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Pembroke can't field enough players for Holley's homecoming game Saturday

Pembroke has been forced to cancel its Genesee Region match-up with Holley in Holley on Saturday.

For Holley, that apparently means no homecoming game.

Athletic Director Ron Funke said the team came out of its last game with only 16 healthy players -- the bare minimum required by the New York State Public High School Athletic Association. Then on Tuesday, a player was scratched after reporting he had mono.

"The rules say we need 16 players," Funke said. "We apologize (to Holley) for that, but there is nothing we can do. It is what it is."

Funke said the school looked at all of its options, but without a JV team there was just no chance to get enough players on the roster for Saturday's game.

It's been a tough year for the Dragons, who are 0-5, being shut out twice, scoring more than seven points in only one game and giving up 30 or more points every time out.

A parent who contacted The Batavian said he traced the problem to the addition of boys soccer to Pembroke's varsity schedule.

Two years ago, coaches, parents and students lobbied the board of education to bring soccer back to the school.

Funke said there is no correlation between the addition of soccer and the shortage of football players.

Last year the team had 24 players and 20 of them were seniors. This year, the team has only three seniors.

"I'd like to see what kids on that team who want to play football that aren't (playing football) anyway," Funke said. "They're very different sports."

Dan Courtney, athletic director for Holley, hasn't responded to our request for information on what Holley's plans are for Saturday and homecoming without an opponent.

Scott Birkby
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Perhaps the parent who contacted "The Batavian" to blame the addition of varsity soccer for the problems of the football team should step forward and provide their name. But they are most likely too chicken to do that. I would like to hear the facts behind their assertion. But they don't have any facts. Come out, come out, wherever you are......

Mark Laman
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It is unfortunate that the football game has to be canceled. However, I dont agree that anybody should blame the soccer program. As Mr. Funke states, there is no coorelation between the struggles the football team is going through and the creation of the soccer program. Any parent, spectator or athlete knows there is a difference between soccer athletes and football athletes, physical, mental, endurance, good old fashioned personal preference. The soccer program has worked very hard and they have earned some great wins this season. From what I have heard there is close to 50 kids participating modified through varsity. I think the modified soccer team is undefeated and jv varsity are playing some very competitive games. Football will bounce back. With good leadership and some recruiting both programs should coexist successfully without the soccer vs football mentality. Keep up the hard work soccer program and I look forward to cheering on the football team at their next game.

Scott Birkby
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That is a great comment Mark, and absolutely true. Football will bounce back. I have coached youth football in Pembroke for years, and I still do. My personal preference is for football. And there are plenty of football players being developed for future years. This year was an anomaly, as far as numbers. Mr Funke was right on the mark with his comments. There are actually no players on the varsity soccer team who would have played football if soccer were not an option. I know this, because I also coach the varsity soccer team in their summer league. The issue at hand is, and has been, what options benefit the children the most. And right now, I feel bad for the kids in Holley. I just wish that some "adults" would learn to restrain their negative comments when they don't really know what they are talking about.

Kyle Couchman
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What your forgetting Scott is this is the USA and you are quantifying a parents opinion as a negative comment. Opinions arent facts the are the person's perception from his own point of view. No better or worse..nor as valid or invalid as your own. When you dont respect other's opinions how can you possibly expect them to respect yours?

Lynette McGiveron
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I believe the point Mr. Birkby was trying to get across is that if you are going to throw accusations out there or express your "opinion", then you should back it up with facts or at least intelligent reasoning for your perception on the topic at hand. It's easy to throw nonsense out there if you don't own it....which only stirs up the emotions of those who know better. Face it we all see things differently and if we don't know the whole truth, how can we possibly form an intelligent opinion? I'm guessing the person who called in is a frustrated football parent looking to place blame somewhere. I understand their frustration, however it has nothing to do with soccer. There is not one single boy on varsity soccer who would be playing football in the absence of soccer. That is a fact....not my opinion. It is what it is, no blame necessary. The thing I find upsetting is even if it was the reason....why does it matter? It's merely a sign of the times. Things change, including high school sports. Soccer has become very popular and if the kids want to play soccer over football then so be it. There are a lot of boys out there playing soccer who would not be playing anything otherwise. I commend our school for instating the program. It shows that they are truly taking the kids interests into consideration and doing what is best for them as opposed to trying to hold on to tradition. Tradition has it's place...however we need to accept change to grow. I feel awful for Holley with it being their homecoming game. I wish there was something that could have been done. I am quite confident Mr. Funke did everything possible to make it happen, however it was out of his control as rules come into play. I like football as well as soccer so it's not about being against football. Our son had no desire to play football however has a passion for soccer. It's nice to see him with all the other boys get a chance to be involved in a sport they are passionate about. They support the football team and want to see them do well. The only place pitting one against the other occurs is with the parents.....which is very sad. We're all part of the same school district and should support our kids and programs regardless of our own interests.

Kyle Couchman
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So everyone knows for a fact that if there was no soccer program that every boy participating would not participate in football, deciding to sit out a whole sports season. Well thats easy to say and skew the "facts" since there is a soccer team. I think that your supposed conclusion is just as wrong, as what you accuse the football parent of. The point is that both 'opinions" are valid and have the right to be voiced. anonymously or not.

Lynette McGiveron
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Yes, that is EXACTLY what I'm saying. The soccer program only affected 2 players on football, one who graduated last year and another who said he did not want to play, regardless if there was soccer or not. My point is, they weren't playing football when there wasn't soccer and yes, they were sitting out a whole sports season not doing sports. There were 2 kids who did x-country and didn't like it, my son was one of them. Both my son and the other kid had already decided they were not doing xc before soccer was instated. So now these boys have the opportunity to play something and not sit out a sports season. The interest is there and why not be fair and offer something the majority is asking for? Those are the facts and I agree people are entitled to their opinion but if you are going to state something publicly, you really should have something valid behind it... just sayin'

Mark Laman
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Kyle, it sounds like you have a bit of a chip on your shoulder... are you the parent/ secret agent who "traced the problem" back to the soccer program? The program was brought about by the efforts of many families and students who wanted to see soccer return to Pembroke. Most of the players on the team did not play any fall sports and the few that did where not thrilled with their experiences on other teams. That is a fact. Parents organized, researched the variables, collected/fundraised the TOTAL cost of the program for the first year and demonstrated to the board the huge amount of support in the district and community. The district chose correctly by bringing back the program and allowing 50-60 kids play a sport they love. Lynnette is correct in saying let the kids play a sport they are passionate about. It is about them and their experiences as a team, getting them involved in an extra curricular activity and off the couch. Adults should step back, drop the egos and let the kids play what they want to play. The football team will be fine, the mod. team has great numbers and have won a good number of games, in a year or two that wave of players will join the varsity ranks and Pembroke will have a successful football AND soccer program.

Kyle Couchman
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Nope I live in the city here, however... I read the first post and Mr. Birkby wasnt interested in what facts there were. He came across as a parent who wanted to pick a fight over anonimity, opionons are opinions they dont have to be backed by facts or not. I am of the opinion that oranges are disgusting, the fact is they are not to everyone, but thats my opinion. As for being a parent in Pembroke I am not and that is a fact, the chip on my shoulder is that everyone jumps on a person's opinion saying they are hiding behind anonimity Howard gave his justification, I find it hard to believe that not one of 50 boys would not go out for football if there was no soccer program. After all a team is not just it's seniors and I find it hard to believe that each of you claiming to speak for every one of these boys has asked them if they would have or not. So you are assuming an answer based on 2 or 3 of the team members opinions.

When someone in an argument uses something OTHER than the argument at hand.... (like speaking to a persons anonimity rather than their statement) Chances are they are weak in argument to begin with. Throwing around the words Adults ego and calling them chicken, then saying they should restrain their comments? Is the pot calling the kettle black. I am just one who will use his name and stand his ground for his opinion. So far no one here has proven themselves any more valid than the anonymous parent. But judging from the vitriol here from the soccer side of the argument seems like the anonymous parent's opinion is nothing new to them.

Scott Birkby
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"A parent who contacted The Batavian said he traced the problem to the addition of boys soccer to Pembroke's varsity schedule."

Kyle, I posted the statement from the article above.

Please tell me, how can that statement be construed as an "opinion"???????????????

Kyle Couchman
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The same way I traced the source of your irritability to having this opinion aired to the public. By watching and making simple deduction. Doesnt make it accurate or a fact, but thats what makes this country great, the right to speak opinions without having to worry bout it. Must be this opinion is quite common, judging by the way the three of you have jumped up to the defense of the soccer program.

Just to make clear though the dictionary defines an opinion as....

o·pin·ion
   [uh-pin-yuhn] Show IPA

noun
1. a belief or judgment that rests on grounds insufficient to produce complete certainty.

2. a personal view, attitude, or appraisal.

3. the formal expression of a professional judgment: to ask for a second medical opinion.

4. Law . the formal statement by a judge or court of the reasoning and the principles of law used in reaching a decision of a case.

5. a judgment or estimate of a person or thing with respect to character, merit, etc.: to forfeit someone's good opinion.

1. 2. and 5. are the most aplicable seeing as how this isnt a professional matter nor a court of law.

Scott Birkby
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Wow. That's funny. The parent statement in the article was an apparent statement of fact, not opinion. Well Kyle, at least you have the skills necessary to copy and paste an entry from a dictionary. Even though you can't comprehend its meaning.

Kyle Couchman
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I comprehend it just fine Scott. Apparently you cant seem to comprehend much though If you look to Howards clarification in the forum, he characterized it as a complaint, not a statement of fact. The whole jist of Howard's post in the forum was the article was posted to prompt a response from the district, a response to an opinion from a parent in the pembroke sd. Maybe that escaped you, but I read it clear as day including the fact that Howard made the choice to keep the comment anonymous. Kinda takes the wind out of the sails of your argument and taunt, doesn't it?

Mark Laman
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It is fine to have your own "opinion" Kyle. The frustration and defensive nature of our comments is due to the fact that families have been fighting for many years for this soccer program to be reinstated. To have an anonymous opinion posted in this way about the soccer program being at fault is frustrating. As stated, both programs can coexist successfully. But the bottom line is that it is not necessary or appropriate for mud flinging from either side. The adults should be the ones that show maturity and respect. The kids get along fine and show support at each others games...its time the parents do the same. Please also notice, not one comment made was derogatory towards the football program. I wish the same respect would be shown from the other side...

Kyle Couchman
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Now Mark that is what I am talking about, thank you for being a bit more civil. Being an outsider I can see both sides with some distance. In the article I believe the Football coach indicated that it wasnt the fault of the soccer program either. As a matter of fact he even said that he was unable to make the proper roster up due so some players out w sickness (I believe that was reported on the radio this am) But I do believe the parent that called Howard had a logical opinion. I took his side mostly because of the way Scott adressed the situation. He was acting in the very image that you other supporters were scolding. Adults should act like adults but the reality is they dont. I took up the football parent cause just because it didnt seem fair and Scotts comments rubbed me the wrong way. I sympthize with your efforts and I am glad for your successes, I watch alot of soccer online due to the fact that I rented out my house in Ithaca when I lived there to cornell students and most were european and soccer fans. I got hooked.

As I sit here though lest add another factor that might not be considered, maybe Howard can clarify but what if this wasnt a Pembroke parent but a Holley parent, still doesnt invalidate the opinion but does allow for some ignorance on the issue due to being outside the community, and just looking up articles.

Mark Laman
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Howard, on that point I agree with you. Unfortunately, those same people do not base those statements of feelings on anything tangible. It is their belief/opinion and that is fine. But have they talked to those soccer boys and asked if they would have played a different sport? Probably not. They are frustrated their program is failing and they are searching for answers. But when you actually talk to the team, families and coaches of the soccer program, you will know they are passionate about soccer, just as the football families are passionate about their sport. But again, you havent heard any soccer supporters bash the football program. We havent stated how the football program is holding back the soccer program. We havent talked about the huge disparity between the cost of maintaining the football program vs the soccer program... My opinion is that the football program should focus on keeping their own ducks in line and leave the soccer program out of their misfortune. Every sports program has rough patches. Their modified numbers are strong, in a few years they will be back to normal.

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