Dear Annie: Last night, my daughter’s high school held tryouts for cheerleading.
Many girls and their parents were shocked by the actions of the cheer coach, who advanced her own sophomore daughter and six of her daughter’s friends to the varsity level, thereby cutting experienced juniors and seniors. This screams of nepotism. The coach refused to show the score sheets to justify her decisions. These same girls got together with the coach over the summer to practise, and they were grouped together for the tryouts, which gave them a tremendous advantage.
I am livid and want this coach fired. Should we ask for tryouts to be held again? The problem is, some girls who made the junior varsity squad do not really have the skills, but there were seven spots that needed to be filled due to the mass exodus of those sophomores who were moved to the varsity squad. I don’t know how to make this fair. Any suggestions? — Sad in Maryland
Dear Maryland: If the coach has total control over who makes the squad, there may not be much you can do. However, we suggest you and some of the other angry parents approach the principal and register your complaint as a group. We hope the principal cares enough about the school’s reputation to see that tryouts are fair and, if necessary, to put safeguards in place to avoid accusations of favouritism. Whether or not that means the sophomores are back on the junior varsity squad is not your call.
Dear Annie: My older sister was 10 years old when I was born. She resented me from the beginning, and I cannot remember her ever speaking a kind word. When she moved out of the house, all communication was through Mom. That is how she kept up with my life. I was never considered part of her family. She made it clear she was too good for me. Whenever I made an effort to see her, she wouldn’t speak to me. She would only watch TV while I sat there.
Now I have been informed by one of her daughters that she has a few months to live, and that I should hurry to her town if I want to see her before she dies. I am no youngster myself. I have no desire to see her, and besides, I’m getting too old to drive. My question is: Should I feel guilty? — Too Late To Care
Dear Too Late: It doesn’t sound as if you have much to feel guilty about. You are not obligated to make this trip, particularly if it is too difficult for you. However, if you wish to maintain a relationship with your nieces, it might mean a great deal to them that you made the effort to say goodbye. Either way, it wouldn’t hurt to phone.
Dear Annie: I read the letter from “The Girlfriend,” who resented her live-in boyfriend’s 14-year-old bratty daughter. She said the girl is a “guest” in her home. I thought that was terribly sad. It is hard enough to be a 14-year-old girl, with the angst and hormones and everything that goes along with puberty. But this child has seen her parents divorce and her home torn apart, and every other weekend, she has to visit her father in this woman’s home where she is not wanted.
“The Girlfriend” has no compassion. She expects gratitude from the child, yet states she wants her boyfriend to entertain his daughter on his own for a day and then return her to the mother without letting her stay overnight. I am sure the girl would like to have a home where she is welcomed. Most 14-year-olds haven’t learned all the social graces. That boyfriend ought to get his own place and make a home where his daughter can visit him in peace, and where he can be a father to a girl who is already hurting.
“The Girlfriend” needs a boyfriend without children so she can have him all to herself. She doesn’t know how to be a mother. — M.J.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 5777 W. Century Blvd., Ste. 700, Los Angeles, CA 90045.