The Greenwich Time article on teen drinking should force this town to have a discussion about one of its biggest problems. In order to do that, we first must accept that this is a major crisis in Greenwich, and across the country.
I want to point out that a big part of the article centered on sports, with athletic departments at both Greenwich High School and Darien High School put on the defensive. Here’s what was said about GHS:
Even if kids are caught, there is no guarantee they will be punished, students said. Once a member of the GHS junior varsity water polo team, Hale [McSharry, Greenwich High School's junior class president] said he has seen Facebook pictures of his former teammates engaging in drinking and drug use without suffering discipline.
“I remember having to sign a form that you could get kicked off the team for drinking,” Hale said. “But I would not hesitate to say that they look the other way if they hear about it. The water polo team in particular does not have a good reputation. It comes down to the coaches and they need the players.”
We all know that teen drinking is a widespread problem, and we’d be naive to suggest that athletes are the exception. They’re not. Without getting into the reputations of various sports, allow me to share some thoughts based on the experiences I’ve had as a coach at the high school.
I believe that student-athletes at Greenwich High are held to a higher standard than anyone else at the school. All student-athletes at the high school must sign a Code of Conduct before they even try out for a team. If a coach is aware of a student-athlete drinking or doing drugs, they will be disciplined. Now, that doesn’t mean that a coach will always know. How could they? But trust me, I’ve been around the athletic department for a decade. Before the school got smart and adopted an attendance policy, the athletic department had one in place. That’s just one example of the athletic office being a step ahead. The school’s AD, Gus Lindine, insists that student-athletes, as well as coaches, agree to, and abide by, this Code of Conduct. If they don’t, they’ll be held accountable. I don’t know what more you could expect.
GREENWICH HIGH SCHOOL ATHLETIC CODE OF CONDUCT
Our athletes have a responsibility to provide a positive image in the classroom, on the playing fields, and in our community. They must be reminded that participation in athletics is a privilege and not a right. All athletes are expected to meet this athletic code and failure to comply during their season could result in suspension or removal from a team. All athletes and parents must sign our code of conduct prior to participation.
While at school: A good athlete is also a good student and one who obeys all school rules and regulations. This means good attendance, participation, effort and behavior. An athlete must be in school and attend all scheduled classes (including physical education) in order to participate in any practices or contests. If an athlete is suspended from school, she/he may not participate in practices or games during her/his suspension period.
On the playing fields or courts: Fair play and good sportsmanship is expected at all times. No athlete will use profanity. An athlete will respect teammates, opponents, officials and spectators.
In our community: The way an athlete acts in our community is very important. As an athlete, she/he shall respect the rights of others and represent our team, our school and the Town of Greenwich with dignity.
The use of illegal substances: Any use, possession or involvement with illegal substances (drugs/alcohol) of an athlete is prohibited. This is a twenty-four hour rule, extends beyond the school day, and includes the following circumstances:
- Being in a motor vehicle with alcohol or drugs regardless of whether the athlete is the passenger or driver, or whether the athlete is in personal possession of any alcohol or drugs.
- Permitting the illegal consumption of alcohol or use of drugs in the athlete’s home or on an athlete’s premises.
- Postings on blogs and social-networking web sites that confirm a violation.
Failure to comply with this code will result in the following consequences:
- First offense – A two week suspension from all practices and games (minimum of two games). The athlete will be required to meet with her/his school social worker prior to rejoining the team. Upon completion of the suspension, the athlete may apply for reinstatement through a conference with the Athletic Director, Coach and Parent.
- Subsequent offense – A subsequent offense during the school year, will result in the removal of the athlete from their team for the remainder of their current season. The athlete will be ineligible for any post-season awards, recognition or participation at team events, and excluded from the opportunity of becoming a varsity captain.
The use of androgenic / anabolic steroids or other performance enhancing substances: Any athlete who has been determined to have used, in or out-of-season, androgenic / anabolic steroids or other performance enhancing substances shall be declared ineligible for all CIAC-controlled activities for one hundred eighty (180) school days on each occurrence. This one hundred eighty (180) school day period of ineligibility commences on the day the CIAC Board of Control makes such determination.
The use of tobacco products: An athlete shall not use or have in possession any tobacco products. This is a twenty-four hour rule and extends beyond the school day. Failure to comply with this code will result in a one-week suspension from all practices and games (minimum of one game).The athlete will be required to enroll in our high school smoking cessation course. Upon the conclusion of the suspension, the athlete will be reinstated with the understanding that the smoking cessation course must be completed.
The Greenwich High School Athletic Department does not wish to penalize an athlete attempting to act correctly in situations not of their own making or that could not be avoided. The Director of Athletics and Coach will assess each alleged violation and provide enforcement of this code when and where appropriate. A violation of the Athletic Code of Conduct or Cardinal Rules during team tryouts could negatively impact an athlete’s selection to that team.
I have read the Greenwich High School Athletic Code of Conduct and agree to adhere to it while participating in athletics at GHS. Failure to comply could result in suspension or dismissal from my team.
athlete’s signature parent or guardian signature