Commentary: Polytech decision sends the wrong message to kids

While I was a member of the Sussex Tech board in the 1980s, their football program was achieving the same results Polytech is experiencing, a depressed football program.

Our administration wanted to do exactly what Polytech has agreed to do, pull out of the conference and pick and choose their own independent schedule.

I argued against abandoning our conference competition because I thought we were teaching our students, ‘if you can’t compete in life, give up” instead of being challenged, knowing defeat can be a life-changing and challenging experience. Giving up is unacceptable.

Frank Calio

I felt we owed our students the chance to succeed after watching defeat and let them decide which of the two is more enjoyable; a life-changing experience we owed our students.

Young people today are “awarded” for losing. Everyone receives a Little League trophy whether they are winners or losers, just for participating.

What does that teach our children; it’s OK not to win, to challenge yourself to become a better person?

I have always instilled in my five children, hard work, do your job to the best of your ability whether it’s with a shovel in your hand, a positive attitude, and you will always be employed. Take pride in your job regardless of the job. With an emphasis, you can be anything you want if you are willing to make sacrifices but be the best at what you do.

Who are we to tell our children they are losers, leaving them with a negative attitude, instead of a positive mentality to succeed?

Our board and my suggestion that Sussex Tech stay in our conference prevailed. Since then, Sussex Tech’s football and athletic program is successful, a bump in the road here and there but their students have a positive attitude.

Academics should always be the number one priority, but athletics give the body exercise, a positive mind and most importantly, a competitive mind.

I’m sure Polytech has their reasons for their decision, and I’m sure it was made for the reasons they set forth. But, I think it was the wrong decision. Polytech is a great school, their students deserve better.

Frank B. Calio, of Laurel, was a former Delaware state election commissioner and Sussex Technical School District board member.

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