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The mess of transfers

Call it the "Summer Shuffle" or the "Transfer Two-Step."

In June and July, typically the most uneventful time for high school athletics in the old days, teenagers bounce from school to school in search of greener pastures. Summer has become a time for transfers, with parents all over the state, particularly in metro Atlanta, looking for a home in a different district so their kid can play for another school. At times athletic rosters shuffle like a deck of cards.

Some of moves are legitimate. Maybe dad got a new job and wanted a bigger house. Maybe Johnny needed a more challenging place for his school work. That's going to happen.

But a disturbing number of transfers are entirely different. Johnny wants to win a state championship. Johnny doesn't want another losing season. Johnny doesn't like the coach. The college coaches won't see Johnny at this school (Side note: If Johnny's that good, the college coaches will find him at any high school).

So to make Johnny happy, parents uproot their lives and move into another district, or at least find an address in another district they can turn in as their own on paper work.

What happened to loyalty? What happened to pride in your school? If you've fought three years for one school, why leave it as a senior just to win a few games?

The best lessons are taught in times of adversity, which is one reason this transferring to win games and titles mentality is so ridiculous. In life, times get tough. By moving just to win, parents are teaching kids to give up on their current team.

Instead of working extra hard to win at their current schools, groups of kids bail out for instant gratification at powerful schools, the lure of winning a state title or a handful of games is what they're after. Do these kids not feel a bond with their teammates, a connection to stay and fight it out with their friends?

I graduated from high school in 1992 and if I had wanted my parents to move to another house for a wins-and-losses issue they would have laughed at me. And I would have deserved it.

This trend is even harder to swallow for old-timers, folks who grew up in one area all their life and went to school with the same people every year. Their loyalty to one town, one school was ingrained in them.

In a transient society like metro Atlanta, that dedication to your school is tougher to find.

And that's a "Summer Shame."

Will Hammock can be reached via e-mail at will.hammock@gwinnettdailypost.com . His column appears on Thursdays.