Broncos not in Player of the Week

Published 10:14 am Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Franklin High School’s head football coach, Darren Parker, has built the Broncos into a very successful program. His teams have won two state titles, been on the doorstep of a couple more and have landed several post-season accolades along the way. This year’s team looks to be well positioned to achieve similar success.

A major ingredient in Coach Parker’s winning formula, one every bit as important as his punishing ground game and defensive speed, has been the ability to get his team’s players to buy into a team-first attitude. Football is the ultimate team game, and the Broncos know that their coach values team accomplishment over anything else, including individual recognition.

This season, The Tidewater News has begun recognizing Western Tidewater’s top high school football performer each week by naming him as our Player of the Week. It is an award intended to recognize, among other things, an outstanding individual effort that contributed to team success. It is an award that has been embraced and viewed as an honor by all of the coaches and players we have spoken with to this point. All, that is, except for Coach Parker.

Coach Parker has informed the staff of The Tidewater News that he has chosen not to participate in any way in having his players nominated for consideration in our Player of the Week award. He has made it clear that he will not provide any individual player statistics in helping us determine a weekly winner of the award, nor allow any of his players to be individually photographed should they be given the award. He has also indicated that no one on his staff will be allowed to communicate this information with us either.

And so, we will begrudgingly comply with Coach Parker’s wishes. For the remainder of this season (and, presumably, any others during which Darren Parker is the head football coach at FHS) no Franklin High School player will be nominated for our Player of the Week award. And it is a shame. Because by artificially weakening the competition vying for it, some shine is taken off of an award given to a student athlete whose performance on the field is deserving of the recognition. But perhaps more disappointingly, not allowing his players to be considered could cost some outstanding athletes at FHS the opportunity for much-needed exposure, and perhaps even an opportunity to compete for an athletic scholarship in college.

We love football, perhaps because it is the ultimate team game. And in football, just as in life, players should have the opportunity to be recognized for making a significant contribution to his team’s success.

Even if they play for Coach Parker and the Broncos.