Your Kid’s Not Going Pro

A Youth Sports Blog

Purple haze (crotch in my face)

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Do you ever wonder why it seems so difficult to get rid of hazing in youth sports? Do you wonder why it seems acceptable to some people that athletes be put through degradation to “earn” the respect of their teammates?

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Adult reaction to hazing might provide a clue. Such as some of the comments on the site of the Berthoud (Colo.) Recorder (your hometown paper for 28 years!) below a story on a high school wrestler charged with four counts of third-degree assault for hazing incidents that were alleged to have occurred in November and December.

Brandyn Wahlert, an 18-year-old senior, a state finalist last year, wasn’t the only wrestler suspended from Berthoud High for the alleged hazing. But he’s the only one who was of age to charge as an adult — and the only one back on the wrestling team with the kids he was alleged to have victimized. Did I mention he was a state finalist last year?

To be fair to Wahlert, no one has said what exactly he did. But the issue is less about him and more about attitudes toward hazing. Bias note: I find hazing to be a stupid, pointless ritual that only allows some people to get their rocks off by abusing other people in the name of “togetherness.” (The available empirical evidence appears to back me up.) I also never joined a fraternity.

My feeling is not shared. Back to the comments under the Berthoud Recorder story on Wahlert being charged. I am leaving out the ones who dislike hazing, which are plentiful. I don’t know that most of the community finds hazing to be just ducky. What I want to reflect are the adults out there who find hazing to be just another part of growing up. As long as they are around, hazing will be, too. After all, Wahlert is hardly alone. A week after he was charged, five wrestlers from Thomas Stone High in Maryland were facing misdemeanor charges in their own hazing incident.

All punctuation and spelling errors are theirs.

I,m a parent of a wrestler at Berthoud and know Brandyn personally he,s a great kid that was messing around as others on the team have done similar things but he,s the only one charged. I feel terrible this has happened. I,m sure he has learned from this and we hope he knows we care about him, good luck Brandyn. Brandyn has taught my son and others more about wrestling then some of the coaches. Everyone has made mistakes. Just remember when you were a kid. Everyone deserves a second chance don,t judge him because if you met him and been around him for years you know he,s a great good who made a mistake. …

It is so unfortunate that the media does not explain the truth about what really happened. It has been sensationalized and all the facts have not been explained. It seems that the law enforcement agencies have decided to make an unwarranted example of Mr. Wahlert at the expense of the truth. He has been singled out and I feel, discriminated against. Have the DA and the police officer forgotten what it was like to be a kid, since they are the only one’s pressing charges. None of the Wrestler’s or their parents are. In fact, they are supporting Brandyn. It seems to me that a whole bunch of time, money and energy could and should be directed towards much more important issues. Shame on You!!!! …

The Berthoud Police Dept and the media should be ashamed of themselves for letting this go as far as it has. Brandyn is a good kid and dosen’t deserve this. He was suspended for 10 days and now the police dept in their infinite wisdom is charging him. Two kids at the same high school Brandyn goes to got in a fight and one of the kids knocked the others teeth loose. The kids involved in the fight got one day in school suspension and the police were not called. Sounds kinda like they are singling him out. Hey Berthoud PD. Why don’t you focus your time and resources on something worth while. At least a little more than harrassing a high school kid. …




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  1. […] The judge’s sentence of community service, mental health evaluations and letters of apology seems laughably small given the crime, but no prosecutor is going to try a hazing case as rape. The community outcry is already great just for holding athletes just a little bit accountable. When a star wrestler in Colorado last year was indicted on hazing-related charges, most of the comments to the local newspaper about the case were in support of the wrestler. […]

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