Archive for November 2010
And when I say whipping players, I don’t follow it with the phrase “into shape.” Marlon Dorsey, head coach of Murrah High School’s boys’ basketball team in Jackson, Miss., on Nov. 11 was suspended (for at least a month) after cellphone video surfaced of him whipping a player on the behind with a weightlifting belt. He has been accused of whipping other players as well. As a result, parents are suing the Jackson Public Schools district — which has outlawed corporal punishment since 1991.
The incriminating video.
Dorsey has admitted to whipping students, but he said in a letter that it was for their own good. A portion of the letter, as published in the Jackson Clarion Ledger:
“I took it upon myself to save these young men from the destruction of self and what society has accepted and become silent to the issues our students are facing on a daily basis,” the letter states. “I am deeply remorseful of my actions to help our students.”
The letter, addressed to parents and others, said the punishment was issued for a variety of reasons, including disrespecting teachers, stealing cell phones, leaving campus without permission, being late for class and not following the dress code.
That same article further stated that Dorsey had support from some parents for, well, whipping them into academic and athletic shape, by any means necessary.
Dorsey is a first-year coach, but he’s hardly the first coach in recent years to get in hot water over corporal punishment. Numerous Chicago schools a few years back were found to have coaches paddling or beating players, despite a ban on corporal punishment instituted in 1994. An investigation in Dallas found at least one case of corporal punishment by one of its football coaches, despite a ban there, as well.
I’ve never hit my kids, and I don’t imagine I ever will. Not because they’re such perfect angels (well, they are, of course), but because I don’t see how spanking is an effective form of punishment, although others don’t share my view that corporal punishment is effective the same way sending someone to the gulag is effective — the victim fears you, but they don’t necessarily love or respect you. A writer at the Dallas Observer reacted with repugnance to a case of a football player who was hit 21 times in the backside, but to him the problem was the degree of punishment, not the actual whacking.
But we wonder how our kids got so out of control? Where’s the respect for teachers? For authority? Where have all the hard-nosed disciplinarians like Bobby Knight and Vince Lombardi and Woody Hayes gone?
Easy. We’ve degenerated into a wussified country weakened by Downy-soft consequences, only to inexplicably react with aghast at the resulting hard times.
I don’t remember all the numerous groundings I incurred as a kid. But I vividly the recall the two times I got paddled.
By the way, to answer his question, Bob Knight and Woody Hayes were forced out of Indiana and Ohio State, respectively, after failing to control their tempers. Lombardi gets an unfair rap. While he was tough on his players, he never raised a hand to them. Meanwhile, Knight had his own controversies thanks his wielding a whip.
Israel President Shimon Peres and his counterpart with the Palestinian National Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, in separate visits to Brazil came away impressed that Jews and Arabs in that country seemed to be able to interact without checkpoints and rocks. When the president of Brazil’s Olympic Committee visited Israel recently to chat with Peres about the 2016 Rio de Janiero games, Peres’ memories of harmony got him to thinking that maybe sports would be a great way to build some Brazil-style peace in his country.
Peres proposed that Brazil host joint Israeli/Palestinian youth teams at various of the year, because sport is a great equalizer. He did not suggest a joint Olympic team, although he was pleased that Jews and Arabs are serving together on Brazil’s Olympic Committee. The Peres Peace Center which has demonstrated that sport is a means of breaking down psychological and political barriers, has sponsored such teams of youngsters in games in Israel and abroad. The President’s proposal may gain support as there are both Jews and Arabs on the Brazil Olympic Committee.
Actually, I’m not sure that Peres has to take a joint Israeli-Palestinian team all the way to Brazil to ease relations between the two sides. If joint leagues start in Israel and Palestine, there might be tension at first, but soon enough both sides will stop fighting each other as they unite around their shared interest — doing something about that fucking coach.
One of the many reasons I advocate against laws allowing guns at youth sports events is the powder-keg of emotions in the stands. And what can set it off is not necessarily anything going on in the game. A youth sports event can be a wondrous event to bring families together in harmony — or a horrible excuse for broken families to get together to settle their differences.
MIDDLETOWN, Ind. — Police say a man stabbed his wife’s ex-husband during a fight that broke out during a youth basketball game at a Central Indiana school. Henry County Sheriff Butch Baker says 34-year-old Eric Allred, Muncie, suffered a non-life-threatening stab wound to his torso and was taken to Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis.
Baker tells The [Muncie] Star Press that Allred and 27-year-old Christopher Ellis, Middletown, started arguing in the bleachers during Saturday’s game at Shenandoah Elementary School. Baker says the fight then moved into a restroom, where Ellis attacked Allred with a knife.
The [Anderson, Ind.] Herald Bulletin reports Allred is the father of a child who was playing.
Ellis was being held in the Henry County Jail on preliminary aggravated battery charges.
OK, let me rephrase that — people shouldn’t be bringing any weapons to a kids game. At least, though, a knife can do limited damage compared to a gun. And, with no guns allowed, a trigger-happy vigilante can’t decide to step in the middle of a, shall we say, dicey domestic situation.
Maybe in their spare time, Corpus Christi (Texas) Driscoll Middle School football coaches Art Rodriguez and John Delosantos shelter the homeless, wash invalids and allow people to cut in front of them on the highway with nary a middle finger to be thrown. But for this oft-seen play, I hereby declare that for practicing it and calling it, Art Rodriguez and John Delosantos, for youth sports purposes, are assholes.
I know that raining on the publicity parade that has come to these coaches and their team makes me sound like I have a sphincter tight enough to crap diamonds, but so be it. Trickery in the spirit of the rules is one thing. But Driscoll’s “Penalty Play” is an abomination and only serves to teach kids that winning by any means necessary is the most important thing. What’s worse is that Rodriguez and Delosantos are becoming atta-boy national celebrities for their not-quite-dirty play.
Driscoll’s “Penalty Play” works like this: after a penalty, the quarterback tells his center he’s marking off five more yards. The center hands him the ball (not snapping it, but also not moving any other part of his body, or else it’s a false start). The quarterback marches along, and one he walks past the defense, he sprints to the end zone. It turns out that was Driscoll’s only score in a 6-6 game.
My objection is this.
It’s one thing to have a trick play that is something resembling football. Youth football coach and expert Dave Cisar might have retrograde views toward girls and his sport, but there’s nothing wrong his retrograde embrace of the modern trickery of the ancient single-wing offense. He’s teaching football, and his players are developing football skills — as are the players trying to stop his team.
But what Driscoll pulled isn’t football. It’s crap. Technically, it all was legal, and I hope, given their lack of reaction, that the refs were clued in on the play beforehand. (I thought the ref standing in front of the coaches might have turned around to tell them not to tell their kid to march off the penalty.) The play was grown men taking advantage of kids who are still developing a football IQ. It was the football equivalent of the coaches sending their players out to sucker kids out of their Halloween candy.
So if that makes me a sourpuss, a sourpuss I am. I’m sure, off the field, they’re good people. But on the field, they sure look like assholes.
Are you an early riser on Saturday or someone who likes to relax with a little radio Sunday night? Then you can hear me on Mickey Hiter’s “Athletes Parents Show” on WLAC 1510 AM in Nashville at 5 a.m. Saturday and 9 p.m. Sunday. WLAC has a strong night signal that I can pick up on my car in Chicago. But you can listen to a stream on the site here, as well, if you happen not to be in my car.
Carly Curtis resigned this week as head girls’ volleyball coach at Coeur d’Alene (Idaho) High. On her way out the door, she made it abundantly clear to the local newspaper who was responsible for her depature: those goddamn fucking parents. (That’s my paraphrase.)
Some of you might be saying, hallelujah, I’m glad a selfless public servant is telling those parents what-for. But I’m not sure Curtis made the wisest decision. Certainly, if she ever wants to coach again at the high school level, her comments to the Coeur d’Alene Press are going to be thrown back in her face. But I also wonder if — in an age in which the youth sports world is hyperaware of pushy parents — it’s a little easy to blame them for your own troubles.
Curtis had two things happen in recent seasons that tend to cause tension — her team started losing, and her daughter was playing on the team. I don’t know that one had to do with the other (and her daughter has made all-league). But whatever was going on, Curtis defaulted to parents being unreasonable.
“I’m tired of dealing with disgruntled/jealous parents and players that are taking their frustrations out on me and my daughter,” Curtis said. “And I am trying to look for a more peaceful atmosphere for me and my daughter.” …
“I think a lot of people couldn’t handle that I was coaching my daughter,” Curtis said.
The Vikings finished 9-18 this season, after going 2-22 in 2009.
“It was a frustrating season,” Curtis said. “And in the end, I didn’t feel the support was there for me to stay. I didn’t feel there was a lot of support from the administration.”
Curtis said her daughter may transfer, but will wait until the end of the semester to decide what she wants to do.
Oh, I forget to mention that — she ripped the administration publicly, too. The same administration she plans to continue to work for as a physical education and health teacher at Coeur d’Alene High.
It’s always interesting to read the comments that are posted under any story about a youth sports situation, because even though you get some anonymous sniping, it’s the best place to get some of the story behind the story. If the comments are to be believed, there were issues for years with Curtis’ style and temperament, and recent losing brought the complaints more to the fore.
By the way, Curtis is not leaving volleyball. She will continue to coach a club team she co-founded. One wonders whether the issue was the parents, or that Curtis, a serious volleyball coach, would rather have a team with players and parents who are as intense about the sports as she is. And that place is not the school team.
Still, one wonders if a club team parent has a complaint, if Curtis is going to spout off about it elsewhere. Is it a good idea for coaches to rip parents publicly? I always say, the answer is no.
I haven’t seen a punishment this severe for an assault on youth sports personnel, but maybe six years in prison should be a warning to any parent who goes nuts over kids’ athletics — at least to any parent with priors.
From the Pioneer Press in St. Paul, Minn.:
A Minneapolis man will serve six years in prison for punching the commissioner of a Burnsville youth sports association in the face after a sixth-grade basketball game [Feb. 13]
Robin Johnson, 49, also was ordered in Dakota County District Court to pay more than $14,200 in restitution and have no contact with the victims, who were not identified in court Wednesday. Johnson pleaded guilty in June to felony first-degree assault.
According to witnesses, Johnson was taunting at a player to make him miss — during a sixth-grade house league game. Commissioner Jeff Shaud asked him to stop, and when Johnson didn’t, Shaud got out his cellphone to call police. Johnson slapped it out of his hand, and then punched Shaud in the face to register his disagreement with the commissioner.
Police said Johnson landed multiple punches before being subdued by others in the crowd, most notably by a crowd member who kicked him in what my 7-year-old likes to call the “sheen.” (Not named after Charlie, but it could be.)
One of the amazing things about men is that no matter how many times they watch this, they will find it funny. And they will grab their man parts.
As youth sports parents and coaches, we’ve all dealt with nuts, and I don’t mean the kind that Robin Johnson was holding after he was kicked. Often, when writing about these folks, the assumption is they are otherwise normal people who get caught up in the youth sports moment. Alas, if that were always true. Often, many of these nuts bring their nuttiness with them. Johnson, for example, had issues that ranged far beyond his feeling on sixth-grade free throws.
Again, from the Pioneer Press:
In a separate case, Judge Michael Mayer also sentenced Johnson to a year of jail for violating a protection order, a gross misdemeanor, said Monica Jensen, a spokeswoman for the Dakota County attorney’s office. Johnson will serve the sentences concurrently. …
Previously, Johnson was convicted in June for violating an order for protection, in 2007 for giving police false information and violating an order for protection, and in 1997 for fifth-degree assault and fifth-degree domestic assault.
So if you’re the type who punches people at random… well, stop. But, please, don’t come to the kids’ games. If you do, there might already be a prison bunk being made up for you.