Coach Rewards 14-Year-Old Gymnast With Rum

I’m all for positive reinforcement, but this is taking it a bit too far: NEWSDAY reports that a gymnastics coach in Port Jefferson Station, NY, has been fired and arrested after allegedly rewarding one of his students for nailing a difficult maneuver. Which sounds like a good idea, until you release that the “reward” was a bottle of rum, and the student was a 14-year-old girl.

Drunk baby

(OK, it wasn’t this bad. But seriously?…)

While I understand that encouraging an athlete by giving them booze might work if the athlete in question is, say, Vin Baker or Eddie Griffin, it’s probably not such a great idea if we’re talking about a teenage girl. Which is why Steven Lamensdorf has been arrested and charged with unlawfully dealing with a child and endangering the welfare of a child, both misdemeanors.

As you can imagine, the gymnast in question is hardly an Amazon or a heavy drinker, so giving her a bottle of rum and letting her go to town is a pretty dangerous situation. The unnamed athlete had to be treated at a local hospital for alcohol poisoning after police said she drank “quite a bit of it” and that her “blood alcohol level was quite high.”

I have no idea why the coach thought this was a good idea, or how he thought this was going to end. The whole thing sounds like a plot line from “Eastbound & Down“that was rejected because not even Kenny Powers would be that stupid.

Although, to be fair, I probably would have worked my butt off if Lamensdorf was my coach in high school baseball. In fact, if there’s a free bottle of rum at the end of the rainbow, my softball team sure could use some coaching.