Punishment

It’s been a busy week.  You can see my problem if you follow my blogs.  It’s Friday and I am just turning this week’s blog into our Sports Information Director, Phil.  Phil is very understanding and I’m pretty sure he won’t punish me for being a few days late. 

I’m afraid I have a dilemma with punishment.  It’s actually late Thursday night and I just got done with a grinding session of sixth grade math.  I’m an old middle school math teacher.  The word old is the key adjective in the sentence. 

I’m the appointed parent to help my son, Sam, with his math, but he has to do every agonizing multiplication, geometry, averaging, and estimating problems himself.  It gets a little tough dealing with your own son as compared to just another sixth grader.  Sometimes there even needs to be a punishment.

Sam is not very motivated to completely memorize the multiplication table.  He wants to let his hair grow longer, so I made him a deal.  When the next haircut rolls around, I’ll test his knowledge of the 10 X 10 multiplication chart.  If he is flawless, Sam can skip the next haircut.  His punishment for failure is short hair.  Is there a punishment short of death worst than short hair?

The basketball team will be off for 10 days of Christmas break after Friday’s game.  I’ve been really pleased with the effort from my team.  I haven’t been as pleased with the results, but if we can just hang in there, the wins will come soon.  However, now is a dangerous time for the basketball team.  Lack of effort, poor attitude and rotten practice habits can cause me to dish out punishments.  I wish it were as easy as finding a punishment for Sam.

I would guess this is pretty common for parents of pre-teenage kids, but I have a long lists of punishments for my sometimes lazy son,, should he fail to show me effort, gives me a bad attitude, or has rotten habits.  I think at the top of the list is to remove the X-Box privileges for an extended amount of time.  That means Madden Football, NBA-12, Baseball-11, and college football has to go silent until the offending behavior is corrected. 

Just about as bad is to set an early bedtime.  I must admit I fail in good parenting when I try to set a decent bedtime.  I won’t mention the time Sam climbs into his nighttime nest for fear a social worker will read that section of the blog.  A fate almost as bad as no X-Box is go to bed early.  Razors under the finger nails can’t be this cruel.

I’m just getting started.  What if I unplugged the television for the evening?  If Teen Disney had to go silent for an entire night, I’ll bet Sam would secretly start packing his bags.  I’m sure that Sam would be like the baby stock trader in the commercial when mom took away his computer.  Sam would reach under his pillow to pull out some hidden electronic wonder.

Almost as bad as going to bed early is to rise and shine with the sun on weekends.  Getting up before 10 am on Saturday or Sunday is definitely a downer.  Sam does have to wake up for Sunday School, but he can stretch it to about 8:55.  An early wakeup call on Saturday is almost unthinkable.

You can make it worse if Sam has to get up early on Saturday to clean his room.  He spends all week finding new ways to mess up his 10 x 15 foot private space.  If he has to tackle that mess before 8 am is just about as bad as water boarding.

As long as we are into cleaning, why not have Sam follow up his room rearranging with a little vacuuming?  A great punishment is for Sam to crank up this noisy piece of cleaning technology during a new episode of Jessie, a Teen Disney favorite.  Then send him to the cold, smelly garage for a little sweeping.  To include all this, Sam must have committed something close to capitol murder.

There’s one punishment I can stick up my sleeve for the worst of Sam’s behavior.  In that cold, clammy garage is one very large litter box.  We don’t have any inside cats, but a couple felines take up permanent resident in our double garage.  No mouse is safe in our garage.  However, they hate to do their “stuff” out in the cold, so the litter box is pretty disgusting most of the time.  If I run out of things that Sam really hates to do, there’s always the dumping of this smelly box of litter. 

As long as we are into stinky jobs, how about making Sam go down our 200 yard driveway to collect our trash cans.  I hate taking those trash can down the lane every Wednesday for the garbage collector to dump.  Getting them back to the garage seems to be a problem.  If Sam shows me attitude, it’s down the lane for him.

I have just taken a pleasant trip down punishment lane.  Poor Sam doesn’t know how my imagination has improved over the years.  However, I don’t have near as many options for my players.  Tomorrow, I will face that very dilemma.

I’m afraid I’ll have to dish out punishment for poor effort, bad attitude, and rotten practice habits.  My options are limited.  The common thought is to kick the offender out of practice.  In 29 years of college coaching, I have only kicked out an individual from practice twice.  I think I kicked the entire team out twice in those 29 years, too.

The problem with that punishment is that might be just what the player has in mind.  A little nap in the locker room might sound appealing.  Another common punishment is RUNNING!  Line up the offender and start her on her way.  Run that court for 10, 20 or 30 minutes, but again there’s a problem; what to do with the rest of the team?

How about a little all for one and one for all?  Maybe, I’ll line everybody but the offender up and run them until they get nauseous.  Peer pressure is sometimes the right cure for the bad behavior from one of my round ballers.  The problem with this may be true hatred toward one of their teammates.  That’s a real problem.

I’ll probably settle it the old fashion way; make the bad practice player sit the bench.  Picking splinters can be a great motivator.  If they fail to come out of it, I’ll put a tent at the end of the bench since they’ll be spending a lot of time at that location.  I still think it would be easier to make her carry out the cat litter.

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Gene Steinmeyer

About Gene Steinmeyer

Gene Steinmeyer coached the Northwest Missouri State women’s basketball team for 13 seasons before retiring after 26 years as a collegiate head coach after the 2011-12 season. He retired as the second winningest women’s basketball coach at Northwest as his 2010-11 team won both the MIAA Regular Season and Tournament Championship advancing to the NCAA National Semifinals one game shy of the national championship game.

One thought on “Punishment

  1. You know Gene, if you needed to you could always send Sammy “north” to clean horse stalls, and dog kennels! I’m sure he would love it. Ha ha ha

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