Your Kid’s Not Going Pro

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I just got in fight with a fellow football coach! (I must) alert the media!

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Recently I wrote a piece warning coaches that your outbursts are likely to be recorded for posterity, and worldwide Internet humiliation. I did not consider that there are coaches who are incapable of being humiliated, who in fact are MORE than happy to spread the video of their stupidity themselves to air their stupid fights for what they assume is worldwide Internet vindication, but really is worldwide Internet humiliation. Stupid.

One such coach is Rick Day. He is a 41-year-old real estate from Racine, Wisc., who got in a bit of a tete-a-tete with oppising youth football coach Kelly Weddel after a game at Kenosha, Wisc.’s Christian Youth Center league. (Religion of peace, my ass!)  The story in Racine’s Journal Times included a video of the fight, and copious quotes from Day about why it happened, and why he was so wronged. Weddel was not to be found.

And why was that? Well, if this commenter on the Journal Times story is indeed who he says he is, there was a massive media strike executed by none other than Rick Day himself, who I’m sure is still very much available for comment.

(All misspellings and typos are Day’s. The note is time-stamped 12:49 a.m. — not a good time to type with a clear head, or clear grammar.)

Dear bsmile, A.L., movin1981, and to all the others who will respond to the artical and video by calling me a idiot, moron, ect. I knew that was coming when I called the reporter offering up the video and interview. Heck, I feared what my best friends wife would say! I probably deserve some of your anger as I am not proud of the event. The reason I offered this to the JT, Kenosha News, Fox 6 news, and TMJ4 is that there has been a injustice. The man in red who battered myself and one of my players mother and insited a riot got off without being charged with the two counts of battery and or insiting the riot. He received the same ticket as I and a lessor citation than the father that kicked him for hurting his wife!!! I knew putting the video out would bring ridicule on myself. The police wont pursue the assult and battery charges and the DA’s office wont allow me to file a formal complaint without jumping through alot of hoops. Then they will only consider action. I have made a sincer apology to the kids and there parents. I also accept the band from the CYC from coaching. My hope is for justice and to also to prevent the other coach who has had other “run-ins” in the past from coaching again! You have my word that there will never be an incident with my name in it again!~ Rick Day

Day and Weddel (as well a parent who got involved in the fight) were fined for the incident, and the two were fired as coaches. So I guess not having access to the field will make it easier that there will never be an incident with Rick Day’s name on it again. If only he would stop saying words about the incident that already happened.

Written by rkcookjr

October 15, 2010 at 4:14 pm

Don’t break up a kids’ game fight — it just leads to more fights

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You may or may not have already some version of the above video, which features coaches from two Pearland, Texas, youth football teams (you can tell it’s Texas because the preteens are playing on a pro-quality field) brawling during a game.

The report I’ve linked mentions that the brawl started after a coach stepped onto the field to break up a scuffle involving two players. So why did one coach trying to make peace start a fight involving other coaches?

Maybe the answer — which is not apparent on video — comes from a story a friend told me about his then 8-year-old son’s soccer team.

Like in the Texas football game, two kids collided, and they came up pushing and shoving. A coach stepped out to break it up. And almost immediately, the parent of one of the kids swung the coach around and angrily shouted at him, “Don’t you EVER touch my child AGAIN!”

Fortunately for all involved, that was the end of that whole series of unfortunate incidents. But as you can see from the video, things can get amped up pretty quickly when an adult steps into a place that some other adult — whether it’s a parent or another coach — feels he or she should not be. It’s “just” a kids’ game, but the combination of people’s competitive natures and, yes, their desire to protect their children can go very, very wrong.

I’m being only half-facetious with the title of this post. It would seem against all instincts to not break up a kids’ fight at a game. If there’s a referee, it might be best to let that person handle it at first — after all, that’s part of the reason a referee is there. But if you do try to break up a fight, keep your head up. And know that if things go wrong, you’ll end up like this video, with the kids stepping in to try to break up the fight between adults.

Written by rkcookjr

October 1, 2010 at 3:36 pm

Steroids: Making youth baseball coaches douchier

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Benjamin Alexander-Bloch of the New Orleans Times-Picayune is working on his own “Game Of Shadows,” like those San Francisco Chronicle reporters who blew the lid off of steroids and Barry Bonds. Except that the steroid scandal Alexander-Bloch uncovered is a little bit more, shall we say, under the radar.

A youth baseball coach who beat up a rival coach after a crucial Slidell [La.] Bantam Baseball Association game in 2008 had off-the-chart levels of animal steroids in his system after his sentencing for battery, according to test results recently obtained by The Times-Picayune.

Wait a minute — it makes some sense that you might take steroids to play baseball, but to coach it?

According to Alexander-Bloch’s story, the judge who gave Jason Chighizola, 34, a 30-day jail sentence for beating up a rival coach in full view of young players and parents happened to notice that Chighizola seemed a bit unusually chiseled, and ordered him regularly tested for substance abuse. This order came Sept. 1, 2009, or more than a year after Chighizola, who coached the 8-year-old Yankees, beat up Robert Johnson, 35, of the 8-year-old Red Sox following a game the Yankees lost, putting the Red Sox in first place. And you know ESPN Slidell was covering that series way more than any other more interesting baseball. Damn Yankees-Red Sox bias.

It appears Chighizola, um, passed his test more than any test he may have ever taken.

Chighizola tested positive for trenbolone metabolite, which is used by veterinarians on livestock to increase muscle growth and appetite, the records show. He also tested positive for stanozolol metabolite, which is often used along with other anabolic steroids and is known for increasing strength while not leading to excess weight gain.

The results were conducted by a California company, Redwood Toxicology Laboratory, and measured the balance between Chighizola’s testosterone and epitestosterone. If the ratio of testosterone in a person’s system is greater than six times the amount of epitestosterone, then it generally means that there are steroids in the person’s system.

In Chighizola’s case, that ratio equaled 86, the records show.

While Chighizola’s attorney says he has tested negative ever since, the coach — who allegedly was reacting to a smart-ass comment by Johnson when he pounded the shit out of him — can’t set foot on a field in Slidell ever again. It could have been worse: if anyone had known the amount of trenbolone metabolite Chighizola had in him, he might have been sentenced to become a delicious steak.

Written by rkcookjr

August 7, 2010 at 11:05 pm

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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.

[youtubevid id=”5i_D6oQO6b8″]

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.

Written by rkcookjr

July 28, 2010 at 2:00 pm

Fights in the stands mar high school basketball games: Title IX edition

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Earlier I wrote a story about all the fights that have been happening at high school basketball games, and all the examples I cited were from boys’ matchups. But let it not be said boys games have exclusive domain over fisticuffs and brouhahas. From WSMV television in Nashville:

Principals at Maplewood and Stratford high schools — along with several teachers, coaches and students — face sanctions from the district and TSSAA [Tennessee’s high school athletic authority] for a Saturday night [Feb. 13] melee.

Did I say brouhahas? I meant melees.

At the end of a girls basketball game, a Stratford player made a last-second shot. Maplewood’s coaches claimed the clock was not on and the shot should not have counted.

Maplewood coaches confronted time keepers because they lost the game, said Ralph Thompson, security director of Metro Schools. He said things got out of control, and students and parents got involved and threw punches.

“People started yelling, standing up and coming toward the score keeper and referees,” said student Janelle White. “The girl from Maplewood came up to the score keeper and hit her.”

An estimated 100 people were involved in the fight. Thompson said his office is trying to get to the bottom of reports that several coaches and teachers also threw punches.

Germaine to the point school security expert Kent Trump made (unbeknownst to him) in my previous post on one of the problems regarding fan violence at basketball games, one of the allegations against host Stratford is that it provided inadequate security for the game. As the home school, it was responsible for making those arrangements — normally, four to six security officers, rather than the apparent zero that were there.

Written by rkcookjr

February 17, 2010 at 11:35 pm

Criminal charges dropped in ex-Congressman/youth soccer coach punchout

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January 19th was a very big, happy, victorious day for a Republican. Yeah, Scott Brown, too.

Former U.S. Rep. Chip Pickering of Mississippi on Jan. 19 learned he will not be facing criminal charges relating to a scuffle in which he allegedly punched a neckbrace-wearing youth soccer coach. On the other hand, the coach, Chris Hester, also will not face criminal charges for his part in the fight.

Each independently decided to drop pursuing a criminal case against the other regarding the bout, which occurred after a 10- and 11-year-old match in Madison, Miss., that featured Pickering’s son on one side and Hester coaching the other. The fight started because Pickering claimed Hester was verbally abusive to his son. By the way, both men are in their 40s, not that you would ever know. At least they were mature enough to decide that it would be better not to make 10- and 11-year-olds go to court for the grind and pain of testifying as to where on the doll Pickering punched Hester.

The judge, and I translate from legalese, called both men douchebags, and everyone went on their way. “I regret very much the entire episode, Pickering said after the court hearing. “I was trying to protect my son. I believe Mr. Hester was trying to protect one of his players. What we’ve learned is there’s a better way to do this, and there’s a better way we could have handled everything that night.” And with that, it was over.

Well, not quite.

Reporters at the scene noted two major signs that to Hester, this wasn’t over. One is that he refused to shake Pickering’s hand when he extended it. The other was him and his lawyer holding a press conference to announce they would be suing Pickering to cover Hester’s medical bills, perhaps not including the neckbrace he was wearing at the time he got punched.

Sadly for Pickering, he’s pretty familiar with the inside of a courtroom. Not only is did Pickering get divorced, but his ex-wife followed with a so-called alien-of-affection lawsuit against Pickering’s mistress. So Pickering might have to go through the pain and grind of testifying where on the doll his mistress touched him.

Written by rkcookjr

January 19, 2010 at 10:06 pm

Top youth sports stories of the year, part one

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Dec. 31, 2009, will be a momentous occasion — the one-year anniversary of when I began blogging about youth sports. You expected something else?

Being as I started this blog elsewhere, taking this moment to look at the top 10 youth sports stories of the year is not only a cheap way to create a little content, but it’s also a chance for you all to see what my fingertips have obsessed over since Dec. 31, 2008. I’ll break this up over two days: five today, and five tomorrow. And then the regulation youth-size ball drops on a new year of new youth sports wackiness.

10. “Beware the Green Death”

Poor Michael Kinahan. Here he was, trying to inject a little humor into his introductory note to parents as a coach of 7-year-old girls’ soccer in Scituate, Mass., and instead he loses his gig and becomes a worldwide cause celebre. Then again, if you didn’t know the guy, and you got a letter like this, you’d do a little cause celebre-ing yourself. Among the highlights:

… According to my wife, my emails get too wordy, so for those of you read too slowly, are easily offended, or are too busy, you can stop here. For the others……

OK, here’s the real deal: Team 7 will be called Green Death. … I only expect 110% at every game and practice. We do not cater to superstars, but prefer the gritty determination of journeymen who bring their lunch pail to work every week, chase every ball and dig in corners like a Michael Vick pit bull. Unless there is an issue concerning the health of my players or inside info on the opposition, you probably don’t need to talk to me. …

Some say soccer at this age is about fun and I completely agree. However, I believe winning is fun and losing is for losers. … The political correctness police are not welcome on my sidelines. America’s youth is becoming fat, lazy and non-competitive because competition is viewed as “bad”. I argue that competition is good and is important to the evolution of our species and our survival in what has become an increasingly competitive global economy and dangerous world. … I expect that the ladies be put on a diet of fish, undercooked red meat and lots of veggies. No junk food. Protein shakes are encouraged, and while blood doping and HGH use is frowned upon, there is no testing policy. And at the risk of stating the obvious, blue slushies are for winners.

…[I]t is imperative that we all fight the good fight, get involved now and resist the urge to become sweat-xedo-wearing yuppies who sit on the sidelines in their LL Bean chairs sipping mocha-latte-half-caf-chinos while discussing reality TV and home decorating with other feeble-minded folks. I want to hear cheering, I want to hear encouragement, I want to get the team pumped up at each and every game and know they are playing for something.

Lastly, we are all cognizant of the soft bigotry that expects women and especially little girls, to be dainty and submissive; I wholeheartedly reject such drivel. My overarching goal is develop ladies who are confident and fearless, who will stand up for their beliefs and challenge the status quo. Girls who will kick ass and take names on the field, off the field and throughout their lives. I want these girls to be winners in the game of life. Who’s with me?

Go Green Death!

Lesson to you coaches out there: parents are humorless, and they will forward you witty emails to the media.

9. Leaving early for a pro career — real early

In many nations, young players leave home at young ages for professional sports academies, or apprenticeships, or junior leagues that are clear in their status as hothouses of future pros. America is not one of those nations. We, unlike the rest of the world, like to pretend our young athletes are students first and just happen to be in sports for the pure joy of it. (Michael Kinahan would like to have a word with you about that.)

So that’s why it became a big deal when Jeremy Tyler of San Diego went pro after his junior year — of high school. He went to play basketball in Europe after high school competition for a 6-foot-11 dunking machine was a little unchallenging. Meanwhile, Bryce Harper of Las Vegas one-upped Tyler by declaring he would leave high school after his sophomore year, get his GED and play at a community college so he could get into the Major League Baseball draft earlier.

Will they be successful? Who knows? Who cares? As far as the American student-athlete complex goes, few are even remotely talented enough to try this, whether Tyler and Harper succeed or fail.

8. The bankruptcy of Count Me In

Never heard of Count Me In? Then you didn’t have an affiliation with a youth sports organization that got its money sucked up by the Seattle-based company. Count Me In was sued and sent into bankruptcy by some of the organizations that sent it $5 million that the company never returned. How did that happen? Count Me In sold league-registration software. So someone would register for a league, pay the fees, and Count Me In would forward that money to the league. Except that it ran into financial troubles, and didn’t. One New Jersey soccer club that sued Count Me In and founder Terry Drayton said it was out $142,000.

As it turned out, in May a savior emerged for Count Me In: Terry Drayton. He formed another company that paid $200,000 to buy Count Me In out of bankruptcy. Drayton says he still plans on paying everyone back (if he hasn’t already). Being a self-described serial entrepreneur is never have to say you failed.

7. H1N1 screws up the sports landscape

Swine flu ensured in many areas that your little piggie stayed home from the game. H1N1 hysteria was especially evident when it first broke out in the spring, with school districts across the country canceling sporting events. Most notably, the organization running Texas high school sports created a scheduling clusterfuck when it postponed all activities in the first two weeks of May, a timeframe that included the state track and field championships. When H1N1 broke out again in the fall, cancellation fever didn’t follow (even though there were postponements here and there). Instead, the emphasis was on making sure the illness wasn’t spread at events, which threatened to make the post-game handshake an endangered species.

6. Kids and/or parents and/or fans fight at games

This isn’t necessarily newsworthy. I figured I should include it because whenever I post video of youth sports fights, people flock to it like sports porn.

Later: the top five youth sports stories!

Written by rkcookjr

December 28, 2009 at 12:02 am