When Matt Labrum's Union High School football team started cyber-bullying and doing poorly in school he made a decision that no one saw coming. He suspended the entire team.
It has long been said that young men go to the gridiron to learn discipline, and get molded into young men. For Union High School football just wasn't enough to make young men out of these high schoolers. Confronted with attitude issues, academic issues, and cyber-bullying Labrum cut everyone from the team following a tough loss. All 80 varsity and junior varsity players were made to turn in their jerseys, and for the night thought there would be no more football. The next morning Coach Labrum brought conditions as to what would get these kids back on the football team. Think Coach Carter without the chains on the gym doors. They would become staples of the community, be committed to their family, and committed to their academics. These children aren't professionals and need to learn how to be functioning members of society over sports. Coach Matt Labrum made the right decision in suspending the team.
These boys likely won't become professional football players. Odds are they won't be college football players either. Their senior season may be the last time they ever get to wear shoulder pads, but where football and high school end, life begins. They need to be able to have a future academically and personally. That's what Coach Labrum is making these boys see. Players will perform service for their families, instead of practicing two days a week they'll go out and perform community service, they'll attend a mandatory character-education class, a study hall session, and treat each and every member of their community with respect. All this in order to get their jersey back for the homecoming game this Friday.
These young men are learning character and self-discipline away from the football field. They are student athletes, student coming first and being the most important thing. Coach Labrum isn't allowing his players to have their lives peak in high school. He isn't letting his players let themselves down by focusing on barely getting by in their classes and harassing their classmates. High school is supposed to prepare children for the next step in their lives, whether it is college, career, or a combination of the two. They weren't understanding it on the football field so Coach Labrum made them understand it in the classroom and in the community. Labrum has done more for these kids than they will know until well down the line looking back on it. He's turning children into young men, exactly what he's paid to do.