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This Coach Didn't Deserve a Lawsuit

June 22, 2003

Re "Coaches' Lineup Could Include a Lawyer," May 5:

As the father of a varsity baseball player at Corona del Mar High School for the past two years, I can tell you firsthand that Coach John Emme is far more than a baseball coach, a fact apparently lost on the disgruntled parent who filed suit against him because he thought his son was so gifted he deserved some sort of special consideration above and beyond that given any other player.

For the record, Emme has gone above and beyond the call of most coaches I have been affiliated with for the past 13 years in youth baseball.

I speak from experience, having served two terms as a Little League president during which I witnessed all that is bad in the human condition.

Our son and all of the players on Emme's teams get more than a coach with a winning tradition and attitude. They also get respect, a fair chance to earn a place in the lineup, a mentor, an academic advisor (yes, he's also an English teacher at the school), a role model who preaches honesty and truthfulness, a motivator, a disciplinarian and, at times, even a surrogate father for those players who don't have a father's regular presence because of divorce, death, drug addiction, alcoholism, imprisonment or other sad circumstances that even the school's privileged caste is not immune from.

My son is a better person today for having had the experience of playing for Emme. I am a better father today for allowing my son to develop his character, his team sensibilities, as well as his baseball skills, under the direction of this fine coach. This father has embarrassed himself and his son by pressing such a ludicrous and, in the end, futile lawsuit against a man whose reputation is and remains fully intact. After all, in the end, all we have left to us are our good names and reputations. Emme will never lose those.

Keith Karpe

Newport Coast

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