Your Kid’s Not Going Pro

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Posts Tagged ‘brawl

Your youth baseball brawl roundup

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It’s playoff season for youth baseball, which means managers, parents and players who act only a little crazy when they get a bug up their butt about something during the regular season now have the stakes raised high enough that the same bug will cause them to go ballistic.

Here are a few highlights:

DODGEVILLE, Wisc., July 26 — The winners of the losers’ bracket in the Ohio Valley Regional is going to the Babe Ruth Senior World Series because of a game-ending brawl between the two teams in the first game of the best-of-three championship.

About the only detail not being argued is that Noblesville (Ind.) came back from three runs down in the sixth inning to lead the Hammond (Ind.) Chiefs, 11-10.  Oh, the only other detail not being argued is that Babe Ruth headquarters in Trenton, N.J., ruled both 16-18-year-old teams out of the tournament. In between, it gets messy.

According to the Noblesville coach, talking to the near-hometown Indianapolis Star, all three Hammond coach freaked the fuck out when the game-leading run was scored on an obstruction call against the Chiefs, and all three got ejected. With no adults left to coach Hammond, the umpires declared Noblesville the winner. The Noblesville coach said the teams lined up to shake hands, and while his team was “excited,” the Hammond team was in a rage, the flames being fanned by one of their coaches. A Chiefs player jumped one of the Noblesville players, and the brawl was on.

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What happened in Dodgeville with the Chiefs, as re-enacted on ice. (NSFW language)

The Hammond coach copped to nothing, and in fact said he was trying to keep the peace and separate players, according to his interview with the near-hometown Northwest Indiana Times in Munster, Ind.

Meanwhile, the Dodgeville police said they arrested one fan on disorderly conduct charges, allegedly because he punched a Noblesville coach.

So congratulations to Cross Plains (Wisc.), which advances to the Babe Ruth Senior World Series for not punching anybody.

VALLEJO, Calif., July 21 — Vallejo Babe Ruth coach David Davis was booked in the local hoosegow on a charge of battery against a sports official. He allegedly punched a first-base umpire during the state 15-and-under championship tournament. Davis was arrested at the local police station as he was filling out an assault report — against the umpire, David Abbitt, a 26-year veteran.

Abbitt said Davis sucker-punched him — knocking him out and requiring him to be taken by ambulance to a hospital — as he argued a close call against the Vallejo team at first base. Davis, meanwhile, citing scratches on his arm he said were made by Abbitt, said he was only defending himself, and that the knockout punch never happened. Davis told the San Jose Mercury News:

[After the umpire kicked him out] Davis then describes a highly emotional situation between the two men, with alleged spitting, swearing, racial epithets and self defense.

“I thought it was a make-up call, so I went down to my knees and came up and he said ‘You’re outta here,'” Davis said, claiming that the knockout punch never happened. “All I did was defend myself. I just put my hands up as a reaction. Guy falls down, looks at me from the ground and puts on a tirade like he was hurt. It was weak and it was fake.”

Apparently there were no police or security at the July 18 game because of cutbacks by the city of Vallejo. After the Davis-Abbitt incident, somehow, some way, security was found for the tournament.

GURNEE, Ill., July 17 — Unlike the other two incidents, this was not a playoff game. But it doesn’t have to be one for tempers to get out of hand.

According to the Daily Herald of Arlington Heights, Ill., police were called after a fight broke out a 15- to 18-year-old Colt (Pony League) game. Two opposing players wrestled at the plate — a runner trying to score, and the catcher who tried to block him (without the ball in his hand) during the last out of the game. The umpires did not get involved, and player tempers cooled.

However, parents started screaming and fighting with each other. That’s when police were called. But no arrests were made. The presence of the authorities inspired a lovefest, according to the Herald:

[Gurnee Police Commander Jay] Patrick said the players on both sides hugged as the three cops left the field. The teams were not named.

“It could have really gone south,” Jacobs said. “But when (police) got there, everybody started to calm down quite a bit.”

For an incident like this, that counts as a happy ending.

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Written by rkcookjr

July 28, 2010 at 2:00 pm

If sports parents aren't crazy enough for you, go to Chuck E. Cheese

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If you have children in sports, or children of any sort, you probably already know about the hell that can be Chuck E. Cheese, where the ad tagline says it’s a place where a kid can be a kid, but leaves out that a parent can be a fucking maniac. Watching their kid at a ballgame can bring out the worst in some parents, but even close access to weaponry such as hockey sticks or baseball bats does not bring out the level of mayhem as close access to animatronic rodents and lousy pizza.

Like the executives at Chuck E. Cheese say, the vast majority of the time you can bring your children there and have a pleasant experience, especially if you give your children a Karen Silkwood-style disinfectant shower afterward. However, the presumed kid-friendly environment is a powder keg of subsumed violence ready to explode at any moment, such as if someone is taking too long at the photo machine.

That was the cause of a Feb. 15 fight in a Memphis location, which ended up with four people being arrested, and is part of the reason I’m reminded at this moment about the worst of Chuck E. Cheese.

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A few days later, in Indianapolis, a Chuck E. Cheese security camera showed a mom who used her 5-year-old to help her jack another patron’s purse.

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That Chuck E. Cheese is a place where your child can play grab-ass while you play punch-face is hardly a recent development. The Wall Street Journal two years ago had a great story about the chain’s criminal customer element that started thus: “In Brookfield, Wis., no restaurant has triggered more calls to the police department since last year than Chuck E. Cheese’s.”

Fights among guests are an issue for all restaurants, but security experts say they pose a particular problem for Chuck E. Cheese’s, since it is designed to be a haven for children. Law-enforcement officials say alcohol, loud noise, thick crowds and the high emotions of children’s birthday parties make the restaurants more prone to disputes than other family entertainment venues.

The environment also brings out what security experts call the “mama-bear instinct.” A Chuck E. Cheese’s can take on some of the dynamics of the animal kingdom, where beasts rush to protect their young when they sense a threat.

Stepping in when a parent perceives that a child is being threatened “is part of protective parenting,” says Frank Farley, a psychologist at Temple University and former president of the American Psychological Association. “It is part of the species — all species, in fact — in the animal kingdom,” he says. “We do it all of the time.”

That explains the Saturday night in a Bradenton, Fla., Chuck E. Cheese, when I looked up and saw my oldest, heretofore quiet, even-keeled son, then 4 years old, huffing and growling repeatedly, mama bear-like, at another boy in the rat tunnel. He was baring his teeth enough, I thought perhaps my son had turned into Way Pre-Teen Wolf. When he came down — I couldn’t physically get up there to extricate him — my son explained that the boy had pushed aside his 2-year-old sister, and that made him mad. As heartened as I was he was protecting his sister, it was clearly time to go.

The post-toddler growling was the climax of a night that featured what causes the tension at Chuck E. Cheese: parents of varying parental ability gathering in one spot to let their children run buck-wild because Chuck E. Cheese is a place where a kid can be a kid, and a parent doesn’t have to be a parent.

So why do we as parents keep going back? I’m not sure I have a good answer to that question. My kids have generally had a good time there over the years, and after Brandentongate we learned to never go on a Friday or Saturday night again. But I must admit, entering a Chuck E. Cheese makes my adrenaline rush like a walk through an unknown bad neighborhood, part fear of what might come, and part excitement for a chance to witness mayhem and make my dull suburban life just a little more exciting.

Written by rkcookjr

February 21, 2010 at 1:37 am

Russian 9-year-old hockey players goon it up

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In Soviet Russia, slap shot hit YOU.

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Written by rkcookjr

January 24, 2010 at 2:35 pm

Celebrating a basketball brawl isn't helping, coach

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In recent days we’ve had player, students and crowd high school basketball brawls in Utah and South Carolina, the latter threatening the existence of a multi-team tournament because the threat of fights makes it too expensive to insure. You might ask yourself — aren’t there adults around ready to stop this stuff before it starts?

No, usually. I can understand why two players might go at it in the heat of battle, but I don’t understand why that necessitates coaches sending their other players to join in, and “fans” streaming down from the bleachers to get their pops. Specifically, I don’t understand why Chipley (Fla.) assistant basketball coach Phillip Adams raised his fists in victory and chest-bumped one of his players as he left the floor during a brawl between Chipley and archrival Vernon.

The video of the fight is here, and the still of Adams’ chest-bump is here. Both were taken by Florida Freedom Newspapers’ Jay Felsberg.

We don’t know exactly why Adams did what he did, and he wouldn’t answer questions when reporters called his home following the game. But for a nominal grownup, there are only two acceptable responses when a brawl starts. One is to keep your kids on the bench and not add to the problem. The other is, failing that, or having secured your bench, help get authorities in to help break things up if they’ve gotten out of hand. If the kid had hit a game-winning shot, then raising your fists in victory and chest-bumping would have been acceptable for what would be an actual happy occasion.

This is not to say that Adams is the only coach who has ever looked like he was celebrating a brawl, or that he was the only coach in that gym that night who was. Coaches aren’t responsible for security, but at least they can set an example and let a team know that brawling isn’t tolerated. If nothing else, you never know when a Jay Felsberg, or a fan in the stands, is going to record your stupidity.

At least, what coaches can do is follow the example of Salt Lake City West coach Bob Lyman, if you feel duty-bound to defend your player.

His player, Gatete Djuma, elbowed a Highland High player on a rebound, and when the Highland player retaliated a brawl, involving players and fans, broke out. In the video here, you can see Lyman and other coaches not chest-bumping players, but trying to keep them from coming on the floor.

Under Utah’s no-fight rule, Djuma was automatically suspended for two games. Lyman said the recent arrival from Rwanda was acting on instinct and hadn’t learned yet about not retaliating. Feeling like he would be leaving Djuma in the lurch — Lyman suspended himself for a game to sit with him.

Whatever you think of what Lyman said, he is acting like an adult, an actual role model. That deserves fists raised in victory, and a chest-bump.

Written by rkcookjr

January 11, 2010 at 8:24 pm

Drunken hotel melee at youth hockey tournament

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I borrowed the term “drunken hotel melee” from The Globe and Mail of Toronto, which used it to describe a situation in which coaches and parents dropped the gloves in a bar after tournament hours. From the Globe and Mail:

Early Saturday, the head coach, assistant coach and a hockey dad with the Cobourg Minor Hockey League’s bantam team were arrested at a Holiday Inn in Grand Island, N.Y., after deputies with the Erie County sheriff’s department encountered what they described as a “bar full of belligerent, obnoxious, intoxicated Ontario men visiting the hotel while in the area for a kids’ hockey tournament.”

773160242_623bd5c1c1Belligerent, obnoxious, intoxicated Ontario men. Kooooo-loo-koo-koo-koo-koo-koo-koooooooo!

Late Sunday night [Dec. 6], a judge set bail for the men ranging from $2,500 to $10,000 each. It’s unclear if they were able to post the bond and return to Ontario with their 13- and 14-year-old charges.

“It’s a rotten shame,” said Bob Harrington, director of the 38th Annual December Shootout, a three-day hockey tournament in Niagara Falls, N.Y., for young players from the United States and Canada. It was the Cobourg team’s first appearance at the tournament, he said.

“These tournaments are about the boys, they’re about the kids having fun and learning from example how to be good gentlemen, how to work hard for their teams, how to be professional and how to be respectful. What happened here kind of flies in the face of what we’re all trying to accomplish.”

Just for kicks, it would be funny to see some tournament director or coach, after some scuffle involving parents, to say, “Oh yeah, this is totally what we wanted to do. This is the exact message we want to send to the kids: get pissed and fight.”

Apparently in Ontario they’re a bit sensitive about unusually strange or violent hockey brawls surrounding the youth level:

Minor hockey’s reputation has suffered a number of body blows in recent years.

League violations in the Greater Toronto Hockey League last season reveal a pattern of racism, hits to the head and referee abuse, a Toronto newspaper reported yesterday. Several GTHL players were suspended last year for posting discriminatory and threatening messages on Facebook.

A 17-year-old hockey player was charged with assault after an opponent’s spleen was ruptured in a stick-swinging incident during an Ontario Minor Hockey Association game in 2008. Two years ago, the GTHL, Canada’s largest minor hockey league, suspended two team officials after a brawl involving eight-year-old players.

Eight-year-olds cementheads? Man, kids are specializing wayyyy too early. At least let the bones in their hands develop a little more before breaking them.

Hey, all this reminds me, it’s been a little while since I popped in my DVD of “The Tournament.”

Elizabeth Lambert, you're not alone: R.I. girls' soccer championship ends in brawl

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To hear the coverage of infamous New Mexico soccer player Elizabeth Lambert, you’d think that except for her, female soccer players are sugar and spice and everything nice.

Well, there is plenty of spice, at least, as witnessed Nov. 8 near the end of the MetLife Soccer Classic Girls Division IV Championship in Providence, R.I.

The game was called with about a minute left, with Woonsocket up 5-0 over Tolman, after a fight between two players escalated into a brawl that cleared both benches. Budding soccer goons representing both sides started fighting in the stands during the post-game awards ceremony.

Under Rhode Island Interscholastic League rules, any player involved in a fight must sit out five games. If the player is a senior, she must sit out the first five games of the next sport she players. If she’s an underclassmen, she sits out the first five games of the next season. The league is investigating to determine whom to punish.

You see the fight start here:

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And here you can see Woonsocket’s coach, Kathy Fagnan, all hepped up, not exactly apologize for what happened. “We’re both physical teams … at some point someone snapped … I don’t know what really happened, I wasn’t on the field … Not to put a blame on anybody, it could be us, too, we were going back and forth … I don’t know, we had the advantage, we had good spirit — you know, I’m not gonna take the fall for that.”

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About that study that says sports doesn’t cause white girls to fight? That researcher might want to double-check her notes.