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Servite, others must confront problem from all sides

Servite, others must confront problem from all sides

OCVarsity.com
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It's time for schools to start talking about some important issues, Villa Park basketball and more.

Servite has a position similar to ASB president called prior general, and the position was held by Anthony Hannon, a black senior, in the 2007-08 school year.

The Friars football program has a group of team leaders called the football curia. It has black players on it and consistently has for years. Two years ago, the football program's top award, its leadership award, was shared by a black player, A.J. Inyang, and my son.

Those are not characteristics of a school that has a horrible problem with race relations. But, as the racist taunts at a recent Servite basketball home game proved, and the observations of others indicated, the school is not free of ignorance - and neither is any other school or community in Orange County.

Many of us succumb. Plenty of us get cut off on the freeway and shout, "You dumb (fill in race, gender or hair color here)" although we all committed the same error at least once in our motoring careers.

The observations of this father who had children attend Catholic schools, including Servite, was that there were some parents who embraced the mission and ideals of the schools. There were some parents who sent their children there because they did not want their children attending schools that were minority-heavy. It was, and is, these elitist parents who don't get it, and neither do their kids who, as the saying goes, "were born on third base but act like they hit a triple."

What happened at the Mater Dei-Servite basketball game on Jan. 9 is another chapter in the ridiculous animosity between the two Catholic high schools. It has carried on too long, and it will not end unless confronted. It parallels centuries-old, albeit infinitely more serious, problems elsewhere in the world, in which one faction says, "Sure, we did this today, but you did that yesterday" and the other replies in kind, and it goes on and on with no resolution in sight.

It long ago was proposed, publicly in these pages and privately to Mater Dei and Servite leaders, a summit-like meeting at which the schools' administrators, coaches, athletic team captains, student leaders, and parent representatives would air their grievances and produce a code of conduct that must be adhered to at all events, whether Mater Dei and Servite are competing against each other or against other schools, private or public. The time for this meeting is now. I can recommend a moderator.

Servite's leadership is not dodging what happened, and is confronting the issue honestly and energetically. Servite president Pete Bowen and principal Michael Brennan can't do it alone. They will need the active assistance of every Servite teacher, coach, staff member, student and - especially - parent.

As our nation's president said Tuesday, "There is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character, than giving our all to a difficult task."

Taking a look around Orange County high school sports:

• Villa Park's boys basketball team is 4-13 overall, and 0-3 in the Century League with seven league games remaining. Even with a massive winning streak to close the season, the Spartans would not be eligible for the playoffs because the CIF-Southern Section banned the team from the playoffs when the school and the Orange Unified School District levied a two-day suspension against Coach Kevin Reynolds instead of the section's recommended 10-game suspension for what the section found was a violation of undue influence rules. If Reynolds had taken one for the team and accepted the 10-game suspension, perhaps that team would be playing with more motivation, winning more games and be in contention for a playoff berth.

• Pacifica lost a good football coach last week when Guy Gardner resigned to accept the football head coaching position at Palos Verdes, which is closer to his home. Gardner had the challenge of replacing Bill Craven at Pacifica, but kept the program strong and took the Mariners to a CIF championship game in 2007. He also was one of the first-class men running a county athletic team.

Contact the writer: sfryer@ocregister.com


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