Even seniors get cut from the team

Southfield+High+School+senior+Ro%27Kiya+Parker+says+she+didn%27t+see+it+coming+when+she+was+cut+from+the+varsity+girls+basketball+team+in+her+senior+year.+She+says+she+will+still+have+a+spot+on+the+track+team.+%22They+don%27t+cut+anybody.%22

Aasif Allen

Southfield High School senior Ro’Kiya Parker says she didn’t see it coming when she was cut from the varsity girls basketball team in her senior year. She says she will still have a spot on the track team. “They don’t cut anybody.”

By Darryl Littlejohn, Jr., Southfield HS, Southfield, Mich.

In December senior Ro’Kiya Parker would normally be spending her time after school in the shiny new field house, working up a serious sweat, practicing her free throws, her lay-ups, her dunks. She’d have another new pair of Nikes in her duffel bag and a spare pair of sweat socks in her locker.

Not this year.

After three successful years of playing high school basketball, Parker in her senior year was cut from the team.

The former junior varsity point guard who expected to make varsity this year was running drills at tryouts when she received the bad news. Girls Varsity Basketball Coach Jamie Glinz pulled her to the side and said, “I know you don’t want to hear this, but I have to cut you from my team.”

Parker said she was stunned, hurt and angry about Glinz’s decision and didn’t believe that the day would ever come when she would get kicked off the team.

Ouch.

The hurt and embarrassment of getting cut is felt by athletes everywhere who at some point in their athletic career are cut from a team.

Glinz, who made the decision to cut Parker, said, “It isn’t easy letting a player go, and it hurts me as much as it hurts the player.”

Getting cut from a team is considered a life lesson for players. Glinz said. “You can apply for a job, but it’s not guaranteed that you’re going to get it, and rejection teaches you to work harder.”

Glinz said that it’s important for athletes and non-athletes to learn to handle defeat because “Even if you do make the team, there is only one winner.”

Football Coach Andrew Green said, “Cutting a player isn’t easy, but you have to do what’s best for the team and put the best players out there. It isn’t anything personal, it’s just what’s best for the team to succeed.”

Parker rationalizes now that the decision was made because her speed wasn’t up to par and her skills were not developed enough for varsity basketball.

But it still hurts, Parker said. Going forward, “I have to focus on more important things, such as bettering my education and preparing myself for college and work.”

She winces a little when she says it, making it obvious that it is a tough adjustment. She said she already misses the thwack, thwack, thwack sound of the pimpled orange basketball smacking the floor as she dribbles it up and down the court, year after year with her beloved teammates.

Parker’s former teammate Stormy Madison, who made the varsity team, said the news of losing Parker hit her hard, too. Madison says she’ll miss having Parker suit up and play ball with her.

With or without Parker — and it will be without — the Southfield High Girls Varsity Basketball team is aiming high: “The goal for this year is to win a League championship and a District championship,” said team Captain Cortney Williams.

The team suffered with a lot of injuries last season and, according to Glinz, he wants to “put a lot of pressure on teams by using full court presses, traps, and wearing out the teams throughout the games.”

Attempting to fill Parker’s Nikes are two new freshmen: Tyler Washington and Khadaja Cockren.

The team now has members from all four grade levels, Glinz said.

Williams, who has committed to play for Loyola University next year, is a key player to the team and says she expects her teammates to do well collectively. She wants to go for the big District Title and bring a Championship in to Southfield before she exits her last year in high school.

Parker says she wishes the team the best of luck and hopes that they will have a great season without her.

She has taken off her sweat band and claimed her seat in the bleachers for home games.

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