Another week, another one with questionable public relations news coming out of the area’s biggest and oldest high school.
As Santa Barbara High continues to create less-than-ideal headlines, there were plenty of positives as well, including selflessness from a local baseball squad and a slew of local basketball tournaments that put smaller schools on display.
This week, unfortunately, it’s a bit heavier on Scrooge than Santa Claus.
Zero: Transparency — for the kids
I can’t profess to know why girls soccer head coach Silas Fallstich was let go by the Santa Barbara High School administration, maybe it was the right thing, maybe it wasn’t.
One source says this, one source says that. There is only one person that truly knows that answer, and that person doesn’t have to reveal a thing.
And for Fallstich, that might have to be an answer he has to live with, regardless of the lawyers that will likely get involved.
What is unfortunate is that it isn’t the administration or Fallstich that are ultimately affected — it’s the 23 players on the varsity roster that will carry this burden.
They will be left to answer, from classmates and opponents: “What happened to your coach?”
And they don’t have any answers.
Was it one of them that caused the ouster? A parent? Was it something sinister? Innocent?
Those are questions that remain unanswered, left for a group of teenagers to try and dissect as they inch closer to what should be a promising Channel League season for the Dons.
In the day and age of social media and everyone’s own personal verticals of “truth,” the lack of transparency for this group of athletes isn’t fair, and completely unnecessary.
The administration can hide behind privacy matters, Fallstich will move on with his life.
The girls are left to deal with the mess — but maybe that’s for the best, their effort is as transparent as can be, with their results on the field ultimately doing the talking.
My gut tells me the Dons will come out of this closer as a squad, and find more success in that sisterhood.
Hero: Cottage Hospital & the Santa Barbara Foresters
Visiting the pediatric wing of Cottage Hospital is something that no parent ever wants to experience — especially at the holidays.
But it was heartwarming to see ear-to-ear smiles from nurses as Bill Pintard, Christina Songer, Jacob Songer, Connor McManigal and Steven Reveles show up decked out in holiday gear, with a pallet of loot in tow.
To see the joy that just a few moments can bring to a patient embodied what the holiday spirit should look like — simply being there for each other, even if you’re a perfect stranger.
In five minutes or less, a memory of a lifetime is created.
And we all can spare five minutes.
Thanks for the reminder.
Zero: Peabody Stadium, Part II
Yes, a good portion of last week’s column was used to be critical of the ongoing delays with the Peabody Stadium project.
But, now we are a week away from the promised (third) deadline, and there looks to be weeks worth of work to be done.
So as Todd Heil’s boys soccer squad has remained undefeated and the aforementioned Dons girls soccer squad battles through a personnel issue without the comfort of a home, it has been alarming to see seemingly only 10-15 people working on the project on any given morning.
Meanwhile, rumor has it that another school project in the North County has been a distraction for the contracting company, providing limited resources to completing the Peabody gig.
It’s laughable to look at the project’s website and seeing the following:
- July 2017: Project contract award
- August 2017: Groundbreaking
- April 2019: Estimated final completion
That April turned to August . . . and then December . . . and now, who really knows?
Two graduating classes haven’t been able to utilize Peabody for their respective ceremonies; countless athletes have called San Marcos, Dos Pueblos or La Playa home; and endless promises broken.
Once a Don, Always Gone . . .
Hero: Holiday basketball
It’s been 15 years since I enjoyed the Jim Bashore Holiday Cage Classic or the Santa Barbara Tournament of Champions — but the memories came flooding back.
And with both Westmont basketball programs and UCSB men grabbing headlines this past week, it’s easy to look past a trio of boys teams playing for the top four spots in the Classic, or the fact that a team traveled 2,600 miles from Pennsylvania to play in the TOC.
To see Jorge Mercado, Gerry Fall, Mitchell White and Kenneth Song tackle both tournaments like the one we will see in March on a national stage is what our community is all about.
The Bishop Diegos, Carpinterias and Santa Marias are stories worth telling, and I enjoy every word and every photograph we can muster on them.
Hero & Zero: Donegal Fergus
It’s always positive to see a man’s dreams come true. Donegal Fergus falls into that category, with the former UCSB associate head coach landing a job with the Minnesota Twins.
Congratulations are definitely in order, and last season’s record-breaking club couldn’t say enough positive things about their short-lived coach. That’s a sign of results, which is what every program or Major League team is looking for.
With that being said, it would have been great to see another year of the Andrew Checketts-Donegal Fergus 1-2 combination, allowing Checketts to completely focus on the pitching staff.
Thankfully, Checketts does have Matt Fonteno in the wings, ready to take over the offense and fresh off a year with plenty of success.
Here’s to wishing everyone a happy holiday season!