Code of Conduct

Hoover vs. Southeast Polk in a Class 4-A Substate #4 final at WDM Valley's Coldiron Fieldhouse. Courtesy of Lisa Fernandez, Des Moines Register

Last Tuesday, I went to watch the Hoover vs. Southeast Polk substate final at West Des Moines Valley.  It was a surprise when rumors started to circulate that a starting player for SE Polk (SEP), Tony Sandquist, should have been suspended for being at an underage party Friday night after their regular season finale. To many Hoover fans, they strongly felt that SEP was covering up the incident and let the player participate.

It wasn’t until Thursday morning that the Register got hold of the story and what exactly took place.  The SEP district was slated to suspend Sandquist, but his parents requested and received an injunction from a judge to allow him to play, citing that he shouldn’t be suspended because…

a).  he didn’t know that alcohol was being served at the party

b).  he was sleeping in another room, because he played earlier that night, and

c).  he left the party

Marty Tirrell: hook, line, and sinker.

Marty Tirrell, who can’t seem to let this issue go, thinks the kid got jobbed.

Like hell he does.

The two questions that no one wants to ask are the following:

“What the hell was he doing there in the first place?” and “Who, at that party, ratted him out to the cops?”

Instead, Tirrell, for some whacked-out reason, thinks that SEP and many of the students, parents, and fans, are trying to railroad Sandquist.  That’s garbage.  First of all, if Sandquist was so tired after the game, he would go home, not head out to Urbandale to that house party.  Second, ask any teenager in high school had they been to a party where alcohol was served.  If they have, they’re not telling you.  It’s because they have done it before. Many of us who were teens have been to a high school party and got our drink on.

Southeast Polk was doing the right thing, until a judge got blocked them from suspending a player.

If one kid or several kids get busted, two things are going to happen:  they’re going to rat out everyone who was there, or they keep their mouth shut.  Apparently the kids at the party decided to squeal and spill names.  It’s human behavior.

If you play in athletics, you are held to a higher standard and a set of rules because you are representing the school.  If you are caught at a place where alcohol is around, you will be suspended, if you have a drink or not.

No one can bend the rules for one kid.

SEP attempted to do right by suspending Sandquist.  Don’t blame them, as Tirrell continues to do.  They were trying to do the right thing.  Sandquist’s parents got the injunction and blocked SEP from sitting him down.

The Hoover fans do have a case that Sandquist should have played, but do not expect the IAHSAA to step in and remove SEP from the state tournament before their 1st round game versus #3 seed Dowling Catholic tonight (8:30 pm, Wells Fargo Arena).  Of course, all of this could have been avoided if Hoover had won.

Mark Hansen put it in these very simple words:

While you applaud Sandquist’s decision to abstain from alcohol, the policy is clear.  Playing high school sports is a privilege.  High school athletes are held to a higher standard.

With state tournament time on the horizon, the risk of being anywhere near underage drinking far outweighs the rewards for an athlete. It isn’t a chance worth taking.

Sandquist took that chance, and as far as I’m concerned, he struck out.

Have a seat on the bench tonight, kid.

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