To the Editor:
Can someone tell me what on earth is going on with the Marlins?
The Marlins swim team used to have such a respectable and wholesome presence on this Island, and seemed like the one program that was well-run and that managed to function without the “Roosevelt Island dramatics” that plague every other organization on the Island.
It was probably inevitable that it is now spiraling into a chaotic mess of lawsuits, bizarre email rants from coaches, a culture of bullying, rumors of illegal Board decisions, and kids and families getting publicly kicked out of the club for unknown reasons.
Perhaps most bizarrely, the board of directors and head coach have made the appalling decision to invite Frank Farance – someone with no discernable qualifications beyond his own sense of self importance – to run their investigations! This is a man who, in just the past few months, has been banned from the Youth Center, was removed as an instructor of a girl scouts group due to parent concerns regarding his online trolling habits, was banned from the Roosevelt Island Parents Network because of a history of sharing the private and personal information of Islanders – including children – on very public online forums, and, not long ago, was the recipient of discipliary action from the Community Emergency Response Team for being a nuisance. Yet the Marlins board and head coach have invited him on the pool deck with his camera – presumably to take photographs of children in their bathing suits!
I’m struggling to even comprehend the unbelievably poor judgement the board and head coach demonstrate by allowing and encouraging this! Heaven only knows what private documentation and financial records they have shared with him to aid in his “investigation” – information that not even members have access to! But I’m sure we will get to read all about it on the blogs.
Parents spend swim practices whispering amongst themselves trying to find out what on earth is happening, but are terrified to say anything too loudly because we’ve all seen occasions or heard the stories of swimmers being ignored, punished, intimidated, or prevented from participating because their parents have spoken up. This type of behavior has no place in a club whose mission is to teach, nurture, and build children’s skills, strength and health.
How do we get our lovely swim program back to when it had pride and community spirit? When parents knew they could trust that the safety and well-being of their children would be the number one priority, not nurturing the coach’s over-inflated ego? When the team was large and robust and focused on process and personal achievements, instead of just medals? When team members were active participants in local community activities, and the swim program collaborated and partnered with other Island organizations? When learn-to-swim coaches enjoyed coming to teach our kids and weren’t openly looking for other work due to the hostile and unstable environment led by a group of self-important, inept people? Where parents were welcome to share concerns or problems without fear of their child being punished, ignored, or prevented from participating? A club where there is a code of conduct – not just for parents and athletes – but also one for coaches and officials too!