Your Kid’s Not Going Pro

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Posts Tagged ‘Pop Warner

Mother uses stun gun to zap son’s football coach

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From the Times-Union in Jacksonville, Fla:

A Pop Warner football coach was zapped with a stun gun Tuesday night during an argument with a parent at Sandalwood High School, Jacksonville police said.

Now 43-year-old Roxine Cornela Cobb of the 700 block of Oaks Plantation Drive in Arlington has been arrested on charges of battery and discharging a weapon on school grounds, according to the police report.

Robert Medley II told police he had argued with the woman and her son who plays on his football team Monday night. The confrontation resumed about 6:15 p.m. the next day when the woman walked up to Medley and zapped him in the chest with the stun gun, the arrest report said.

Medley, 41, said he slapped the stun gun out of her hand and the argument ended as police arrived. Cobb told police she didn’t think she actually zapped him.

Two witnesses confirmed the coach’s account, police said.

Pressed for further comment about how he felt about this turn of events, the coach said: “Shocked.”

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Written by rkcookjr

October 15, 2010 at 4:39 pm

YouTube's small child football concussion videos

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In an earlier post, I talked about youth sports injuries in light of the NFL’s public efforts to look less like it’s giving its players early dementia and death through greater review of concussions. The hope is that if the NFL takes them more seriously, others will at all levels of football. Maybe that will happen. But given the pre-concussion youth football videos all over YouTube, I’m not sure.

I hate to post any of these, because I feel like a preacher airing porn films over and over and telling people, “Would you look at that filth!” But I have to show you a few examples of what I’m talking about — video all over YouTube and elsewhere of small children knocking each other into next week, which given their ages, is a comparatively long way to get knocked.

These videos are posted by parents or others PROUD their kid is the baddest badass on the block, when instead they make Malcolm Gladwell’s argument that football isn’t that far removed from dogfighting.

For example, this one is THE HARDEST HITTING 6 YEAR OLD IN THE GAME!!!, a video that’s recently made the rounds on sports blogs such as Deadspin and With Leather.

[youtubevid id=”mhxK8P0h5Fk”]

The above video was a response for a two-year-old video, with 323,000 views (porn is popular), Football Hard Hits from a crazy 9 Year Old!!!!! (Note slo-mo replays, gratuitous “Bring the Pain” quote, and five, not three, exclamation points. Warning: Creed is the soundtrack.)

[youtubevid id=”1gD0auefars”]

Here is one uploaded today (Nov. 24). Apparently whomever did this promised this 8- and 9-year-old if it won its championship, he would post a highlight reel of its biggest hits. So they won, and so he did. (More slo-mo, but no exclamation points. But some great shots of small children writhing in pain!)

[youtubevid id=”AG8SPPCHZK4″]

Hey, I know football is a violent sport, and many of the hits in the above videos are well within the rules. But lest you think 8-year-olds don’t hit hard because they’re small, their hits can hurt bad if they are hitting other 8-year-olds.

I’m not going to pass judgment on any parents who would sign a 6-year-old or 8-year-old for tackle football. However, I do think any parents screaming, on YouTube or elsewhere, about what a pain-bringer their child is THE BIGGEST ASSHOLE ON THE SIDELINE!!!!!! (Yeah, that’s six exclamation points!)

Written by rkcookjr

November 24, 2009 at 11:41 pm

My Massachusetts football ban gets support from a stripper-friendly judge

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Because I’ve written so often about fights and incident involve youth football in Massachusetts, I recently called for a ban on all football in the, up to and including the New England Patriots.

I have an ally in my quest: Judge Frances A. McIntyre, a Suffolk Superior Court judge previously lauded for ruling in favor of giving strippers their fair share of the bucks that are tucked.

From the Boston Globe:

Struggling to preserve their program and national prominence as a Pop Warner power, the Dorchester Eagles [Nov. 2] lost a preliminary legal effort to permit their undefeated Midget team to compete for local, regional, and national titles.

The Eagles argued in Suffolk Superior Court that the Midget team should not be subject to a three-year ban from postseason play the program incurred after its Junior Midgets brawled with a rival team from Rhode Island last December during Pop Warner Super Bowl week at Disney World. The Eagles have sent teams to the national championships seven of the last eight years.

Punish the teenaged Junior Midgets, not the 11- and 12-year-old Midget players who were not involved in the melee, the Eagles argued.

But they failed to persuade Judge Frances A. McIntyre to issue a preliminary finding that Pop Warner Little Scholars, Inc., which governs nearly 7,000 teams nationwide, inappropriately applied the three-year ban to all six teams in the Dorchester program.

“My greatest congratulations to the [Midget] team for their performance this season,’’ McIntyre said, “but I can’t change the outcome that was set in place nearly a year ago because that would not be right, fair, and just.’’

Judge, your next ruling should disallow Bill Belichick from crossing state lines. Just because.

Written by rkcookjr

November 5, 2009 at 10:50 pm

Pop Warner fight: Everett Crimson Tide vs. East Lynn Homeless Beaters

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[youtubevid id=”gqhT5qIuK1s”]

Above is the latest viral youth sports outrage — an Oct. 25 fight between 11- and 12-year-old Pop Warner players representing Everett and East Lynn, Mass. Yes, it’s awful and unfortunate, although it wasn’t knock-down, drag-out to the point of police having to show up. (Those sirens you hear in the background make you wonder how quick the authorities are in Everett, Mass., except they’re going by on their way elsewhere.)

So while it was bad, it wasn’t as bad as it could have been. It appears to be kids getting chippy at the end of a title game that the Everett Pop Warner president, in a beautiful Boston accent, informed the local Fox affiliate was for “all the mahbles.” (The game was called with East Lynn winning, 25-0.)

However, in the Fox report, the report on the brawl took a bit of a jarring turn one minutes and four seconds in, when report Frank Mallicoat informs the audience of “what makes this fight even more alarming to parents.” Before the season, six 11- to 14-year-olds, “all of which are affiliated with the East Lynn Pop Warner football program,” were arrested on charges, including attempted murder, related to the beating of a homeless man in a Lynn park, a man allegedly targeted because of his Guatemalan ancestry. (Homeless beatings seem like kind of a Lynn thing. It was the third such assault in a month.)

As Mallicoat said, three of those players, after the July attack, practiced with their Pop Warner program with an additional piece of equipment — an ankle monitor. However, all were thrown out of the program before games started. Still, the implication remains: there are at least some people in the East Lynn Pop Warner program who don’t rule out hate crime-related attempted murder as a standard for its players. I don’t know about East Lynn, but I believe it meets the standards of most leagues: if the check clears, they’re in.

Written by rkcookjr

October 26, 2009 at 10:44 pm

Youth football coach enforces team rules by punching player's father in the face

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As a youth sports coach myself, I can certainly relate to the Pop Warner coach in Wilmington, Mass., who was frustrated that a parent dropped off his child 10 minutes late to practice. It’s highly disruptive, because your limited practice time goes out of whack when everyone isn’t there on time.

However, I’ve never slugged anybody over it. But maybe that’s because I’m slender.

From the Boston Herald:

A Wilmington Pop Warner football coach has been charged with viciously beating the parent of one of his players after being called a “fat bastard” for making a kid run a lap.

William D. Reynolds, 43, was charged with aggravated assault and battery in Friday’s attack on Michael VonKahle, 48, according to a complaint filed by Wilmington police [Monday] at Woburn District Court.

VonKahle suffered broken bones in his face, according to police. Reynolds, who could not be reached for comment, will be arraigned Nov. 17.

VonKahle told police he joked to Reynolds, “If anybody needs to run laps it should be you, you fat bastard,” according to a report.

Ten minutes later, Reynolds asked if they could talk, then led VonKahle to some nearby woods, where he repeatedly punched a stunned VonKahle in the face, police report.

Reynolds told cops VonKahle “had fighting on his mind” and threw the first punch.

fat_bastard_chardonnay_2005

Maybe the dad meant to say, “If anybody needs something to make gums flap, it’s this, Fat Bastard.”

The league has suspended Reynolds pending the police investigation. More on that, and a picture of VonKahle’s face (he suffered eye socket and facial injuries, including broken bones and missing teeth), are in this Boston Globe article, which concludes thusly: “In a telephone interview yesterday, local Pop Warner board member and the board’s football director, Mark Ferreira, said: ‘Any youth program is supposed to set examples, but there were no examples set by anyone out there.’ ”

Sure there were. The other parents learned the consequences of bringing your kid to practice late, and calling the coach a name. Next time someone does that with me, I’m going to pull the father aside and… and… well, probably get myself beat up. I’m slender.

Written by rkcookjr

October 20, 2009 at 2:07 pm

Schools abandoning sports, part II

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In Mark Hyman’s “Until It Hurts,” (already reviewed here), there’s an interesting bit of comment about parents and private interests taking over competitive sports when schools seemed less committed to them.

As I read it, I was thinking about all the discussions about statewide cuts in high school sports schedules and other pullbacks from varsity sports occurring during the current recession, in an environment where private interests like AAU and clubs are already siphoning away the elite athletes.

Except that Hyman was writing about the 1930s.

But it wasn’t the Depression and ensuring school sports cutbacks that gave private interests like American Legion Junior League baseball (born in 1926) and Pop Warner Football (born in 1929 as the Junior Football Conference) an opening to exploit. It was educators’ distaste for how competitive school sports was becoming. They decided it would be better to de-emphasize varsity sports in favor of intramurals — an idea I’ve proferred on a few occasions on this here blog.

Hyman approvingly quotes sports historian and coaching teacher Rainer Martens calling this decision a “gigantic blunder.”

“Ironically, educators suddenly found themselves no longer leading the movement they had begun. Instead of well-trained professionals guiding the sports programs of children, well-meaning but untrained volunteers assumed leadership roles. Sadly, educators were left on the sidelines shouting their unheeded warnings and criticisms,” writes Martens in his seminal (June 1978) book Joy and Sadness in Children’s Sports.

Of course, as schools got back on the sports train, overemphasis on winning was (and is) endemic there, too. But schools at least have to hold their players to academic and other eligibility standards, and limits on practices and games allow for more balanced lives and less potential for overuse injuries than hard-core club sports.

So do these cutbacks mean private organizations will get an even greater foothold on youth sports?

It’s tough to say right now — plenty of private organizations are noting declines in players or upturns in requests for financial assistance because of the current recession.

But the bigger, longer-term danger for schools that want to be taken seriously as a place for sports is that their cutbacks highlight how anyone wanting a scholarship or pro career should seek assistance elsewhere.

As a school cuts back music, would its top musicians not seek opportunities elsewhere? As a school cuts back theater, would not anyone dreaming of an actor career not seek opportunities elsewhere? If a school cuts back on academic programs, doesn’t it risk losing students to private schools or home-schooling?

I don’t have empirical numbers to prove that any of these trends hold. It just seems logical to me that if you’re already diffident about whether the high school soccer team is worth your time, especially when college coaches (as they do in Hyman’s book) make it clear all they scout is club soccer, it’s one more reason to leave varsity sports in favor of private programs.

Is this another gigantic blunder?

I don’t think so. As Hyman wrote, this cat already was let out of the bag in the 1930s. And anyone seeking elite play is already trained from an early age to look outside of school — to programs that, depending on their funding, might have better-trained coaches than the school can offer.

It might be time for schools to look at athletics as something more akin to intramurals — to find ways to get more students involved, both to help with the national obesity rate but also to give an outlet for kids who are never going to play travel ball. Again, we heed the words of Colorado football coach Dan Hawkins: “Go play intramurals, brother.”