Shocked by behavior of OPRF athletes

Opinion: Letters To The Editor

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The other day I was knocked to the ground by a herd of 15 to 20 OPRF High School girls who were running together. They were running faster than me, surrounded me completely on both sides and front and back, so close as to force me to trip on them and fall. I tried to get up on my middle-aged feet quickly but was again knocked down. I hollered in shock and distress.

Only one of the girls looked over her shoulder and yelled "sorry" as I lay on the ground. Not a single one stopped to see if I was OK. I got up and approached their coach, who witnessed the entire thing, and I questioned whether the girls were taught anything whatsoever about good sportsmanship, and the response was a curt, "Ma'am, the track is technically closed when we're using it." Again, not a bit of concern for my well-being. In the past I have seen these herds of OPRF runners force elderly folks off the sidewalks into the mud. I have seen them dart across streets mid-block, forcing drivers to slam on brakes and swerve, nearly causing crashes. What values are being instilled and what kind of adults do these children become?

As I have discussed this experience with other locals, the common refrain is something to the effect of, "Oh, yes, OPRF is notorious for bullying, domineering, entitled, selfish, conceited behavior." I had no idea this was a popular opinion, but I have to say that, based on my experience, I concur. I don't want to be one of those people who complains about the youth of today, however, when I was that age, our coaches taught us much more than how to overtake an opponent. We learned respect for self and others, self-discipline, self-control, teamwork and many other intangible skills that would empower us to be our best as individuals, members of our team and members of the larger society.

Maybe in the past OPRF was considered an excellent school, but their glory is fading and some of the reasons may not be so hard to figure out after all.

Nancy Trock
Oak Park

Reader Comments

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Soccer dad  

Posted: January 12th, 2012 9:51 PM

Dan from OP, your wrong. Bottom line, stay off the track after school during practices and gaames.

Al from Oak Park  

Posted: May 3rd, 2011 12:23 PM

Ms. Trock, you sound like one of those drivers who rear ends a car in front of them then tries to sue for damages. Clearly you should have never been on the track in the first place- maybe then your "well-being" would have never been an issue. This letter, along with, your prejudice and narrow-minded view of OPRF students is absurd.

OPRF Alum  

Posted: May 1st, 2011 9:08 PM

The track is closed during practices and games which is clearly stated at the entrance of the track. If you choose to walk or run on the track during these times you will be using the track at your own risk.

Brad from Oak Park  

Posted: May 1st, 2011 3:40 PM

Maybe you should run faster. What a dumb letter.

tjk from oak park  

Posted: April 29th, 2011 1:16 PM

Why is this letter even printed? The track is for the school teams, first and foremost. If you're running during one of their practices (and apparently impeding their progress), that's your problem. As many here have said, it's nice that they open the track ot the public for non-practice times. Many schools don't allow the community to use their athletic facilities. It doesn't belong to you. Get over it. What's next, you'll want to public skate at Ridgeland during an OPRF game?

Paula Beck from Oak Park  

Posted: April 25th, 2011 11:21 AM

For the safety of citizens and teams the fields are closed when HS teams are at practice, have games or conduct camps. This has always been true. I have watched game and practices for over 10 years. I have watched adults & kids refuse to comply when told by coaches to go. I too have shouted from bleachers and been ignored. Not only do the kids run the track they are hurling dangerous balls during field hockey. Do people not know how to read the signs at gates? OR do they choose to ignore.

Fed Up from River Forest  

Posted: April 23rd, 2011 5:02 PM

I am fed up people who use the track in violation of clearly posted rules, with drivers who fail to yield to pedestrians in crosswalks crossing with the light, with pedestrians who cross against the light when the motorists have the right of way, with drivers who fail to completely stop for stop signs or before turning right on red, with cyclists who fail to fully stop, or even slow down, for stop signs and red lights and before turning right on red or who ride the wrong way on one-way streets.

Long-time OP Resident  

Posted: April 23rd, 2011 12:17 AM

I doubt very much that many in our village would characterize OPRF students the way this letter-writer did. I don't believe our local high school is known for such things as she says. She should not have been on the track. I, too, have witnessed many times events going on the track and villagers feeling like they should be there too. It's the high school's track and the students come first. Ms. Trock, you owe the students and the school an apology. Violet, you do too with your rude comment.

Judson Roberts  

Posted: April 22nd, 2011 9:57 PM

Questions: Why was this lady on the track while school athletes were practicing? Why did she curse at the young athlete who stopped to help her? Why did she refuse to get assistance from the coaching staff and trainers? And why did the Wednesday Journal dignify this letter by printing it? Answer she had a self entitlement attitude. This paper, flashback, Dec 6, 2006, blindly published a letter that was hateful and wrong. Mr. Publisher, again?? The parents are waiting for the apology.

Seen It Before  

Posted: April 22nd, 2011 2:04 PM

Like Michael Nevins, I have also observed women like Ms. Trock selfishly trepassing on the track when it was in use for other events. It you ask me, Ms. Trock is the one engaging in "entitled, selfish, conceited behavior". Ms. Trock you are the one who exhibits "not a bit of concern" about the young men and women your selfish and irresponsible behavior impedes and endangers. I hope this letter results in a stricter enforcement of the closed track policy.

Patricia O'Shea  

Posted: April 22nd, 2011 11:17 AM

Violet. I think your comment is pretty nasty. I also think that well educated students, used to engaging in conversation on the internet, are well able to write their own retorts without their Mothers. Give them - and their mothers - some credit. (For the record I've decided not to judge who is right or wrong on this specific issue...sounds like everyone involved could have been nicer - thinking of someone other than themselves.)

not an OPRF parent or student, just an OP resident  

Posted: April 21st, 2011 5:36 PM

It sounds like behavior that ruins things for everyone else. Based on the description in the letter, Ms. Trock was endangering her own safety by staying on the track when it was reserved for the school team and in use. Would she rather they fence/lock the field so community members can't share the facility at all?

Michael Nevins from Oak Park  

Posted: April 21st, 2011 4:11 PM

I've had a lot of experience with people on the OPRF/Lake St field. My daughter, now a junior, has played both field hockey and soccer there and what I've observed (and attempted to correct) during her games has been both ridiculous AND dangerous to the "joggers/walkers" who insist on circling the track at these times. During games, they'd run/walk thru the team bench area, between the coaches and the field. I'm sure, too, that if struck by the soccer/LAX/FH ball that they'd sue, too.

Violet Aura  

Posted: April 21st, 2011 3:47 PM

Wow! What an articulate bunch of female runners! (LOL- methinks their helicopter mommies may have penned these posts...)

J.oak park  

Posted: April 21st, 2011 2:18 PM

there are signs up all around the lake street field that clearly state that the facility is closed to the public when in use for a practice, event or a game. I suppose we could keep the name calling up and have the school close the facility to all, which to my viewing don't do now, at all times. I also suppose one should not complain if you are in the wrong first...that and they should not try to pass themselves off as a saint when they curse at children.


Posted: April 21st, 2011 2:06 PM

The "spoiled brat" is the Letter Writer, who refused to leave the field when she was supposed to, refused to move to the side of the track when she saw a group of runners approaching her, cursed them out for her own failure to abide by the rules, and is now asking the rest of the community to share in her delusion that she is the victim.

Mr. Borderman from Oak Park  

Posted: April 21st, 2011 1:52 PM

"you could not have picked a sweeter, smarter, more hard-working group to unfairly insult." Sweet, smart people don't knock down other people. This is just one example of spoiled brat Oak Park youth harassing anybody who isn't one of them.

Former OPRF runner  

Posted: April 21st, 2011 12:16 AM

I am a recent graduate of OPRF and a former captain of the cross-country and track teams. I have had the pleasure of running alongside many of the current OPRF runners who you are defaming and your bitter assessment could not be further from the truth. It disgusts me how quickly you jump to judge and maliciously attack a group of 14- to 18- year old girls who you have never even met, especially because you could not have picked a sweeter, smarter, more hard-working group to unfairly insult.

Another Student Athelete from OP  

Posted: April 20th, 2011 11:40 PM

Not only did you not move to the side, you CURSED profoundly at them afterwards. 1 of the girls approached the coach afterwards because of the things that you said. Also, there is a contract that all student atheletes must sign that states that they must be upstanding members of the community. There is no reason to slander the whole OPRF sports program because of an incident that was your fault. We are not rude as a default, & it is rude of you to imply that we are are always rude as a whole.

Another Student Athelete from OP  

Posted: April 20th, 2011 11:33 PM

I just would like to point a few things out. First, the track was closed. That right there is the main issue. There was an apology from the team as they ran, but miss, it was obvious that they were using the track. First off, I am on the team and we discussed it today, and you weren't on one side, you were smack in the middle. It's impossible not to hear them coming because they have CLEATS on which make a tromping noise. You could have moved to the side out of common courtesy.

student athlete  

Posted: April 20th, 2011 9:30 PM

I was one of those runners. This woman was making an attempt to push through our group as we were running around the track. I bumped into her accidentally and apologized, as many of us did, however, we were doing a timed run so it would be hard to stop. When we apologized she said "Yeah right!" and called us idiots. It was a complete accident and I am surprised that she took the time to write this angry article.


Posted: April 20th, 2011 6:07 PM

I enjoy the Letter Writer's rhetorical strategy. First she details an event where she was clearly at fault. Then she links this event to other events through heresy. Finally she concludes that the world is going to hell. All to hide her culpability. The Letter Writer is damn lucky she wasn't thrown in jail for trespassing. I had thought that OPRF had started to crackdown on this type of danger to their students. If I was the coach I would have called the cops and had her removed.

Violet Aura  

Posted: April 20th, 2011 5:18 PM

I will extend the broadbrush to MANY joggers. What is it--Type A personalities, zealous concern for the body--but these people have virtually taken over the sidestreets (in RF, at least)! I cannot fathom why they feel the need to jog on the wrong side of the a cyclist, where the hell do they suggest I go--in the middle of the street and let them have the curb? They can jog on the sidewalk! And the latest is three of them ABREAST on a narrow sidestreet!

Kathryn from OP from OAK PARK  

Posted: April 20th, 2011 5:04 PM

What a mean spirited piece this was to read today. Granted, the girls should have apologized and certainly helped Ms. Trock back up as she was meandering down the track during their practice time. But to attack all OPRF kids and call the whole lot bullies, and entitled is really showing a lack of any kind of respect. I know many many lovely OPRF kids that are far kinder than Ms. Trock appears to be. And who is the entitled one? Stay of the track when you are not supposed to be there!


Posted: April 20th, 2011 10:41 AM

Hey Tom, can you do anything about the boys team and their training on the streets (I should say sidewalks)of OP? It's kind of scarry when you have a group of 15 guys running ON THE SIDEWALK rushing you. I have been shoved off the sidewalk multiple times. Unfortunatly my building is on the normal rout for the team.

Tom Tarrant from Oak Park  

Posted: April 20th, 2011 10:13 AM

My name is Tom Tarrant and I am the Head Girls Track Coach. Many teams use the track and normally we run at Concordia. On the odd chance that these were my athletes or one of my coaches I want to and need to know. This is my first year as Head coach and I have stressed hard work and respect in the classroom, community, home, and the track. Please contact me with the date and time this happened. If it was my team I can assure the situation will be rectified. Tom Tarrant 434-3623

JP from Oak Park  

Posted: April 20th, 2011 7:46 AM

Nancy, clearly the kids and the coach handled this poorly. The kids should have apologized and the coach should have asked you to leave the facilities before they started practice so this could not have happened.That said, imagine writing a LTE to complain about getting knocked down if you had been playing catch in the middle of the football field while football practice was going on. This is essentially what you are doing if you trespass and decide to run down the track during track practice.

dan from op  

Posted: April 20th, 2011 6:56 AM

Not a good situation....You would think one of the girls would have helped you up to make sure you were ok, however it is so common in OP for the residents to think that they are entitled to use the track during training hours for their personal use even though it clearly states that the track is closed to the public during practice and competition. That also sends the message that because I live here and pay taxes, I am not bound by the rules set forth by the administration. Both at fault here

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