Roadkill Goldfish

Can’t make this up: Football coach smacks kid, gets three game suspension

Image: Facebook, Friday Night Tykes

Image: Facebook, Friday Night Tykes

There is something unusual about Texas dads and football.

Upon birth, every father signs his son up for the sport. If he ever played the game in his youth, he has a sacred obligation to serve as a coach. Dad and son will be on the football field as soon as the boy celebrates his fifth birthday, and then dad steps back when the professional coaches take over in middle school.

The majority of these dads do a great job teaching the boys the sports’ fundamentals in a safe and encouraging way. However, there are a few who don’t belong on field.


A few weeks ago, a coach in our local league smacked a kid during a game. To be fair, he smacked HIS kid – after the boy caused a fumble. Apparently, that’s a punishable offense for  prepubescents whose hand-eye coordination is still developing.

Dad-Coach* angrily ran on the field after the play, clenched his hands, and yelled at the boy for a few seconds. He then pulled his arm back, smacked the child across the head, and walked away.  As the boy cried on the sidelines, Dad-Coach returned and barked at him to stop the tears. He then went back to monitoring his team’s next play while another coach consoled his son.

Even though it happened in front of dozens of people, no one reacted. An opposing coach, who saw the incident on a game video, reported it to the league’s board of directors.

An inexcusable offense? Not really. A majority of the board members decided the infraction deserved a three game suspension; two dissenters quit in protest.

Three games.

For hitting a kid.

I don’t understand the logic. Maybe they were thinking, “It wasn’t so bad,” or “This can happen to any coach during a frustrating game.” Or maybe they forgot the policies they showed all of us nervous moms that promised physical or verbal abuse of players would not be tolerated in any form.

I saw the video. I saw the response. As the mom of a young football player, the offense, punishment and indifference scare me more than anything that could ever happen on the field.

What message does this send to the boys? Suck it up if an adult hits you. You probably deserved it.

What message does it send to other coaches? Don’t worry about losing it on the field; you’ll just get a slap on the wrist.

What message does it send to me as parent? The feelings of grown-ups come before the safety and well-being of children.

Regardless of the messages the incident sends, one message has already been clearly received by a few folks. Dad-Coach has been mistreated and deserves support. During his first non-coaching game,  a mom held up a “We Love Dad-Coach” sign in the stands and his team left the field chanting “For Dad-Coach! For Dad-Coach!”

What??? Maybe I’m missing something or perhaps I’m being over-sensitive.

I understand football is an aggressive game and players must be physically and mentally tough. However, I also understand my son and these other boys are still children, and children don’t learn when adults are yelling, hitting and throwing things.

This was the first time I’d ever seen a coach smack a child, and it better be the last time. Any full-grown man who degrades and strikes a child out of anger has no business being a football coach. Any adult who sees nothing wrong with it doesn’t deserve to be a parent.


End of story.

Even in Texas.


*Not his real name

Who picked a college textbook for 9th grade biology?

Bio bookThis is my 14-year-old daughter’s biology book. She is taking a Pre-AP biology course at a Texas high school.

The Pre-AP (pre-advanced placement) program is supposed to offer courses that are on grade level, but academically challenging. In other words, my daughter should be learning ninth grade biology with a few turbo enhancements.

Her class textbook is the same one used on many college campuses.

So much for turbo; the school is taking her on a nauseating supersonic jet ride.

Examining the readability of my kid’s textbook

After a little research, I finally found her textbook on Pearson’s higher education website.

Higher education = college.

Secondary education = high school.

Of course, I’m all for quality education, but I’m not for making a 14-year-old learn content better suited for a college freshman.

I thought for a brief moment that I was being unreasonable, so I decided to run a few random paragraphs of the textbook through a readability analysis program. The Flesch reading ease and Flesch Kincaid grade level tests are widely used by writers and also easily accessed through basic word processing programs. Take a look at what I found from material my daughter covered in her third week of school:


Organisms cannot make water from H2 and 02, but they do carry out a great number of chemical reactions that rearrange matter in significant ways. Let’s examine an example a chemical reaction that is essential to life on Earth: photosynthesis. The raw materials of photosynthesis are carbon dioxide (CO2), which is taken from the air, and water (H20), which plants absorb from the soil. Within green plant cells, sunlight power the conversion of these reactants to the sugar product glucose (C6H1O6) and oxygen (O2), a by-product that the plant release into the air. The following chemical shorthand summarizes this process:

 6 CO2 + 6 H20 →C6H20+6 O2

Flesch reading ease: 52.1 (This means that roughly 52 percent of adults can read this.)
Flesch Kincaid grade level : 10.1


Here’s a snippet from what she’ll cover in just a few months:

Although most harmful alleles are recessive, a number of human disorders are caused by dominant alleles. Some are harmless conditions, such as extra fingers and toes (called polydactyly) or webbed fingers and toes.

A more serious disorder is achondroplasia, a form of dwarfism in which the head and torso of the body develop normally but the arms and legs are short. The homozygous dominant genotype (AA) causes death of the embryo; therefore, only heterozygotes (Aa) have this disorder.

Flesch reading ease: 45.6 (Oh snap! We’re talking about only 47 percent of adults.)
Flesch Kincaid grade level: 10.7


Day to day readability figures
Just for the record, the generally accepted “sweet-spot for readability” and comprehension is a Flesch reading ease score between 60-70 and a grade level score between eighth and tenth. Newspapers such as “USA Today” write for an eighth grade reading level, and papers such as the “The New York Times” and “Wall Street Journal” often come in at the 11th grade reading level.

Government documents make up the bulk of materials that hit college or post-graduate reading levels.

I tried to read my child’s biology book, and the endeavor proved to be frustrating, even though I have a graduate degree. It’s a tough read for a diligent 19-year-old  college student; it’s nearly incomprehensible to a 14-year-old kid.

Pushing a high school freshman off to college
To be fair, I have no qualms with this text being used for senior AP students and college kids, but I have a huge problem with the people who thought this was a good idea for high school freshmen. My daughter and her peers instantly jumped into molecular bonding within the first few days of school. Unlike AP seniors and college students, these kids don’t know how to drive a car, but they had a quiz on cellular chemical reactions last week.

Developmentally inappropriate for my kid? Oh my goodness, yes! YES, YES, YES!

I am beyond frustrated with this stuff being pushed down on children.

My daughter is a freshman.

A high school freshman.


See related posts:
Texas officials upset over low STAAR scores; won’t admit problems with the test and curriculum.

9 reasons why Texas parents should be raising Cain over standardized testing

Now writing for the Dallas Morning News and my kid is mortified

Evans Caglage/Staff Photographer

IMAGE: Evans Caglage/Staff Photographer, the Dallas Morning News

I am excited to announce I have been selected to be a guest columnist for the Dallas Morning News and its Local Voices program.

Woo hoo!

My fellow columnists and I are volunteers chosen by The Dallas Morning News to be regular contributors for one year. We’re an interesting and diverse bunch with high school students, teachers and average Joes from the community. I’m one of those average Joes, and as you may know from following Roadkill Goldfish, I may be a little above-average in the opinionated department.

This should be very interesting.

Check out my first printed column complete with a byline and newsy-looking  headshot. I take a second look at four things every high school freshman needs to know. My daughter, a high school freshman, is mortified someone may realize she’s my kid.

Here’s the URL:

Check out the other columnists:



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