AS A SPORTS PARENT….OR AS A COACH….WHAT WOULD YOU DO IF….
You’re an adult attending a HS basketball game between two rival high schools, The game is close….the stands are packed…a lot is riding on the outcome of the game.
You notice that a group of students begin to start to shout and make less than flattering comments about the visiting team, and also about the ref’s. Their comments get even worse after a close and debatable call is made.
And then, in the second half, as some of the visiting players are fouled and go to the free throw line, just as each player begins to focus on their free throw, those same rowdy HS kids become extremely loud and obnoxious and try to distract the opposing player.
As an adult spectator, would you step up and say something to these obnoxious kids, and tell them to exhibit some better behavior?
Or do you just sit back and assume that this kind of behavior is normal and accepted these days? Or assume that either a security guard or the athletic director will come by and tell the kids to behave?
In other words, what would you do if you found yourself in this kind of situation?
When I asked this hypothetical question to the audience at the Yogi Berra Museum a few weeks ago, their response was divided. Some said they would bring this rowdy behavior to the attention to the authorities in the hope that appropriate actions would be taken. of the AD.
Others, however, said that this is just part of our American sports culture these days, and not only are the students in the stands – and their parents — accepting of it…but somewhat surprising (at least to me) so are the players on the court.
What do you think?
The majority of my callers on my radio show said that either they had stood up and chastised the obnoxious kids….but that the key to getting the kids to behave was to reprimand them politely and with respect, and most importantly, with a sense of authority. Each caller said that when those key components were part of the equation, the kids would back down right away.
One caller did suggest that no, there’s no need to make the kids behave. After all, he wanted his young kids to learn how to deal with obnoxious crowds as they got older. But that was the one caller who had a dissenting opinion. Everybody else made it clear that kids today need to conform to social convention, and if they get out of control, then either the refs can stop the game and demand the kids be ushered out, or that the AD or security can make sure the kids leave.
In other words, the kids have to be held accountable for their outlandish actions.
THE NEXT HYPOTHETICAL
You’re the head coach, and your HS team is playing a cross-town rival in basketball and your team really needs a win. Problem is, you’re playing one of the league’s leading teams so you know it’s going to be an uphill battle.
The opposing team – which has a first-year coach who may not know the rule book — comes out for the opening tip wearing some really sharp, very stylish uniforms. They’re wearing them for the very first time. And these uni’s are totally different from the traditional or standard look with the HS name or mascot name on the front, with numbers on front and back.
But as the head coach, you actually know the league rule book cold. And you know that these new uniforms worn by the other team simply do not conform with the league’s very strict regulations on team uni’s.
Under league rules, you also know you are entitled to a forfeit because the other team probably didn’t clear their new uniforms with league officials. And today, the opposing team didn’t bring any other uniforms they could change into.
As the head coach who knows the rules, what do you do? Just overlook the mistake and play the game?
Put the game under protest with the refs, but still play?
Or bring out the rule book, show where your team is entitled to a forfeit and claim it, without playing the game? Remember, your team really needs this win.
The people who responded today said they would definitely put the game under protest with the refs….but then play the game. It wouldn’t be fair to either team just to call for a forfeit just because of a technicality with the rule book. That being said, if the protest is upheld a week later, and the league decided to award a forfeit, then that’s on the first year coach (and his AD) who either didn’t know the rule or didn’t care.
Either way, they are to be held accountable. If you’re going to coach a HS team, make sure you take the time to read the book in full.
YOU READY FOR THE NEXT ONE? TURNING TO BASEBALL
You’re the head coach, and your star pitchers is in the middle of a tie game. It’s late in the game, and there’s a close play at home….as an opposing runner tries to score from third with the go-ahead run, your pitcher is covering the plate, receives a throw from the catcher, and the pitcher attempts to tag the runner.
It’s a very, very close play..and the umpire, who is right on top of it, signals the runner out!
The other team goes nuts…and as the opposing coach argues loudly with the umpire, your pitcher – who is now off to the side – quietly tells you that the runner was actually safe…that he swiped at the runner with his glove but he missed the tag.
As the head coach…what do you do..or say…if anything?
The listeners this AM felt universally that even if the ump missed the call, and even if the pitcher says he missed the tag, it’s not upon the coach to “confess” to the umpire. Such a move would be viewed as disrespectful by the umpiring crew. Remember, there’s no replay in HS sports, and whatever the umpire, or ref, or official rules, well, that’s the call – for better or worse.
Long-time good HS coaches warn their players that each game will be full of good calls and not so good calls. But in the end, the players accept the call on the field and move on. There’s no need to “reveal” to the ump what happened.
Can you discuss later on? Sure. But during the game, the call stands.
I’ll come back to this subject in later columns. In the meantime, as a sports parent, feel free to try out these situations on your athletes and see how they react.