Limpag: Getting cut

Mike T. Limpag

IT’S WEEKS before the Central Visayas Regional Athletic Association (Cviraa) meet and I think it’s safe to say that the delegations are formalizing their lineups. And, of course, part of that process is one of school sports most cruel process, getting cut from the team. The DepEd meet is a step-ladder meet and each rung of the ladder involves players getting cut--or in layman’s terms--getting removed because the coach thinks another player from another team deserves to be in the squad.

It’s a subjective process and can be difficult at the best of times. Just imagine, you helped your team win the title and earn the right to advance to the next rung and you lose that chance to represent the team because some players in the losing squad should be there instead of you?

I’ve heard a lot of horror stories. I thought I’ve heard the worst when I learned a few years ago that one coach strung around two players who should have been cut weeks before the Cviraa but he never did only to be told by organizers he had to remove two players from his lineup during the tournament itself. Since he didn’t have the courage to cut the two, he snuck them in and the officials who caught him doing that prayed to the gods, both the new and old, that nobody would notice. Luckily their prayers were answered.

What’s worst than that? Getting strung for three weeks, getting assured of a spot in the team, getting such assurance thrice and only to learn that you’re the last member of the team to know you got cut. Ouch.

Cutting someone from the team is difficult and sometimes controversial but it can also be a simple process. I got cut from a team once and it was quite anti-climactic but in hindsight, given the horror stories I’ve heard, it was preferable.

We just won our Municipal Meet and the next step was the Provincial Meet. We were celebrating when our coach gathered us and simply told us that not all would be going to the Provincial Meet and his criteria was simple.

“You third years, you have another chance next year, I will prioritize the fourth years,” he told us third-year students.

Getting told that just minutes after the championship was a big damper but at least the coach was smart enough to tell us to our face. And for me, that makes cutting someone better.

If you’re a coach and you want to cut someone, tell him or her upfront. Don’t give him or her any false hope only to hear that he or she will be get cut from teammates who taunt him or her. That only leads to the player questioning his or her own abilities. That leads to self-doubt.

Be man enough--no, that’s wrong. Be a person enough and respect your player and tell it to him upfront that he is getting cut. Don’t let him hear about it second-hand because that’s just plain cruel.

And never, ever, ever assure someone of a spot in the team when you know there will still be further cuts needed.

My high school coach didn’t a have strong football background. Compared to Cebu coaches, he was decades behind. But when it came to cutting players, he was a generation ahead. Why? He told us to our face.