as Sprint, H&R Block, etc. in computer technology positions. The father stated to me that he really couldn’t go back to India because his two small children who were in grade school here would be so far behind in their schooling in India that they could never catch up and would not be in a competitive position in India. I also found it most interesting that these corporations were employing these people since they could pay them lower wages than they would have to pay to American employees. In my opinion and it has been proven to me time and time again, that the thieves will do whatever to enhance their bottom line and they do it constantly to the American citizens also.

    You children are not getting the best education that they will so need in the future and corporate America owns, uses and abuses every citizen in the U.S. thanks to the enablement and support of our politicians and bureaucrats. However, the American people are also enabling and supporting the wrongdoing by their apathy and their own ignorance and love of money, power and greed and their sports worship. That’s my opinion.

  12. Michael says:

    Really Judith? At what point did I say or imply that I was more worried about my kids’ sports education above academics?

    “you also might show a good example of integrity, ethics, etc. for your kids by taking ownership of your comments” – Where did that come from? I typed my comments myself.

  13. blazerblue says:

    Michael, I didn’t want to get involved in an academic talk. I believe that sports help kids in the classroom when done properly, and you should be, and are proud of your kid’s success in that part of his life. I am glad that your child understands the importance of work in the classroom and on the field.

  14. Judith Rogers says:

    Well, Michael, you sure didn’t indicate your full name – lots of Michaels in this ole world in case you didn’t know or perhaps you think you the one and only Michael and I should know you.

    Blazerblue, you didn’t want to get involved in an academic talk??? Why is that? I believe it is because so many parents have their priorities screwed up and take GREAT interest in their kids sports programs, however, I have to wonder if they spend comparable time with their kids on academics. Again, I would say no or we would not be seeing the U.S. slip farther and farther down the world rankings in education.

    Come this fall I will continue to hear the loud fireworks (burning up school tax dollars) on Friday nights and it won’t be for outstanding academics. But in the years ahead you might hear some loud bombs being dropped on you since our country has fell so far below other nations with respect to brain power and education. Ignorance is not bliss.

  15. blazerblue says:

    I don’t know Judith, why would I not want to talk about academics? Maybe because the article is about sports? That’s probably it. I think. Maybe. I’m not sure. I’ll go check some academic stuff and make sure that this is in fact an article about baseball, and not academic things. I’ll keep you posted. Stay tuned.

  16. blazerblue says:

    I checked. Its about baseball. :)

  17. I know the previous baseball coach and what was done to him is scandalous. I don’t know anything about the new guy.But I know the school administration has no honor.

  18. Chris Shaw says:

    Judith Rogers, you have got to be kidding me? Did you really use one of your family members not grasping a concept in an advanced math class as an example as to why you believe the GEHS school system has it’s priorities mixed up? You’re kidding right?

    Maybe your family member wasn’t paying attention in high school? Maybe your family member isn’t a mathematician? Maybe your family member is just a little “Slow”? Maybe your family member showed a genuine dislike for mathematics? Maybe just maybe your family member just doesn’t have what it takes to be successful in that class. I could keep going but I think you get the point.

    I’m just curious though, your family member who couldn’t seem to grasp that advanced mathematics concept…who’s responsibility do you pin that on? The school, your family member, or yourself? Maybe you should have spent more time with your family member in the mathematics department? Just a thought.

    What this all boils down to is…

    1) as the one poster stated above with the baseball aspect of this convo, it starts in the youth programs and it also starts with student athlete themselves for wanting to be successful. It’s on them to want to put the work in if they want to be successful. That’s success 101 with anything.

    2) Judith, who do you think pays for a percentage of the science department, engineering department, math department, etc etc at the University of Kansas? It’s all about Supply and Demand, which you already knew but unlike you I’m not going to make any assumptions towards you with your generalizations towards parents in this sports/academics debate.

    Now, I haven’t lived in Gardner for a while and you may have an argument about taxes and so forth on the local aspects of this debate with GEHS, but you have to remember that sports are big business and until the equilibrium needle shifts it’s not going to change anytime soon.

    So…you can either let the system get the best of you or you can wise up and try to figure out how the system can benefit you. It’s on each and every individual to figure that out. Why do you think that Indian family will apply for US Citizenship and make their roots here in the U.S.? For the opportunity!

  19. blazerblue says:

    Well Chris, Judith’s family member obviously struggled in Math because the taxpayer dollars are going towards sports programs, and that means that the family member who struggled can’t work at it and better themselves because literally ALL taxpayer dollars go to sports and parents and teachers just can’t find time in between games to help. What’s the question here?

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