After reading your January 15 cover story ["The Trophy Son," by Randall Patterson], I had to control my urge to vomit. Many of us who live in Hearthstone (not to mention the Cy-Fair school district) are appalled that we have to spend our precious tax dollars defending this ridiculous lawsuit. We would much rather have our precious tax dollars directed toward educating our children instead of defending the Rutherfords' apparent need for "legal" therapy.
In fact, it occurred to me that had Mrs. Rutherford spent the $6,000 she paid her lawyer on some desperately needed family counseling, we all would be better off. (How very sad that they had to give up their winter vacation to pay their lawyer -- boo hoo!) What can one say about a woman who sees nothing wrong with physical violence toward coaches ("If she had a gun, she probably would have shot him") and indeed is a fan of the off-court antics of Latrell Sprewell? Should we be surprised that such attitudes in parents spawn a child who feels free to use the "F word" to his coaches, to verbally abuse and disrespect them, and then has his parents turn around and sue the school district?
I was particularly interested to read that the "conspiracy" toward the little darling had spread to Texas Christian University. Maybe the CIA is involved, too. Yes, Mr. Patterson, Hearthstone is a place of larger homes and newer cars, but it is not a place where dreams die young, at least not for most of us who do not suffer from paranoia. Most of us are hard-working folks who expect our children to do their best and respect their teachers and coaches. Most of us do not think a child is only worth what he does on an athletic field. The final sentence of your story, " 'Kyle's done, you know. They ruined his whole life,' " says volumes about his parents.
The rest of just don't appreciate paying to defend this junk lawsuit.
via Internet, Houston
Whiny White Folks
I've never corresponded with you folks, but the pitiful state of the Rutherfords' existence compels me to do so. Three key thoughts scream out:
1. Losers! Even the Rutherfords' poor kid moved on to better things, but these schmucks obsess with what "could've been" for poor Kyle. There's some hope for the kid, since he's away from the stifling home atmosphere, but mom and pop are history.
2. Stupid! Lemme get this right: But for poor Kyle's being pulled from a game late in his senior year, he'd be a stud baseball player? Seems to me that most of the top talent picks and chooses scholarships, oh, a wee bit earlier than his or her last high school game, yeah? Also, TCU is somehow involved in this massive conspiracy? Call Mel Gibson.
3. Race relations move backwards: No wonder black folks think white folks "don't get it." These whiny white folks have nothing more significant to worry about, like terminal illness? The delicate Mrs. Rutherford compares their situation to a death in the family? That's insulting. The kid mouthed off, followed up with a juvenile mistake and should grow and learn from it, not wallow in self-pity, like ma and pa.
End of commentary. I really enjoy your rag, and please keep up the good work, as the feel-good Chronicle just don't cut it.
Name withheld by request
What's Really Important
I do feel so sorry for the Rutherfords! Just imagine how they will feel even after Kyle marries and becomes the father of a darling baby, and they are holding that sweet child for the first time, and Mr. Rutherford says, "Well, it's fun to be a grandfather, but not as much fun as high school football."
Poor babies, my heart absolutely bleeds for them.
I can think of many things to say to Sonja and Scott Rutherford, but the one that leaps right off the page is this: "Your son is alive, healthy and has a future, with or without you." You've done enough. This lawsuit isn't for Kyle, it's for you and your selfish dream that died. But, and this is the most important point I want to make, your son did not die. For Mrs. Rutherford to compare her son's being benched in a game to someone dying is blasphemy at its worst.
My own beautiful daughter did die, and I can tell you there is not the most minuscule bit of comparison between the two. I would give anything to see her face, her smile, hear her voice, her laughter. She was an actress in L.A., and, fortunately, I have many photos and videos of her. I feel sorry for other parents that I talk with who have only a small snapshot of their departed children. I was blessed with her companionship for 35 years. The loss is devastating.
But the Rutherfords have their son to love and to help. If they think being a football or baseball star is all there is to life or being a productive member of the human race, then I feel very sorry for their shortsightedness. There's an old saying that seems very appropriate here: "Get a life."
Mary Katherine Marion
A spectacular article! Should be required reading for all who are involved in youth athletics!
via Internet, Westport, Connecticut
This Correspondent Is Not Part of the Conspiracy
There is no conspiracy here: If your child had been deserving of an athletic scholarship, he would have received one. Kyle was obviously a good high school athlete, of which there are millions across America. But not every average high school athlete receives a scholarship. Those are reserved for the exceptional athletes.
Mr. Rutherford, you were responsible for the verbiage of the senior will; what message were you sending to your son? Your actions were reprehensible, and your son deserved stiffer punishment than not being able to pitch in a baseball game.
Kyle, I'll clear up the "what-ifs" for you: If you would have been at another high school instead of Cy Falls, you still would be playing intramural sports in college.
P.S. I don't know Coach Hooks, and he did not instruct me to write this.
John V. Armstrong
via the Internet
I was both amused and saddened by "The Trophy Son." I also had a bad experience with a coach in the Cy-Fair school district. My daughter was jerked around by the varsity basketball coach: In her junior year, she would get moved up to varsity, ride the pine and then after a week or so be sent back down to the JV team. This went on the entire season. At first I thought that the coach was prejudiced (we are black, she is white) but later I decided that she was just a bad coach. After the season was over, my daughter quit the team (her choice). She went on to graduate at the top of her class and is attending UT-Austin on an academic scholarship. They say the best revenge is to do well, and she is: My daughter is an honor student, captain of the mock trial team and plays club lacrosse.
My son played two sports as a freshman and concentrated on football the last three years. In the spring of his junior year, he began to receive "Dear Prospect" letters for schools in the Big 12, PAC-10, WAC and Conference USA. My son kept telling me that they didn't mean anything. I was sure that they did. Well, seven months and three shoeboxes full of letters later, I am agreeing with him that they didn't mean anything. My son has yet to receive a scholarship offer, but they're still writing and calling. There are no guarantees.
My advice to the Rutherfords is to spend less on attorney fees and use the money to get family counseling. And if they win their case (God forbid), I hope they don't appear on the Sally Jesse Raphael show.
Name withheld by request
Let's Not Drag Wanda Holloway Into This!
What a sad commentary that the Rutherfords cannot just accept that sometimes life just isn't fair. Sounds like they'd become fast friends with Wanda Holloway, the "Pom-Pom Mom." One can't help but question their real motive, when even Kyle himself said he wished they would just drop the lawsuit. With all this vindictive energy, their perseverance could be channeled elsewhere, resulting in one less frivolous lawsuit disrupting our justice system.
But Fellas, Do They Teach "Irony" at TCU?
As alumni of Texas Christian University, we must take exception to the line in Randall Patterson's "The Trophy Son" that reads: "As for Kyle, he had to settle for an academic scholarship at Texas Christian" (emphasis added).
TCU is not a university for which one "settles"; it is a great university that Kyle Rutherford should count himself fortunate to attend. TCU has always had a competitive baseball team as well as an excellent academic reputation.
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Furthermore, the article says, "Though Kyle was cut with four other pitchers, his parents are sure TCU is part of the conspiracy." Perhaps they should look at who the TCU pitching coach is: Nolan Ryan. Yeah, baby, that's right -- The Man, The Legend, the pitcher before whom all others pale. Why the hell should Ryan cut some kid just to make some piddly high school coach happy? Here's an idea: Maybe the kid's just not good enough?! And if anybody is qualified to make that decision, Nolan Ryan is.
So the Rutherfords can pout all they want, but even without hearing the high school's side of things, it seems obvious the coaches did nothing wrong. And it seems equally obvious that these people need to 1) get a life, 2) stop living in the past, 3) realize there is more to life than sports (gasp!) and 4) stop blaming anybody and everybody else for their mistakes and misfortunes. Why should they be so-o-o-o important as to be the focus of such a huge "conspiracy"?
As for anybody else who wants to speak ill of Texas Christian University: Y'all can just kiss our happy Horned Frog asses!
Mike McCaffrey, Bob Turney,
Stephen Schmidt, Sean Beeman,