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WinterWillie Sat Feb 14, 2004 05:54pm

I tried to post the URL without success. So here it is for your perusal.


Local Sports


Poor fan behavior no laughing matter

Saturday, February 14, 2004

Just what we needed, another story of parental violence at a high school sporting event.

In western Pennsylvania, a parent came out of the stands, picked up a basketball official and body-slammed him to the court. The official was knocked unconscious and suffered a severe concussion.

The incident took place in a game between heated rivals, Deer Lakes and Hampton high schools. Because of a brawl between the schools last season, it was agreed that only parents, grandparents and school officials would attend the game. It was played at 4 p.m. with no more than 60 people in the gym. The teams played earlier this season without incident. Unfortunately game two turned ugly, and in the third quarter a fist fight broke out on court.

One mother, who was shouting obscenities at the official throughout the game, was in the process of being physically escorted from the building. About this same time, her son, a 6-3 junior forward, used his fists on another player. That's when his dad came out of the stands, picked up a veteran official of 24 years and slammed him to the court.

When asked what precipitated the incident, the woman said it all started because the official had made bad calls.

Pennsylvania high school officials have suggested moving the schools into different conferences next season. That treats the symptom. It does nothing for the disease.

I'll be danged if I have an idea either. One thing we cannot do, however, is sit back and be thankful that stuff like this doesn't happen around here. It already has, it does, and it will.

The Naugatuck Valley League posted code of conduct signs in gymnasiums of member schools about eight years ago, but that hasn't stopped kooks from acting like

kooks. It never will.

Fans have tried to walk onto a basketball court to challenge officials. We had a soccer player put his hands on an official during a game. I have seen a parent challenge a coach to a fist fight in a parking lot. I have seen a parent watch his child play a game through a chain link fence because he had been banned from going anywhere near the team or the coach. I have seen a parent hop a barrier when his daughter was taken out of a game to try and get at a coach.

At least three area coaches have received threats serious enough to warrant investigation. Who knows how many more have been ignored. We had a punch aimed by one youth coach toward another, and we even had a coach who assaulted a student.

Fist fights happen between kids during a heated game, but it is the action of the "nutso parents" in the stands — to borrow a phrase from the Pennsylvania ref with the bump on his head — that frighten us. Area schools conduct leadership and sportsmanship seminars for student athletes, but you can't do much to reign in the aggressive behavior of a parent who lives vicariously through a child's athletic exploits.

Two things need to be done. First, it is up to schools to control abusive coaches on the sidelines. They rant and rave and scream at officials. It is not harmless. It is not funny. It is not about getting the next call. They serve as a signal to both players and fans that it is OK for them to do the same. It should not be tolerated for even a moment.

The second is up to us moms and dads. Go to the games and shut up. Sorry, that was rude, but I stand by the sentiment. I know of what I speak. I used to be a yeller. I yelled at an official once at a youth basketball game. It was a high school kid. He was just earning some pocket money by refereeing a half-court game for a bunch of 11 and 12 year-olds. He made a bad call. I yelled. He turned and looked at me. His face had a terribly hurt expression. I felt like the biggest jerk on the planet.

Though some things never change, you might think, at least I stopped yelling like a fool. At least I tried to let my kid have some fun without pressure from a "nutso parent" in the stands. I relaxed and actually had some fun myself.

Take it from a reformed jerk, please shut up and keep the nuts either in trees or distant gymnasiums.

Joe Palladino is a Republican-American staff writer. He can be e-mailed at [email protected]


Brad Sat Feb 14, 2004 11:25pm

They need to start ejecting some of the idiots from gyms and this won't happen. If you allow fans to sit there and yell excessively and curse at the officials, what is the next logical step?!? Start ejecting the worst fans from the games and that will send the correct message and be a good attempt and preventing these sorts of events!

rcwilco Sun Feb 15, 2004 02:04am

I can't remember if I posted this before or not.....A few weeks ago I was doing a girls JV game which followed a boys JV game. My partner was also doing the boys game. He evidently got yelled at quite a bit by the fans and coaches.
He was a little shaken by it. As I got ready to take us out to the floor, the game administrator said that there were some angry parents waiting for us. I told him that "We would not see nor hear them RIGHT?!" He said yes, came back a few minutes later and escorted us to the floor. Never saw nor heard any parents. In the first half there is a parent in the stands yelling and screaming like crazy. I look up at him and it appears that he makes a universal hand gesture to me. At the half I mention this to the game administrator and just asked that they kind of keep an eye on him. I said it very casual like. When we go back on to the floor for the second half here is a policeman and two big guys with SECRUITY on their jackets, standing on the floor and just looking up at this guy. The game starts and after a few minutes they leave without ever speaking to him, they just looked at him. We do not hear even a peep out of that guy for the rest of the game. I called the assistant prinicpal the next day and expressed my appreciation for a job well done by their people.

rainmaker Sun Feb 15, 2004 02:31am

The parental attitude that feeds this insanity is that, "My kid is the next Michael Jordan, and this game is my meal ticket to a comfortable retirement." The refs are depriving these parents of their God-given rights to watch their son or daughter play professionally on national TV. The ultimate fear is that their kid is actually just like any other kid, and probably won't get a single headline in their entire lifetime. That possibility seems unbearable. The only thing worse than how they treat the refs, is how they treat the kid. It's really, really sick.

footlocker Sun Feb 15, 2004 03:46am

Sorry for the length
 
I've got to say it.

I'm disgusted with this attitude that nothing is my fault. I just watched a tape of a game I did a couple of weeks ago. Man, I made some mistakes. But our society has become this ridiculous blame game. Nothing is "my fault." Who can I blame? Refs are an easy target. If not us, then probably the coaches. This is also the reason so many players hate their opponents- their cheaters that stand in the way of their god given right to perform well and win the game. This message is all over TV, with commercials of lawyers explaining how they can blame your misfortune on someone else for a big pay day.

This forum is full of people that do the same thing. A very common theme here is when one official makes a post and takes a stand too prematurely and is more interested in being right and justifying their original post than fessing up and admitting when they are wrong. We need to take responsibility for mistakes. (feel free to remind me of this post when I get like this.)

The rediculous part is these parents from the begining of their child's sports careers are yelling at officials. Teaching the child that someone else is to blame and that if victory is deprived it is not because of the child it is some other excuse- the weather, the coach, opponents, bad knee, and the favorite-THE REFS. Children grow up not thinking that they should work harder, shoot a few more free throws, a few more sprints, more ball handling-. Rather they believe that troubles in life are someone else's fault.

Coaches that read this forum,

When you coach you team, are you yelling at the officials? Ever tell parents not to yell at the refs? Ever pull a kid because his mom or dad won't shut up? Do you realize that when you are yelling at an official, you are teaching the players to attribute misfortune extrinsically rather than take responsibility?

rainmaker Sun Feb 15, 2004 11:46am

Re: Sorry for the length
 
Quote:

Originally posted by footlocker
This forum is full of people that do the same thing.

The rediculous part is these parents from the begining of their child's sports careers are yelling at officials.

Coaches that read this forum, when you coach you team, are you yelling at the officials? Ever tell parents not to yell at the refs?

footlocker -- overall, I agree with your observation. Just a couple of minor points of disagreement:

I do think that refs who come onto this forum contentiously, and insist that they're always right, mostly don't last. There are a few, but for the most part folks on this board are here to learn, and I've seen almost everyone back down at one time or another -- or be proven correct, such as the Dinosaur.

The part about coaches that read this forum is well spoken in the form of questions. ANY coach that lasts here is not screaming at the refs very often at all. And most do rein in their parents.

That's the disagreement part, but it is definitely true that the best players and the best coaches don't blame others and that far too many parents and players do. My daughter's coach (who was black, as were my daughter and 90% of her teammates) would say to the team, "You have to be good enough to play through the prejudice refs."

rcwilco Sun Feb 15, 2004 12:36pm

When we lived in Denver my daughter's soccer coach brought a bag of tootsie roll pops to each game. If you got out of line as a parent he would hand you one, tell you to put it in your mouth and think about what you were saying. I always liked his example, ( and I only got given one once).

footlocker Sun Feb 15, 2004 04:16pm

Ok, breakdown.

I've also been a coach for ten years. Club level. Our club is known for teaching fundamentals and skills better than anyone around. The work is hard and we let the kids make there own decisions. Individually, our kids match up against anyone in the state, as a team our kids don't perform well until they get older.

We are a small club because not many parents can handle the philosophy. Which is, if you bring your kid to us you are not the coach, we are. I have pulled kids from games and had them go tell their parents, "if you don't stop yelling at me, I cant play." Either the parent shuts up or they take their kid to a club that will allow them to interfere with the coaching. It's simple.

As a result of our philosophy, we have some of the best parents around and I would go anywhere with our boys. Their manners and understanding of how to handle themselves is better than any group of kids I've seen.

So few players (in any sport) ever make it pro. So, we better be teaching them something they can use their whole lives. Sportsmanship, responsibility, hard work, and fun.

...getting off the soapbox now, sorry.

Mark Padgett Sun Feb 15, 2004 05:33pm

I got a call from one of the refs who works my rec league that he ejected a fourth grade boys coach for profanity. Any profanity in my rec league (below HS level) is an automatic flagrant technical.

I contacted the coach and his only defense was that he was upset that the refs let the opposing coach have three timeouts in the first half of the game. I asked him two questions. First, what was wrong with that because our rules allow the normal NF timeout protocol and second, why did he think that even if they were wrong (which they weren't) that profanity in front of young kids was acceptable behavior?

There was just silence on the other end of the phone. I informed him that, according to our league's policy, he was suspended for one game and could only get reinstated after that by writing letters of apology to the Board and to every parent from his team. Also - he was on (double secret) probation the remainder of the season (4 weeks) and even a single technical for any unsportsmanlike reason would result in not only suspension for this season but for next year, too.

He was not a happy camper, but - tough toenails.

One-Whistle Sun Feb 15, 2004 07:06pm

Amen, Sister!
 
Quote:

Originally posted by rainmaker
The parental attitude that feeds this insanity is that, "My kid is the next Michael Jordan, and this game is my meal ticket to a comfortable retirement." The refs are depriving these parents of their God-given rights to watch their son or daughter play professionally on national TV. The ultimate fear is that their kid is actually just like any other kid, and probably won't get a single headline in their entire lifetime. That possibility seems unbearable. The only thing worse than how they treat the refs, is how they treat the kid. It's really, really sick.
My thoughts exactly!

garote Mon Feb 16, 2004 10:01am

As a Parent of kids that play sports. I have one thing to do at the game, cheer for my kids.

If parents would just do that and leave the rest of the game to the coaches and officials they would have a much better time at the game. Incidentally so would the kids.

Just my 10 cents worth.

Forksref Mon Feb 16, 2004 10:16am

Three cheers for Footlocker and Mark P!!!

I was doing a freshman girls game a couple of weeks ago. It seems to me that the fathers were coaching their girls from the stands. I asked the coach of the team after the game, "How can your school afford all the extra coaches?"

My masters thesis was all about fathers' basketball background and anxiety in their daughters. My hunch was correct: The kids (HS and College female basketball players) who exhibited the highest anxiety before the game had fathers who had the lowest level of playing experience when they grew up. This is what you call an "aha" moment.

TPS2859 Mon Feb 16, 2004 10:30am

It's bad enough to have cops at schools during the day to keep the kids safe, so whats next, "cops on courts" to keep the reffs safe?

During my next pregame with the fellow reffs I can see it now, "do you have a fox 40, No but I do have a colt 45"!

PGCougar Mon Feb 16, 2004 10:56am

Everyone makes mistakes
 
I have yet to see a game that all players, coaches, and officials were perfect. Heck, I've yet to see a game where any <b><i>one</b></i> was perfect.

As a coach, I tell all my players that I've made mistakes plenty of times in the heat of the game, that they as players make mistakes all the time on the floor, and so it is unrealistic to expect the officials not to kick a call once in a while. But unless any of them played error free, I don't want to hear anything about someone else costing us the game. Any parent who comes to me telling me that a ref cost us a game will usually get my standard response - let's check out the tape, I'm sure we'll discover why we missed X lay-ups, Y Free Throws, Z turnovers, and only shot N%, and sure hope that their kid didn't contribute to any of those stats. Usually shuts everyone up...

Mark Padgett Mon Feb 16, 2004 12:37pm

Re: Everyone makes mistakes
 
Quote:

Originally posted by PGCougar
I have yet to see a game that all players, coaches, and officials were perfect. Heck, I've yet to see a game where any <b><i>one</b></i> was perfect.

I guess you've never seen me officiate. ;)


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