Here’s another debatable point about unintended consequences, also related to putting Sabers athletes in danger of physical injury by allowing them to compete while they are not physically prepared to do so. This argument is about the reduction of practice time for varsity athletes.
In August 2021, at the start of the 2021-22 Sabers athletic year, an administrative decision was made to reduce the number of weekly practices for Sabers high school teams from 3 (Monday, Wednesday, Friday) to 2 (Monday, Friday). The reason for this reduction is that faculty meetings are held every Wednesday and all faculty members must attend, meaning that coaches are not available to coach on Wednesdays because they are attending meetings. (Before, coaches were allowed to miss faculty meetings.)
Students are required to go home at 4:30 on Wednesdays.
I disagree with this decision. Had I been given the chance, as the athletic director and a Sabers coach, I would have argued that it could be easily arranged so that coaches attend 90% of all faculty meetings. I would have pointed out that because the Sabers often play games on Fridays they don’t practice on Fridays; therefore, practices are often effectively cut to only once a week. I might argue that there aren’t always meetings for all teachers on Wednesdays. I’m tempted to cheekily point out that dozens of students play on the field after school on Wednesdays unsupervised and long past 4:30.
But my main argument is this: A reduction in weekly practices puts our Sabers athletes in a physically dangerous situation. Fewer practices will lead to more physical injuries. This is obvious and predictable. Anecdotally, it has happened many times before. If we know - or strongly suspect, or at least recognize the possibility - that reduced practice time will lead to a greater chance of injury, how can we in good conscience continue with this change?
One or two practices a week do not provide enough time to practice skills, to practice strategy, and to conduct physical conditioning (active warmups, cardiovascular conditioning, cool-down stretching). I predict that physical conditioning gets dropped and that Sabers athletes will get hurt in games.
So, another unintended consequence: To create more after-school meeting time for SOIS teachers, we reduce practice time for Sabers athletes and, unintentionally, increase the chance of injury. But this is a predictable consequence, one that we can intentionally avoid. Why don’t we?