It’s an occasional effort that a parent will use. An athletic parent in particular.

Somewhere around their kid’s seventh grade year, their folks will have them repeat that school year. It’s done for a few reasons.

• Create a better classroom attitude.

• Build a more solid sense of maturity.

• Best of all, there’s the athletic angle: It allows another year of physical growth.

Best I can recall is that, several years ago, Colton High had a boatload of football players that made that move. Can’t recall if this was a bunch of parents that got together in harmony, or not.

The ploy worked in the cases of those players, who not only helped build the Yellowjackets into a potential devastating prep team, but also set the kids up for better futures in the collegiate ranks.

And the NFL.

Yes, we’re aware of the possible blowback of holding kids back in school ⎯ any grade. It can be humiliating for any kid repeating a grade.

I’m married to a high school English teacher. I’ve heard some of the stories of kids that aren’t ready for high school, much less college. Make no mistake about it: College educators shake their heads at their high school counterparts who turn over less-than-stellar students.

High school teachers, too, are concerned with a lack of academic preparation from their brothers and sisters in the K-through-8 ranks.

If this sounds more about academics than athletics, I admit you’re probably half right. Most folks I’ve talked with are pounding sports. If a kid’s academics improve, so much the better.

In recent weeks, I’ve connected with nine parents who’ve held their kids back for just those purposes. One potential Cajon dad, whose son is headed for the eighth grade, said, “I’m happy we did this because of the coronavirus hangup. I think repeating eighth grade might be in his best interests.”

The more he thought about it, the more he liked the idea. After all, kids all across California have lost a half-year of schooling.

A mother of a future Indian Springs kid said, “My son could use a little help in reading. I think I’ll keep him in sixth grade [in 2020-21].”

No one that I’ve come in contact with had a senior on this list. In other words, think of the devastation of holding a kid back for these purposes if they were counting on a senior year during the spring sports season.


Of those nine parents, seven were football kids and two were basketballers.

Most of those folks, though, were asked by me why they didn’t hold their kids back in kindergarten. No one seemed to come up with a solid answer.

I’ve noticed something on this, though. You don’t see anyone’s daughters on these lists. Are there any?

* * *

Tom Dempsey, the NFL placekicker who kicked a record 61-yard field goal for New Orleans in 1970, died recently at age 73. Guy kicked with half a foot. It’s interesting that his college career came at Palomar College down in North San Diego County.

Dude wrestled, did the weight events in track & field, eventually kicking for the likes of the Eagles, Chargers, Bills, Oilers and Rams.

Dozens of Comets’ Hall of Famers, including two-time world javelin record holder Tom Petranoff are among that campus’ most significant athletes.

It’s the classic neighborhood community college.

Footnote: Riverside City College football coach Tom Craft had the Comets at their highest level ever since its 1948 inception ⎯ state champions under Craft in 1998.

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