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Posts Tagged ‘violence

Gun, unfired, scatters Canadian youth soccer parents

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North Scarborough Soccer Club. Its website says it’s Where Soccer Lives. But right now, it’s Where Soccer Dies. At least in the 13-and-under division.

That’s because referees, since July 12, have refused to work its matches, and because other teams in its York Region Soccer Association refuse to play it. All because some parent flashed a gun when he accosted a referee after a game to register his slight displeasure at the way the game was called.

Note: North Scarborough is in Canada, so that’s why they’re all weenies just because some guy brandished a gun while going apeshit on a referee after a game. Hey, in Tennessee, that action has the official approval of the state legislature!

What was your call on that goal again, ref?

The North Scarborough folks say no gun was flashed, but no matter. The folks in Salinas, Calif., can tell you that once your neighborhood gets a reputation as a dangerous place, teams suddenly remember game day was the day they had already scheduled to get their hair washed.

From the Toronto Globe and Mail:

The incident again raises the issue of abuse against officials in children’s sports, a matter that Hockey Canada has had to deal with in the past. However, firearms-related offences are almost unheard of at this level of sports.

“It’s incredibly isolated,” said Mr. Green, the YSRA secretary. “We don’t run into a lot of alleged gunplay at soccer games generally. We’ve certainly dealt with a reasonable number of alleged referee assaults, whether they be verbal assault or pushing/shoving/the odd punch in the face or whatever the case may be, that has happened, and we deal with it accordingly under the jurisdiction of wherever the discipline needs to be heard.”

It’s reassuring that the youth soccer association is confident it doesn’t run into a lot of alleged gunplay at soccer games generally. Then again, it doesn’t run a league in Tennessee.

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Written by rkcookjr

August 9, 2010 at 10:13 pm

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.

Written by rkcookjr

July 28, 2010 at 2:00 pm

United Nations identifies new violent hot spot: youth sports

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Judging by the report put out by UNICEF’s Innocenti Research Centre (it’s based in Florence, hence what would otherwise seem like a comical Italian name), you should expect to see the blue-helmeted forces of the United Nations keeping the peace at your kid’s next ballgame.

The center (I’m spelling it the American way, damnit) took the time for its usual work of researching the most desperate regions of the world to check out the most desperate parents and coaches in the world — those involved with youth sports in so-called advanced nations. Its report, released in mid-July, is reassuring only in that the United States isn’t the only nation where everyone goes overboard about kids’ athletics.

From the report, titled “Protecting Children from Violence in Sport,” just in case you wondered what the researchers’ conclusion would be:

During recent years, however, it has become evident that sport is not always a safe space for children, and that the same types of violence and abuse sometimes found in families and communities can also occur in sport and play programmes. Child athletes are rarely consulted about their sporting experiences, and awareness of and education on child protection issues among sport teachers, coaches and other stakeholders is too often lacking.  Overall, appropriate structures and policies need to be developed for preventing, reporting and responding appropriately to violence in children’s sport.

The report is chock-a-block with examples from all over the world regarding abuse of children in the name of sport, and that’s without bringing up the name of a single gymnastics coach or tennis dad.

By the way, the United Nations does not define violence against children in sports (yes, the United Nations passed a resolution to define violence against children in sports) as merely physical, sexual  or mental abuse from a coach or parent, or overtraining a kid to the point he gets Tommy John surgery for his bar mitzvah. The definition includes hazing, peer pressure from teammates to drink or do drugs, the use of performance-enhancing substances, and — in what is sure to arouse the ire of Dave Cisar — sex as a prerequisite to participation.

This passage about organized sports being a political process, rather than a physical one, will get a hey-yeah from anyone whose obviously talented child was cut in favor of the coach’s spazz son:

Street play and other forms of adult-free recreation may be the only situations in which children have autonomy over their sport (although even then, they are often being closely observed by parents or othercaregivers). In contrast, children in organized, competitive sport usually lack authority; they are excluded from decision-making and may have their voices silenced by coaches, assertive parents or caregivers, or by senior athletes. In these instances, participation in sport is therefore a physical but not a political right. As a consequence, children are rarely allowedto shape their own competitive sporting experiences and may be subjected to violence if they fail to comply with the wishes of sport authority figures. This exclusion from the right to participation as defined by the Convention on the Rights of the Child leaves children vulnerable to types of violence that range from bullying to sexual abuse and commercial trafficking.

So if your child gets cut, make sure to cite the UN’s Convention on the Rights of the Child in your argument to the coach. It’s your ace in the hole.

By the way, if you’re like me — and thank whatever god you worship if you’re not — you did a stop on “commercial trafficking.” You mean, like how strip clubs get their dancers from Eastern Europe? Well, maybe not a large extent, though you can argue the system that rewards street agents to deliver under-18 baseball players in Latin America to Major League Baseball teams is child trafficking of a form. Heck, you could extend the definition to Clark Francis’ Hoop Scoop rating fourth-graders for the pleasure of college coaches, given how far the United Nations extends its definitions of violence against children.

Trafficking in the context of sport involves the sale of child athletes, usually across national boundaries and for profit. This has been described as a new form of child slavery that leaves players in a precarious legal position. There are known cases of trafficking in baseball and football, but finding systematic data on the practice is a challenge. Unofficial, and therefore unregulated, football training centres test young players, who are then recruited or discarded. These players may become involved in illegal migration or be traded from club to club. Research for this report found very few references to trafficking of children in sport; most references concerned children working as camel jockeys.

The Innocenti Research Centre, like any UN peacekeeper, doesn’t have a magic bullet that can end all the violence. The conclusions of its report talk about having more research into exactly how many children in sports are affected bv violence, and what kind; more training and awareness programs by sports organizations; turning over anyone who commits criminal violence against a child to authorities rather than handling it internally (ahem, USA Swimming); and otherwise making it clear to all involved that violence is something you have to worry about.

This report focused only on the industrialized world — not the places where, since the turn of the millennium, the United Nations has launched sports-based programs to help impoverished children in war-torn lands. After all, like most of the rest of us, while the report saw problems in youth sports, it acknowledges it can have great benefits, and that many children enjoy them. The United Nations’ goal, it appears, is to ensure that blood diamonds exist only inside a youth sports complex.

Written by rkcookjr

July 17, 2010 at 4:01 pm

Troubled Ohio State football recruit shot

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The alleged uplifting and saving power of sports only can go so far. Witness the case of Ohio State football recruit Jamel Turner, who was shot the night of June 19 — for the second time in three months. Turner was injured after being shot multiple times, and a 17-year-old girl in the same  house was killed.

Whatever the reason, trouble and Turner are on very intimate terms, though in this case Turner called the shooting into Youngstown (Ohio) police. The Vindicator of Youngstown details Turner’s checkered past:

Turner, The Vindicator’s defensive player of the year for football in 2008, was a standout at Ursuline High School and verbally committed to Ohio State.

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But later that school year he was dismissed from Ursuline’s basketball team, and last August he was ruled academically ineligible. He soon enrolled at Fork Union (Va.) Military Academy.

Turner played football in 2009 at Fork Union and was a member of the track and field team, but was asked to leave the institution earlier this year.

In April, Turner was shot in the lower left ankle and right hip as unidentified assailants opened fire on a vehicle in which he was riding on Interstate 680.

Ohio State Coach Jim Tressel said Saturday night, “I’m so sad to hear of Jamel’s misfortune. I have not communicated with Jamel, but am certainly praying for him at this time.”

I’m sure there are suburban parents, the ones who have spent untold tens (or hundreds) of thousands of dollars on their child’s sports development, who wonder where their kid’s scholarship is, while this thug (a popular term for, shall we say, your more urban athletes) can still waltz into Ohio State after all this.

First, that’s the breaks, folks. If your kid doesn’t have obvious, innate talent to start with, a Jamel Turner can come in at any time and outshine him. Second, it’s pretty clear that, for whatever reason, football may have been the only positive thing in Turner’s life. College coaches have their own reasons for wanting to “save” a troubled athlete. Often it has to do with coaches wanting to “save” their jobs. But it also has to do with knowing that for some players, it’s sports, or prison — or an early death.

Turner reportedly is in critical condition.

Written by rkcookjr

June 20, 2010 at 1:09 pm

Chick fight! Why female sports violence is a big deal

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The New York Times takes on a topic that is sure to guarantee plenty of web visits by disappointed fetishists: girls fighting.

In particular, the Times’ Jere Longman is wondering, what’s all the hubbub, bub, about breathless coverage of athletic girlfights such as Baylor’s Brittney Griner punching an opponent in a women’s college basketball game, girls’ teams going at it in their Rhode Island high school soccer championship, and, the drama queen of them all, Elizabeth Lambert’s hair-pulling performance for the New Mexico women’s soccer team.

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Yeah, you’ve seen Elizabeth Lambert pull hair, but have you seen her do it to the Mortal Kombat remix?

Longman talks with coaches and experts who surmise that perhaps girls’ and women’s sports have gotten more violent as women’s sports have gotten more competitive and, in some cases, more financially lucrative. Or that the coverage of fights is out of proportion to the usual mass coverage of women’s sports, which is to say not much coverage at all. Then there’s the whole idea that people still see women as delicate flowers who would never resort to fisticuffs.

The story doesn’t go into the larger societal debate over whether girls in general are getting more violent, something you might hear in disappointed tones from police breaking up another school fight, or in hopeful tones from the proprietors of Girlfightsdump.com (home of EXPLOSIVE FIGHT VIDEOS).

Actually, the rate of girls fighting appears to be about the same, with about one-quarter of girls ages 12-17 reporting being involved in a violent incident in two separate national surveys between 2002 and 2008. In its version of the story on the survey, the New York Daily News helpfully illustrates it with stock art of two women about to get their fight on in a battle that will inevitably end with their clothes torn off and them locked in naked embrace bow chicka wow wow.

I’ll tell you why their is intense coverage of females fighting during athletic events, and it’s the same reason Maria Sharapova highlights are guaranteed to make an appearance — because they give a lot of men a hard-on. Maybe the fights don’t technically excite them in the same way as Sharapova in a tennis skirt, but it’s better than Viagra all the same.

Written by rkcookjr

March 21, 2010 at 2:12 am

Local YMCA bans spectators from youth basketball playoffs

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You can’t watch your kids play at the YYYYYY, M, C, A!

Like high schools that have banned fans because of suspected gang activity or threat of violence in the crowd, the Tri-Community YMCA in Southbridge, Mass., has closed its Feb. 27 fifth-grade-and-up basketball championships to all but players, coaches and officials because of some other unruly mob — the players’ parents.

From the Worcester Telegram & Gazette:

An e-mail sent out to the parents cites “unsportsmanlike behavior from some parents” during the last couple of weeks.

The e-mail says a few people have become “belligerent” in the stands, even after being spoken to, and have been “setting a bad example for children.”

“All must know that this is inappropriate behavior that will not be tolerated.”

YMCA Director Edward Keefe and YMCA Recreation Director Susan Casine agree it was a very tough decision to make.

“There was a lot of discussion. We didn’t make the decision lightly,” Mr. Keefe said. “This is the last game. This is the last week. We want the kids to have fun, have a positive experience and close out the season on a positive high.

“We don’t want to affect the parents who go to every game and behave themselves and cheer on their kids,” Ms. Casine said. “But we need to make sure that unsportsmanlike behavior from parents doesn’t get out of hand.”

In the comments section — always the most fun read in these stories — one self-identified parent sounds a little, well, belligerent over the decision. From a martyr going by the handle “Innocent yet punished:”

I am a parents with several children who have been participating in the program for several years. I heard about my punishment on the news last night. Interesting that no one bothered to email, write or call. My children have not caused problems and neither have my husband and I. Now we are all being punished to send a message to the poorly behaved parents. What message is being sent to my family? You have to pay for the sins of others. Bring your children up right and teach them to do what’s right and then teach them that behaving has no benefit because they will be punished for something they didn’t do. Do you think I want my children alone in the gym with the same children that swear like their parents and have no problem causing problems? Do you think I want my children left alone without me to witness the adults in charge not having enough courage to eject misbehaving parents and children? I don’t think so. Let me ask the question again of the adults in charge, what message are you sending to my family? Those same misbehaing parents and children will be back next season, how many of the well behaved parents and children will be back? I don’t want my children and I to receive more punishment next season for something we don’t do.

Hey, Jesus had to pay for the sins of others, too, Innocent yet punished, and you didn’t hear him complaining. (OK, maybe a little.)

Other commenters suggested that the Y have the local police or extra security to take care of belligerent parents, which sounds reasonable, except when you ask yourself, the YMCA needs cops to handle a fifth-grade basketball game? In the Star & Telegram article, the Y officials pointed out that they, and the referees, have tried to eject unruly adults or get them to moderate their behavior, but with no success. Apparently they subscribe to the common American fan credo that if you pay your money ($52, or $35 if you’re a Y member), you get to do or say anything you damn well please.

The martyred parent does bring up a good point, though, about whether the “good” parents will bring their kids back for next season if they face the probability of not watching their children play and other people’s children swear. This is why the Y and other leagues are always in such a quandary about what to do about problem adults, because no matter how they do it, they upset their revenue base.

Written by rkcookjr

February 26, 2010 at 10:11 am

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