Friday, May 2, 2014

No haircut equals no baseball for Pincher Creek teen

Liam Nazarek
K. Jorgenson photo
Chris Davis, Pincher Creek Voice

Liam Nazarek is a 16 year old Pincher Creek athlete.  He has been growing his hair for a year with the plan to donate it in September to make wigs for kids with cancer, an issue close to his heart.  On Wednesday evening this week he was forced to choose: cut his hair or be barred from playing for his baseball team, Pincher Creek's Junior Dust Devils.

At the commencement of Wednesday's Dust Devils home opener against Cardston Liam was told he would not be allowed to play, because his hair had not been cut.  "He has been told that he can't play on the local baseball team.  He hasn't been asked to leave the team, he has just been told that he can't play.  So he sat on the bench for the game last night," said his mother Kimberly Jorgenson.  

Jorgenson and Coach Bryan Mackenzie exchanged words before the game about the situation, and that encounter was videotaped and posted to Facebook by Jorgenson, and is excerpted in part below. 

"It's not part of baseball," said Jorgenson.  "It's part of my baseball team, okay, if you want to coach, there's the team..." replied Mackenzie.

"These are becoming young men, they can make some decisions on their own, I said make some effort."

"I said it's an admirable cause (cancer)," he said to Liam, "You could have mentioned that to me on Thursday night, right, last Thursday (at practice) that that was the reason.  I'm not going to say it was going to make any difference, but if that was the difference on last night it should have been then too."

"I'm talking as a coach of a team that I'm trying to set an example for, 9 other players..."

"Hair is not a rule in baseball," said Jorgenson.  "It is for me, accept it," replied Mackenzie.

Liam elected to stay in the dugout to cheer the team on for most of the game, and was allowed to do so.

The haircut rule isn't a new one, long-time coach Mackenzie has insisted on it for years, and in the past it has been a relatively minor subject of interviews I've conducted with him. "That's my job as a coach, is to develop character, not so much to catch the ball and throw the ball, that'll come, but it's character in these young people," he told me after the game when summing up his coaching philosophy.

At the game I was approached by several of Liam's friends, who were unhappy with the situation.  I invited them to write a letter to the editor on the subject, which may be forthcoming.  A couple of other local coaches also voiced their concerns about the situation, including Todd Merrick, who is the Pincher Creek Mustangs Coach for Special Teams and also coaches Bantam level Mustangs.  Merrick coaches from a wheelchair.

"I coached Liam in Football over the last two seasons," he said. "I think it's a form of discrimination.  It shouldn't be tolerated in sports.  It's no different than discriminating against the disabled.  Sports are about athletic ability, it has nothing to do with how you look."

"It definitely affects your confidence when you put all your effort into going to practices, and working out, and working as a team and then someone says you are not allowed to play just because you haven't cut your hair.  It does affect your ego, and growth," Merrick continued.

"If he wasn't someone that stood up for himself, he would be like the three other players that cut their hair, because of the coach.  I'm very proud of him for standing up for himself."

"Of course you have to have discipline, but it has nothing to do with what you look like.  If a kid doesn't show up for practice, or do what they are told to do on the field that's one thing, but this is based on what you look like, and I find that crazy."

According to Kim Jorgenson "Liam decided awhile ago that he would like to grow his hair.  September is Cancer Month, so he is going to shave his head, and donate his hair to make wigs for kids with cancer."  Liam spends time in the summer participating in drumming and dancing ceremonies with the the Aboriginal Heiltsuk Nation on the west coast.  "He decided over the summer (2013) that he was going to grow it out, and he hasn't cut it since."

"It all ties together.  He is very involved, and I respect him for his decision to do that.  I thought it was big decisions for a kid.  He's looked into different requirements from different foundations (for donating hair).  He would like it to stay in Canada, so he has been looking at different groups that stay within Canada."

"What was asked of him is that 'he make an effort to change his hair'.  Last night for the game he had me french braid his hair, and you couldn't tell how long his hair was.  He made an effort last night to tie his hair back and have it out of the way, to have it not be an issue." 

"I'm proud of Liam for standing up for himself.  I support him in that.  I made sure that he understood that in doing that there is always a repercussion.  As long as he remains respectful, and stays the good kid that he is, I think things will turn out the way they should be."

"He's played baseball every year, since he was little.  He loves baseball, he umpires for them, and has been for two years."

"I agree that they have to listen to their coach, they have to be respectful of their coach, they need to learn from their coach.  That's the point of coach.  The coach's responsibility is to be fair.  It shouldn't be about how you look."

I believe the kids have to take direction from the coach, that's the point of having a coach.  What I don't believe is how you look dictating whether you are a part of the team."   

Liam is considering signing up for spring football or soccer instead of baseball this year.

113 comments:

  1. Belinda Schneider2/5/14

    I respect Liam for doing what is right ! This video has gone viral now. The coach is 100% wrong, he needs to step down. Obviously he does not have the kids interest at heart, just on a power trip !

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    1. Anonymous3/5/14

      First of all , thanks to the coach for coaching .
      I have never believed that obeying stupid rules makes things good .
      Graham James had rules too .
      Young people only a few years older than Liam paid the ultimate price to stand up against tyrants and bullies , that little thing called FREEDOM
      Does the coach own the team ? NO
      Does the coach own the league ? NO
      The coach is responsible for what happens between the lines .
      The coach has NO right to impose his ideals on another person's body
      Hey coach , it's NOT about you .
      Props to Liam's mom and Liam for having the guts to not put up with that treatment .
      Just because all the others cowered before the coach doesn't make the coach right .

      Delete
    2. Randy Johnson and Jeff Samardzija would have loved this coach. How would "coach" deal with them?

      Delete
  2. Anonymous2/5/14

    Seriously coach!!!! Get off your ego and let the boy play ball. I say replace the coach........ YOOOUUUUURRRRR OOOOOUUUUTTTT

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  3. Dan Stumborg2/5/14

    Long hair shouldn't dictate wether someone can play or not.

    Stubbornness and hot- tempered are traits a coach should not be teaching young players.

    I don't know this coach, but I am appalled by what I've read about this young man and the others before him.

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    1. Anonymous2/5/14

      I support the Coach. When you play for him, you are part of his team and EVERYBODY plays by the same set of rules. Having a clean cut group is admirable and does help build character and self worth. If Liam does not want to play by those rules then that is his choice and he must incur the consequences. Don't expect the Coach to make any exceptions

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    2. Anonymous2/5/14

      Does the coach own the team?

      Delete
    3. Anonymous2/5/14

      Mr. Stumborg, maybe you should stick to what you know... internet viruses and firefox. Let the boys play with computers and the men play baseball. If this kid wants to be a non-conformist then so be it but as soon as this coach budges the rest of his team will see that they can do whatever they like whenever they like.

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    4. Dan Stumborg2/5/14

      Dear Mr Anonymous,

      If you consider only the "big boys" as people who participate in sports, I guess I'll have to join that group as I play soccer, baseball, and many other active activities. You are a very brave person for belittling others behind a guise where you can't be called out in the community.

      With that mentioned, I coached a soccer team last year, and we did very well. Everyone played (even the kids who never showed to practice). We did fairly well and all the kids can confirm that they learnt new skills and had a lot of fun. The entire reason for sports for kids.

      If we were living in a big city where this player had a choice of a A, B, or C list team, I'm sure he would pick B or C because then he wouldn't have to adhere to a dress-code. He isn't. I don't know how many teams are in his age-group, but I'm guessing that the age group in question has 1 or 2 teams and he doesn't have a lot of choices.

      I know computers and I know sports, so in your anonymous opinion, am I a big boy? (Don't bother responding, I won't check)

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    5. Anonymous3/5/14

      If Pincher Creek supports this type of behavior by its coach, I won't be supporting Pincher Creek...in any way. Those are MY RULES.

      Delete
  4. Anonymous2/5/14

    This is a very unfortunate thing to happen in our community. There seems to have been a lot of information that was not known when the video was posted. That was poor judgement on Liam's mothers part. Both Liam and his coach have valid concerns that, as the coach said, should have been addressed the previous week so they could have come to some agreement. This incident has been reported in the Calgary Sun already this morning and I am sure it will make news headlines this evening. I played on sports teams when I was this young mans age and we had "DRESS CODES" , not rules back then too. My children played on teams 15 years ago and things were the same. If this coach has standards for his teams, then so be it. Unfortunately his ranting and behavior on video will forever define him in this town. The sport may have problems finding future coaches who do not want to be put in situations like this. I am sure the outcome could have been different if the coach had known the reasons behind the long hair and had know that he was going to be secretly videotaped. There are two sides to this story and they both are valid. I hope for Liam's sake and the baseball team, that they can resolve this.

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    1. Anonymous2/5/14

      This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous2/5/14

      The first Anonymous post, with the comment about Dress Codes, very well said. Excellent Comment.

      The second Anonymous post. My son plays hockey with Brian's youngest son. His wife is an awesome women, and his 2 boys are very nice young men. The oldest one makes sure that all the children are included and happy in any play that is taking place at the skating rink. And his youngest son is a very polite individual at the ripe old age of 4/5 years. Maybe you should get to know his family before judging him and them.

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    3. Dear Anonymous,
      You called the coach a name and referred to his wife and children. Please refrain from the name calling and leave his family out of this. Even Kim and Liam were respectful when they disagreed with the decision. By all means, say your opinion, but be respectful and mindful of the damage your words can have in a small community like ours.
      Janelle Jorgensen.

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    4. The above two comments brought this to our attention, and the comment they refer to does indeed cross the line and was not civil and reasonable discourse as described by our terms of service, and has therefore been deleted.

      Delete
    5. Rose3/5/14

      In the video, the coach states that it wouldn't have made a difference if the player had told him the reason for his long hair.

      Delete
    6. Anonymous3/5/14

      Of Course not!! If you have a dress code than you have a dress code. For Liam sake I hope he learns from this since if he was to be employee in majority of companies today he would also be told to cut his hair.

      This is a team rule so if you want to play on the team than cut your hair if not than you don't play. Simple and not a big deal!!!

      Kim on the other hand need to start teaching Liam to respect the rules and to respect his elders. As some already stated on the CBC website this is fully what wrong with the young of today and why TFW are being hired rather than kids like Liam.

      Show respect for your coach and your team; cut your hair!!

      Delete
    7. Anonymous3/5/14

      Right, but we aren't talking about an interview at some fancy lawyer firm here. We are talking about baseball, and you can play major league baseball with any hairstyle you want. This coach is saying that if they don't cut their hair that they aren't respectable looking young adults and won't make it in life unless they look presentable. A simple google search of MLB players will reveal the scruffiest long hair millionaires you've ever seen. This coach and half the people commenting on this are stuck in a 60's mindset of people only being successful if they look like the kids from Leave It To Beaver.

      Delete
  5. Anonymous2/5/14

    Point out where hair length lies on the local rules and regulations for that league. If it is absent, end of conversation. You would think the club would honour the rules and back the player over the coach, but who knows the politics there. Sorry to hear that for the young man trying to raise money for a great cause.

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  6. Anonymous2/5/14

    The rules should be in the game, not in the length of your hair!!! Imagine if some young girl wasn't allowed to dance because her hair was too short and her teacher demanded that she grow it out to present herself like a lady or else she wasn't allowed to perform......? It's equally as insane!! Even the fact that Liam wants to be a part of the team, goes regardless of not being able to play - just so he can support his other team mates, shows great character. In fact, Liam has already shown more character and maturity than his coach! This isn't the military...!!!! This coach has absolutely ZERO right to make these kind of demands. Get over yourself "coach", something you need to learn quickly is you can't judge a man by the length of his hair... We're not living in the dark ages!

    -Chelsea Green

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    1. Anonymous2/5/14

      Well said

      Delete
    2. Anonymous2/5/14

      Did the boy pay to play.. Yes he did, so in my opinion if he wants long hair he should be allowed to keep it. If he is being to paid to play then the coach has the right to tell him to cut his hair. Most kids this day and age have long hair, does it impede his performance on the field, no. Does it make him a bad person, no.. So whats the big deal. The coach just needs to join the 21st century and quit being so judgemental of the way people look..

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    3. Anonymous3/5/14

      His demands would make sense if it was pro,semi pro or provincial level ball but if this is house league I would say he went a little over the top and clearly needs to simmer down, get a grip and remember he is coaching minor boys and not the Atlanta braves or with the way he runs it the Chinese military ball club

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  7. Doug Popp2/5/14

    What Kim is teaching young Liam is if you don't like the rules or what you have been told is secretly video the conversation, take it to who ever you feel can change the outcome, whether it be the media, his boss in future, his wife etc. and hopefully then young Liam or adult Liam will then get his own way regardless of the rules in place. If Kim and young Liam truly thought that this "rule" were ridiculous then they could take this "complaint" to the ball association, put forth complaint. The association at this time can then review the complaint, make a determination, but no. Kim and young Liam want to bring in the world to this issue and have instant gratification. I actually feel sorry for young Liam and all the young Liams out there today. These kids learn that if they stomp their feet they get what they want, how sad. Cut your hair today, donate it to charity (if that was indeed what you really planned to do last summer) and PLAY BALL!!

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    1. Anonymous3/5/14

      I agree with what Doug said "most" younger people have no respect for authority if a school teacher says no cell phones, gum, hats dress code in class is mommy going to stomp her to post a video to get arm chair critics to side with her? ....I see this as disrespecting a coach no different than teachers, employers, police ...

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    2. I respectfully disagree with that stance Mr Popp. What young Liam is learning through this experience is that it is OK to disagree with rules that do not make sense. This is his form of protest. Personally I back his stance as he is standing up for his right to wear his hair long. And I would concede if this was indeed a rule of the local ball association that hair length is required to be kept shorter than a certain length. But I think it quit likely there is no such rule in place. This isn't a case of temper tantrums and foot stomping, this is simply standing up for what is right. I'd be proud of my boy for doing the same thing. Nobody has a right to tell him how he has to wear his hair. If the tables were turned and this was a young girl being told she had to wear her hair longer to participate in dance classes, most of us would stand behind her choice to wear her hair as she saw fit.

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  8. Anonymous2/5/14

    Leave it off social media - sad. What are you telling Liam? How embarrassing for the community and the family. Team expectations are a bigger part of sport than the actual game of baseball. Good for you coach. Shame, shame, shame on mom making this bigger than it needs to be. In the end - the kid loses. Mom, if you want to coach, coach - take a course and learn about what sport is really about.

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    1. Anonymous2/5/14

      Shame on you for saying this kind of absurdity on the part of the coach should be kept private. What kind of example is he setting when he is, in effect, telling the boy that you should always blindly follow the rules, even if they make no sense and have no logical reasoning behind them? Basically: "Follow the rules and do what you're told!" "Why?" "Because I say so!"
      Yeah, that's some great character building there..

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    2. Anonymous2/5/14

      right on!

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    3. Anonymous2/5/14

      If you have knowledge of the rules prior to any situation you have options. Having options means you can make choices. Having a choice means you do NOT have to "blindly follow the rules". If you decide you do not like the options offered, then you can choose to challenge the rule makers but do it before you accept the situation, not after.

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  9. Anonymous2/5/14

    I love Liam's hair, and am proud of him for standing up for himself! the measure of a man is not the length of his hair. there was a time you couldn't get hired with visible tattoos or piercings either, but times are a changin' and so should we all :)

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  10. Editor's note: Two comments have been rejected for violating our terms of service. This is not a place for anonymous name calling, please be respectful even if you disagree with someone.

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  11. I AM A COACH I HAVE COACHED MINORS AS WELL I AM ABSOLUTELY BESIDE MYSELF THAT THIS MAN IS ALLOWED TO COACH MINORS HE NEEDS TO BE DISMISSED AND GET A COACH THAT RESPECTS PEOPLES RIGHTS AND ACTUALLY RUNS HIS TEAM BY THE BOOK RULES OF BASEBALL NOT BY HIS MORALS

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    1. Anonymous2/5/14

      Agree. His wish for short hair is not a rule. Therefore it is the action of a bully

      Delete
  12. Anonymous2/5/14

    Benching a player on a little league or school team because of hair length is ridiculous, and an abuse of authority. If I was a teammate I would be thinking very seriously about boycotting until the the coach or the rule was removed. Preferably the coach.

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    1. Anonymous2/5/14

      If I were a teammate I would also be thinking very seriously about boycotting but only until the rule is removed. If the coach leaves as a result he will not be able to demonstrate some of that character he is so anxious to instill by swallowing his own pride when he is obviously wrong.

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  13. Anonymous2/5/14

    This coach is on a power trip. He is a poor role model. Respecting people for who they are, and how they behave is more important than the length of their hair. That is discrimination, plain and simple. Fire the coach!

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  14. Tom G2/5/14


    What message is sent by punishing this young man for a selfless act of generosity and compassion for kids with cancer? I hope next season the entire league, every player, sports long hair and donates it as this young man has chosen.

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  15. Anonymous2/5/14

    Both sides/parties have valid arguments. Let's be reasonable adults and look at all sides, calmly and rationally. I believe these are two community-minded volunteers and leaders who are strong-willed and outspoken and have a history of dealing with issues in a more confrontational way than may be necessary. THE MOST IMPORTANT issue here I believe is that this conversation was secretly videotaped and posted on social media which is absolutely unethical and unworthy of someone who believes she setting a good example for her family and community. Yes, stand up for what you believe, but don't undermine your message with your method.

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  16. Anonymous2/5/14

    the length of one's hair shouldn't matter, period!! i agree with Tom G that they all should grow their hair and donate it... good on Liam for being a good soul and trying to help another human being!!

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  17. Anonymous2/5/14

    Good for the coach to introduce some discipline into this young man's life. As Colin Powell on his TED Talk says - "kids need structure".

    Don't work in the energy sector with long hair - not a rule, but good luck working with an air pack.
    Wear jeans to your prom - not a rule, but good luck getting into the event.
    Don't play for the NY Yankees - just ask Johnny Damon.

    There are many unwritten rules that we must follow to function as a society, so whats the big deal?

    I think there is more to this story - why would the "mom" video this? I suspect she couldn't get the rule tossed through the proper channels and now its a media frenzy with the bleeding hearts wanting to "stick it to the man".

    By the way was there consent to being video recorded? Coach- maybe a quick call to the RCMP to find out? Seems to me there's a violation of privacy laws. Alberta PIPA Act
    http://www.qp.alberta.ca/documents/Acts/P06P5.pdf


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    1. Anonymous3/5/14

      Hahahahaha, you're hilarious.

      1. We already know the kid is disciplined. Hair length is NOT a discipline issue. Stop forcing gender stereotypes on everyone.

      2. Your examples of rules are purely functional, but have no bearing outside of their own situation. They are not good enough to generalize, and therefore provide no support to your argument.

      3. The unwritten rules are called socialization, and it may be quite new, but traditional gender hair styles are not as popular as they used to be. This is a change within the socialization framework. Deal with it.

      4. "Mom" recorded it for proof of his unreasonable conduct. Word of mouth is less reliable than actual video proof. That is the way the world works, anon. It is an unwritten rule (you remember talking about this, right?) that almost every person plays by. If someone is to say "person A did this" but there was no proof to back it up, then they probably would not be taken seriously.

      Gosh.
      -Martin

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    2. Anonymous3/5/14

      OK Martin, lets accept the reasonableness of secretly video taping the interaction, just for arguments sake. Please answer me then why posting it on FaceBook was reasonable as opposed to sharing it with the baseball association? The video itself doesn't actually reveal anything that wasn't public record anyways. I think the rule is dumb and should be changed, but this method of challenging it is highly inflammatory and damaging to all involved. This should have been kept in house. Period.

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  18. kari edle2/5/14

    Watch some baseball on tv or go to a game!! There is a dress code and that is it!! Men grow their hair and their beards!! Specially during playoffs!! This coach has some control issues!! Too bad it wasn't taken to the board cause the last time I looked at the rules in our league.........hair length is not metioned!! If this man has taken an nccp coarse and a code of ethics? He is violating everything that the nccp and code of ethics stands for!! Just my opinion!!

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    1. And the mom is following a code of ethics by videoing without his knowledge then posting it for all to see? Which code of ethics do you know that condones that?

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  19. I am a parent of one of the players on this junior team. In our small community the people who are coaches are volunteers and parents of other players. My son has had this coach now for 3 years. I have been happy with the expectations from the coach to the players. I have very mixed emotions about this whole thing. I don't agree with the mother secretly videotaping and then posting on facebook. I agree with a statement above that this teaches our children that when it comes to conflict, video tape and post it for the world to see so that we can bully people into changing their beliefs is not the right thing to be teaching our children.
    Does he have the right to grow his hair? Definitely! But every sport has rules and all coaches have expectations on their players.
    My son had cancer when he was 13 and is one of the players on the team. I admire Liam for doing what he's doing but I think that things could have been handled totally different on both parties.
    For those of you who chose to be so judgemental about a man (coach) you haven't even meant, shame on you! There are always two sides to every story!

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  20. Anonymous2/5/14

    A coach should not be able to 'make his own rules' or where do you draw the line? Allowing a coach's personal rules could lead and has lead to some very negative things being done in the past.

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  21. Bill S2/5/14

    Well from what I saw in this vid alone - with no pretence of knowing the whole story - it does sound like she's disrespecting coach's rules. While I don't share his take on hair (how would I know - I don't understand baseball physics or his motivation "set an example"), I still see him as the leader who has the right to run the team the way he sees fit. As a leader of young people, I've seen these types of parents before and one has to understand that no matter how entitled people feel to participate in an organization, the leader sometimes has to ask certain members to leave (no matter how skilled they are). My cousin, who is a basketball coach, has had to let several skilled athletes go due to a lack of trying his system. The reason for this, he says, is that when even one person is jockeying for leadership over the coach, then the team is confused as to who to listen to. Again, maybe they could sit down and ask him to reconsider his position on hair .. or they could just find another team

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    1. Anonymous2/5/14

      Well said. The coach seemed to be set up with this mom's intent.

      Shame on her...... time we let people be accountable for their actions.

      The cutting the hair for cancer is an excuse now... it would have been mentioned earlier like he said...very logical.

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    2. Liam Nazarek3/5/14

      I was told at the end of my first practice (seven days ago) of the the hair cutting rule. To which I was shocked. My mother called the Dust devils president the next day to see if i had understood the rule correctly. The president said my hair was a non-issue, although the coach prefers that boys cut their hair, it wasn't mandatory. When i arrived at practice (4 days ago) i was greeted by my coach immediately asking about my hair. After talks with my coach, my mother, and the president of the club i was told the hair HAD to be cut. This is when I informed him of my previous commitment to donate my hair to cancer, I would have done this sooner had I not been told this was a non issue. I would like to reiterate that all of this happened in a span of six day, and in that time I informed the coach twice of my plans to donate my hair.

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    3. Rose3/5/14

      Well done Liam -- many adults also need or prefer to take time to reflect and/or research before challenging an authority figure on a decision, especially if it was unexpected. Many of us would have needed some time to gather our thoughts. I think you did well to take time to try to clarify the rule with the president of your association and discuss it with your parent before speaking to the coach.

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    4. Jessica3/5/14

      Liam...you are going to get a lot of pressure over the next few weeks. Some of the messages will be very strong indeed. There are people in this world that will tell you that you are wrong and will tell you what you should and should not be doing. Do what is right for you and what is in your heart. As Adults we sometimes forget what it was like to be a teenager trying to figure out the rules of the world. I never did like the answer because I told you to. I have read all the messages on this site and well it looks like you and your Mom took reasonable steps that were required to take, before she took it to this level. Your coach seems to mean well however does not like to have is power challenge. None of us do. I am really sorry that you have had to experience discrimination in this way. However this is an opportunity to change things. So remember this - when you have the opportunity to be where the coach is today - you can change the way this looks for everyone else after you. You can ask them why they are doing X or Y and have a dialog with them before a decision is made. Sometimes the best leaders are the ones that have these types of challenges that they face. Blessings to you, your family, your coach and your community. May you all find peace, healing and forgivness.

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  22. As someone who grew up in Pincher Creek and played baseball from 6 to 16 there, this has really caught my attention. I agree with those that believe that the coach should be able to set rules for the team and that players should follow. This is at the core of team sports, respect for your coach and teammates. But these rules should be relevant and truly important to the game and should reflect the values of the community at large. This isn't 1962. We don't value "haircuts you can set your watch to" as Grandpa Simpson once admired about quarterback Johnny Unitas. Look at the majors and you will see a wide variety of hair and facial hair styles. In short, I think Coach MacKenzie has hitched his horses to the wrong wagon on this one.
    But I have an issue with the way this was handled by Liam and his mother. As a previous poster suggested, why not take this to the league or association rather than secretly taping this exchange and posting it for all to see. It would seem that would be the respectful way to deal with the issue. Respectful of the coach and his teammates. And I would wonder why this wasn't done weeks or months ago, as it seems that it is well known what the rules are for playing on this particular team.
    In short, this rule is bad, but the response to it appears to be worse.
    Ian Mitchell

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    1. Anonymous2/5/14

      Extremely well said Ian! I think most thoughtful, intelligent people would completely agree. This is front page news? Worthy of provincial radio coverage? Come on. Let's be reasonable.

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    2. The coach has expectations for his team, which I will assume were known ahead of time. If you want to play on his team, then you should have to follow his rules. Coach, please don't change just because this has gone public. As a person who has coached high school age athletes for over 20 years, I feel bad for you that you are forced to deal with this, while volunteering your time.

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    3. Liam Nazarek3/5/14

      In your post you pointed out that this should have been handled weeks or months ago. It all happened within a span of six days, I had just started with team.

      Delete
    4. Fair enough Liam. My main point is simply whether secret videos and FaceBook was the best course of action here. As I said, I agree that this is an arbitrary and unnecessary rule at this level, and I support you in principle. I think it is unfortunate and unnecessary that you are being made to sit out for something like hair length. But I don't believe that this justifies opening the coach up to scorn and ridicule online by recording him against without his knowledge and then posting this. I applaud you standing up for yourself. I would only suggest taking a less sensationalist approach next time.

      Delete
    5. Michel Wiggers3/5/14

      I respectfully disagree Ian. As a long time coach myself, I fully agree that player/coach interactions should always be respectful. However, to expect a minor to accept benching, (and thereby tacitly agreeing to be discriminated against) is asking a lot, in my opinion. And while "secretly taping" the coach's rant may not, at first glance, seem respectful, I can completely understand Liam's mother's outrage. Can you put yourself in her position for one minute? If you honestly believed that your child was being disadvantaged by someone in a position of authority for an illogical and/or illegal reason, would you not be just a tad upset? Personally, I would be FURIOUS. And while long hair in certain professions or social situations may not be ideal, nowhere (as far as I know, with the exception of the military) will having long hair instead of short hair result in disciplinary action. Nor should it. What is the difference between long hair on a baseball team, or sexual orientation, for example? The coach is taking the stance that Liam's long hair is representative of a character flaw, and is attempting to teach him the lesson that other people may view him in a negative light because of it (I'm giving the coach the benefit of the doubt here, and hoping that he is not just some bigot who hates "long haired hippy freaks"). However, I think that the coach would be better off teaching Liam to be who he wants to be, regardless of what other people think. It's about time that the rest of society lets go of stereotypes regarding people with long hair, rather than continuing to vilify people for a simple aesthetic choice (especially in this case, as he is growing his hair long for a good cause!).

      Delete
    6. So if an authority tells you to do something that has not one thing to do with how well you do your work or how well you fit with other employees, you are OK with that right Ian? So if they tell you to shave your head at your job because the boss is bald and he wants you to show :respect: for that, that is all right?

      Delete
    7. Really! In this day and age this coach has a problem with a players hair cut or lack thereof? What exactly is the example the coach is trying to set? That success is conformity? That acceptance

      Delete
  23. Anonymous2/5/14

    I feel it was wise of her to go to social media. Going through the "proper channels" most likely would take a while and jeopardize the season for the kid. Let's keep in mind two things:
    1) It is Mom and Dad's job to raise and make a young man.
    2) It is the coach's job to teach fundamentals and set strategy between the lines.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Lynne DeCock2/5/14

    How would coach deal with a First Nations student with a beautiful long braid ,as many have ? would that be for the chop too ?.....I think not.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Anonymous2/5/14

    Friday night lights anyone? Let coaches coach. If you don't like it you are welcome to pull your kids. Some people just want attention. Leave the kid out of this - it is mom vs. coach when it should have been resolved among the team.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Anonymous2/5/14

    There is no regulation about hair length in the rules of Baseball... And this is a team of kids, the coach doesn't own them, and it is not the major leagues or anything, however there has been players in the Majors who had long hair in the past.... If he play's good and is reasonably well behaved otherwise?, who cares if his hair is long?....Does that mean all the girls that play have to have short hair too???? Or a first nations student??? Unreal.....

    ReplyDelete
  27. Anonymous2/5/14

    Plenty of adults have long hair, Many of which would make great role models. Bryan Mackenzie has a big ego and is not willing to admit he is completely wrong. He needs to be the adult here and just coach the team and allow a child to play. Welcome to the 21st century Mr. Mackenzie.

    ReplyDelete
  28. Anonymous2/5/14

    The Coach is well known in town. His rules are well known. Liam and his mother knew the rules. Why challenge them after he suited up?. Why not settle this mess before it became such a situation? Minor Sports officials - was this issue brought before any rule committee and were there any decisions made? If there were meetings, and the coach was supported in his rule, then let's hear about it. If Mom is doing this without talking to officials then let's hear about that also.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Hey let's look at Kim's rules being that she knows how to run a club. Here is the policy from the Pincher Creek Dolphins handbook for the 2014 season as to how parents are to handle concerns with coaches. I ask you, did she adhere to her own rules that she holds so dear.?

    Addressing Parent Concerns - Dolphins Club Policy

    Dolphins coaches are available to speak directly with swimmers and their families prior to or immediately after swim practice – not during the practice, please! Parents or swimmers should be positive and respectful when speaking to coaches. If you have concerns after meeting directly with Dolphins coaches, please privately and discretely bring them to the attention of an executive member (that is, not on pool deck in front of swimmers, coaches, and parents, or in the public pool lobby). If the concern between parent and coach cannot be resolved as described above, please outline your concerns in writing for our entire Dolphins executive to consider. Please do not take concerns to those not directly involved. As we all know, the negative effects of talk behind the scenes can be harmful to any club’s morale and unity.

    In the unfortunate and unlikely scenario where concerns cannot be resolved, members may withdraw from the club by notifying the Dolphins executive.

    So if one is expected to follow this policy I have difficulty seeing where recording a conversation without a person's knowledge and then posting it on Facebook would comply with the guidelines outlined above.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Booberbama3/5/14

      This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

      Delete
    2. Ouch! Thought comment rules meant you couldn't call people names. In case you haven't noticed most people agree that the rule is questionable. The real issue here is how it was dealt with. There are better ways to deal with issues than creating a media circus that was totally avoidable.

      Delete
    3. Michel Wiggers3/5/14

      If you read all the information available (even in this thread), you can see that the president of the league, and the coach himself were actually informed of Liam and his mother's views. They were ignored, and Liam was benched. What would you do if your child was disciplined for something that you KNEW was unfair? Would you back the other person? If so, I'm glad you are not one of MY parents.....

      Delete
  30. Anonymous2/5/14

    Was the video really taken without his knowledge, or is everyone saying that just making assumptions?

    ReplyDelete
  31. Wild Willy2/5/14

    This issue is more about respect then it is hair. If you teach a kid to disrespect a leader(Coach Brian) they will have a harder time staying employed..working in groups..and being a leader themselves while the hair rule is a little old school, the rest of the players have cut their hair to comply with the rule, which makes it a team rule. If the cancer cause was so important to this young man Liam, he could have discussed this well known rule with coach Brian preseason, since the conversation didn't happen until the season started it's harder to believe that the isssue is cancer and not a desire to keep the hair. Can't hair be donated year round?

    The most disrespectful and unsavory part of this whole story is the helicoptor Mom teaching and modeling such disrespectful,tasteless and embarassing behavior. Secretive videos to pin a volunteer coach to the wall so that her precious can keep his hair. Plus the "We're divorced" comment to the Father of the Son added a classy touch. How would the president of the Dolphins respond to this type of disrespect of policy and procedure in her organization? To say nothing of the Social Media campaign.

    I hope someone teaches this Boy how to put We before Me and to show respect, how to appropriately solve conflict and to not air marital grievances in public domain!!!!!! That's Hideous!!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous3/5/14

      So, disrespect to a leader and not following every rule, leads you to be unemployed, alone and a follower...sounds a little odd to me. So, following every made up rule and regulation is suppose to be mandatory, then everyone is this world is going to apparently be unemployed and disrespectful. I guess, if you want to work somewhere, play a sport, go to school or anything for that matter and the rule is that sexual harassment, chest size, underpay, make-up, nudity, racism, blue eyes, short hair, long hair etc are a because I said so, it's my choice regulation, than it has to be followed? I don't think so, they are discrimination, unreasonable, and does not affect the way a person behaves, works or plays or who a person is. Don't get me wrong, reasonable rules and regulations should be followed and yes structure is needed, but does long hair really change who this young boy is or how he plays, I think not. People don't go to watch the game and say "oh hey we better leave because that boy has long hair and and now has no structure and misbehaves cuz he didn't follow the haircutting rule." NO, people come to watch the game, to cheer the teams on and to have fun, just as the players do. Also, as for the can't hair be donated year round comment, yes it probably can, but some charities need it a certain length before it can be donated. My son, has been growing his hair as well, and yet he is still allowed to play soccer and baseball. I guess, my son doesn't have character either, or so it's mentioned like that in so many comments. As for the mother defending her son...isn't that something a parent does for their child, teach them to stand up for themselves, protect them and teach them to be able to make their OWN decisions in life so that they become a LEADER not a FOLLOWER.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous3/5/14

      nailed it.

      Delete
  32. Anonymous3/5/14

    I thought minor baseball was about having fun? learning and enjoying the game . these are not proffesional players. I could understand rules in A.AA .AAA ETC. the whole point of community sports is to make it enjoyable and fun and for kids to learn. I think this is ridiculous , next it will be tattoos with this guy, or earrings , clothing etc.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous3/5/14

      So rules should only apply to those on A, AA, AAA I think that is ridiculous. No matter the skill level, community team or not kids can learn from rules.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous3/5/14

      But the rules should make sense. Of course rules should be followed, but I have yet to read any comment stating that THIS rule is necessary for THIS level of commitment/ competition. At higher levels, I can see an argument for that much more of a team uniformity/ cohesiveness. But for crying out loud, we should be opening the doors wide to any teen who wants to play community sports.

      Delete
  33. Anonymous3/5/14

    I think that the coach made a judgement call, was not supplied with all the facts and now finds it difficult to back down and say that 'in the circumstances' he was wrong. I think the coach needs to go to bat for the cause and be the bigger person.

    ReplyDelete
  34. Anonymous3/5/14

    Regarding the Dolphins Club Policy - thank you, thank you, thank you. Finally someone shedding some light on what is expected when there is conflict within a sports club. The way this was handled is an insult to the club Liam's mother so proudly stated she was a part of. Principles are principles and you can't expect it of others and then ignore them to suit your own wants.

    ReplyDelete
  35. Anonymous3/5/14

    Okay folks, this is quite enough. This petty situation made national news? Nothing better to get upset and concerned about? Get on the wagon about peer bullying and do some good for all kids who are REALLY being bullied.

    ReplyDelete
  36. Anonymous3/5/14

    Actually this is part of the game. I have played baseball in High School, College, and Minors. There have been multiple teams that I have played for that the coaches require you to cut your hair and be clean shaven. The coaches are in charge and if you don't like the rules then don't play for them. The New York Yankees require this (Johnny Damon). Its not just baseball either, its life. The service men and public service (law enforcement, firefighters) require it also. I think people are getting too bent out of shape because they live a sheltered life and get offended way to easy. The cancer excuse is a good one. It looks long enough to be a wig but that's just my opinion.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous3/5/14

      If this is part of the game, then why are there MLB players with longer hair than him?

      Delete
  37. Booberbama3/5/14

    This coach is not a leader and he does not deserve respect. If a rule is wrong, a real man fights for whats right...he does not conform to society and to ignorant people who stereotype and discriminate. .Some of these comments are really sad...Wild Willy...really. Give me a break.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This real man is standing for what he thinks is right just as much as Liam is. You seem to be discriminating and stereotyping with your comments as well.

      Delete
  38. Anonymous3/5/14

    Interesting thing... The coach DID come up with an idea to rectify the whole situation because he did want to see Liam have the opportunity to play.... Bryan and the team's assistant coach agreed to shave their heads along with any other kids on the team who wanted to, they would donate $1000 to cancer charities, and invite the media all this provided Liam was in on it... Liam refused!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So I guess it is about the hair not supporting the cause for cancer.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous3/5/14

      The coach came up with this idea because he wants Liam to have the opportunnity to play and yet he states it is HIS rule for him to cut his hair or cannot play? Why not just let him play and keep the hair if he really wanted to play so bad. Its just hair its not hurting anyone if it is longer than everyone elses.
      Sounds like he is still trying to enforce his ridiculous rule but escape the critism he is now receiving over it!

      Delete
  39. I volunteer my time to downhill mountain bike with about 20 kids every week, For me the idea of being a mentor is huge, I believe you must allow children/young adults the opportunity to be exactly who they are. Having a voice is huge for kids, peer pressure is so tough, as adults we need to guide them, not add to the pressure to ' conform ' The issue of hair seems silly to me, not sure how that is relevant to baseball, but it is important to the coach and that is his prerogative to feel that way, just as it is the young mans prerogative to want to keep his hair long, Really at the end of the day, does it really matter? life too short to get hung up on silly issues as this, just enjoy the sunshine, the crack of a bat hitting a ball , sound of crowds cheering and play ball…. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  40. Anonymous3/5/14

    I agree and support this coach one hundred percent. I played AAA hockey as a youth and one of the best rules we had was clean cut and shaven before each game as well as you must wear a ironed shirt and tie to each game. Furthermore, we had curfews and he checked on us randomly. This situation is no diff. This is a case of an overbearing/over protective mother. She and her supporters seem to think that conforming to rules is a bad thing. Well guess what. When he enters the work force and real life there will be lots of rules to follow. Did I like wearing a tie, getting home early and shaving. NO, but I see the value in it now and I am glad that I had parents that made me make a choice. Follow the rules or don't play. It serves me well today.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous3/5/14

      Yeah. Looking good is way more important than helping kids with cancer.

      Delete
  41. Anonymous3/5/14

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  42. Dallas3/5/14

    Remember there was a song in 1971 about long hair freaky people , maybe youtube "Five man electrical band" Signs. This was made 43 years ago. I guess theres not much progress in humanity . Its 2014 get over it!

    ReplyDelete
  43. Anonymous3/5/14

    Wow, the coachs father was our phys ed teacher and was like that back in the day(70's) he had a brush cut and we were young with long hair.
    Good thing the world couldn't see via social media the things he did. Guess the apple doesn't fall far from the tree..

    ReplyDelete
  44. Anonymous3/5/14

    WHO CARES!!?? Let the kid play!! Maybe I don't like how the coach looks and he should never be involved in baseball. Get a life coach. Maybe he is trying to compensate for his boss telling him what to do. What a disgrace and thanks for making Canadians look like fools.

    ReplyDelete
  45. Anonymous3/5/14

    The coach is not developing 'character'. He is using military tactics on a baseball team, pretending to be the commanding officer, making his own rules and trying to force conformity to those rules. His ego is out of control. He needs help.

    ReplyDelete
  46. Anonymous3/5/14

    Lucky this guy was not around to coach Sampson, that would be 1 less bible story.

    ReplyDelete
  47. I live in NC ...that's how fast this is spreading. It's crazy that this coach has a problem with this kid's hair when
    major league teams have players with long hair and beards. The coach needs to realize he's made a mistake and apologize to show the kids what adult behavior and good character really are.The kid is showing his good character...the coach is showing his butt.

    ReplyDelete
  48. Anonymous3/5/14

    White people problems right here! Some of us actually have real problems.

    ReplyDelete
  49. Anonymous3/5/14

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  50. Anonymous3/5/14

    Coach is a control freak, bad example for kids. I've had great successful coaches that could care less what you looked like, it was about how you played.

    ReplyDelete
  51. Anonymous3/5/14

    this is NOT what a coach does. especially since the kid is growing the hair for kids with cancer. wow

    ReplyDelete
  52. Wow!!! Lots if opinions !!! At the end if the day they are just that- OPINIONS!
    Not every one is going to agree 100% of the time! That's life ! Not the end of the world!!!
    I will say however that I am quite disappointed with the one sided coverage if the above story!

    ReplyDelete
  53. Anonymous3/5/14

    What I would like to see is his teammates start growing their hair to support him and also a worthwhile charity.

    ReplyDelete
  54. Anonymous3/5/14

    Coach is right. If you want to be part of the team, you've got to listen to the coach and be team player. Sometimes that means making sacrifices.
    The coach was not rude or aggressive, he very clearly stated his rules and the boy did not wish to abide by them. He's welcome to find another baseball team to play with.

    ReplyDelete
  55. So, some fine citizen just posted Bryan MacKenzie's personal contact information in the comments section of the article on Global. Do any of you who support the actions of the family to take this issue to social media really think this a just result for the "crime" at hand. He's a volunteer coach for Christ's sake giving his time and running the team the best he knows how. So it's OK for some nameless faceless trolls to start harassing him at home now? I think his rule sucks too, and I would ask him to change it if I were on the local baseball board, but taking the case to social media was surely using a jackhammer to drive in a nail. If this isn't a prime example of why NOT to try someone on the internet, I don't know what is!

    ReplyDelete
  56. You can enforce dress codes, uniforms, etc, but asking someone to change their physical appearance is discrimination. You can not ask your employees to cut their hair. You can make them put it up in a hair net if it's a health or safety issue but you still can't make them cut it. Come on Coach. This is 2014 not 1964. Coach is in the wrong and anyone who thinks differently better get with the times and check the law. If this went to court the kid would win.

    ReplyDelete
  57. Anonymous3/5/14

    For Liam's point of view, I think the best lesson here is that not everything has a happy ending. Sometimes, you just got to do what's right and live with the consequences.

    It's important to take the stand and argue your case but, in the end, if the coach won't budge, the hair donation becomes that much more valuable.

    An actual sacrifice for a worthy cause builds real character.

    ReplyDelete
  58. Anonymous3/5/14

    My son had long hair as a teenager and it was a faze. Whether this boy wore it long because it was what he wanted or for a cancer fundraiser it is beside the point. Shame on people for judging someone by outside appearances. Inside people can be very ugly and that is what was video taped. It is wonderful that this boy has the mother that he does...a support...the father was of no support. Both coach and dad should be embarrassed.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous3/5/14

      The dad should be embarrassed? The most disturbing part of the video was the disrespect shown to the father by the mother!!!

      Delete
  59. Anonymous3/5/14

    Most of the comments on this are from someone named Anonymous. Easy to run your mouth when your name is Anonymous. if you knew Coach Mackenzie you would understand that he is very community minded, very generous to commmunity charities. In fact was a (dare I say the driving force) founder of an organization called Angels Within Us. A charity which has raised tens of thousands of dollars for families in the Pincher Creek area whom faced hardships, which were funded to cover medical cost that they could not afford. His ranch has given thousands of dollars to young people to fund their educations through scholarships. Before you get all judgmental about this hair deal, maybe look at what 'the rest of the story' may be. Pincher Creek is very fortunate to have a people in their community that are the caliber of this man.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous3/5/14

      Says Mr. Anonymous.

      Delete
  60. Anonymous3/5/14

    I say give them all a ribbon for coming out to play. There should be NO championship as it promotes unwarranted competition as it all about kids self esteem isn't it?

    ReplyDelete

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