Coach is ‘snake-bitten’

After their baseball coach said the team was “snake-bitten,” the Palm Harbor University High players took action, reports the St. Petersburg Times:

They decided to ward off the losing streak with the purchase, killing and burial of a snake in the team’s field last week during spring break, according to second baseman Zach Sobel.

. . . Sobel, a senior, said the players fed the snake a rat to make it more docile, killed the snake with a shovel and buried it on the pitcher’s mound, and that (coach Jeremy) Albrecht was not present.

However, the coach has been suspended pending an investigation of the incident.

Education Gadfly is happy the coach didn’t call his overly literal players “kittens.” And what if he’d called them “crybabies.”

About Joanne


  1. Is there any idiocy in which school administrators will not participate?

  2. Very strange.

    1) The article doesn’t indicate any reason for thinking that the action by the students was illegal either for them or the school. I would assume some kind of “cruelty to animals” statute is implicated, although people kill snakes all the time.

    2) The article doesn’t indicate any reason at all why the coach would be suspended.

    3) Personally, I think the symbology involved is brilliant on the students’ part. While it is clearly a case of magical thinking, it stands a chance of working psychologically to break the students’ losing streak, assuming that the losing streak has a psychological component rather than a total-lack-of-talent basis.

    We’re snake-bit. Kill the snake. Good, now let’s win!

    4) On the other hand, all this action by the Sherriff’s department and school officials will have disrupted any benefit the students might have gained by their “ritual”.

  3. congrats to the coach to expanding their vocabulary: only relevant to removal of coach if the coach was involved in the incident.

    resolution was unexpectedly tied to Joanne next article

    “James Felce, a teacher at the school, has taken over as interim coach, Lopez said. Felce coached the team in the late 1990s. He resigned as PHU’s coach in 1998 due to a hazing incident.”

  4. anonymous says:

    That’ll teach those idiot teachers to expose their students to any idioms, colloquialisms, figures of speech, metaphors, similes, allusions, or any language harder to parse than “Hit ball. Run bases. Win game.”

    An innocent snake was killed by some kids involved in a little (as someone pointed out) magical thinking. Can’t just sit ’em all down and say “let’s not do this again.” Gotta get rid of one of those awful teachers we all hear tell about – it’s obvious he’s a terrible role model, horrible example to students, and probably favors paddling too.


  5. just think: the coach might have called the team “star-crossed” … and thereby doomed the entire cast of American Idol

  6. mike curtis says:

    On the other hand, the coach may be thankful that he was relieved from the task of trying to build an aggressive team of competitors out of a population of ambrosia sipping sissies.

  7. My guess is that this is the most informative part of the article:

    “Sobel said some parents, unhappy that their sons either did not make the team or did not start, insisted on the investigation.

    “There’s been a lot of turmoil with some parents this year,” Sobel said. ”

    A coach guilty of actually directing the team to do such a thing would be in need of some kind of sanction, no doubt.

    But I think the suspension of the coach during the investigation shows a weakness on the part of the administration, and if there’s any truth to Sobel’s observation above, this suspension has pretty much sealed the coach’s fate. Who runs this program? I think the investigation and suspension make the answer clear. Would you come back to coach the team after this, particularly if all you did to contribute to the event was use the expression “snake bitten”?