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Posts Tagged ‘youth football

Driscoll Middle School coaches: You’re assholes

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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.

Rodriguez told the New York Daily News, not normally on the Corpus Christi youth football beat: “This has been one of the highlights [of my 31-year] career.” How sad for you.

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.

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Written by rkcookjr

November 8, 2010 at 8:21 pm

Middle school cracks down on football players who don’t respect sanctity of dead squirrels

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Now if I found out my son was messing with a dead squirrel, once I was assured he wasn’t having sex with it, I would bring him to the doctor for whatever shots you get for messing with a dead squirrel. However, I would be a bit shocked if messing with a dead squirrel led to his dismissal from his favorite extracurricular activity (that didn’t involve messing with a dead squirrel).

North Branch (Mich.) Middle School, however, countenances no messing with a dead squirrel. From NBC25 in Clio, Mich. (outside of Flint, if you must know):

It all started last week.  Fourteen year old Gabe Wells says he and his teammates were walking back to the school building after football practice.  He saw a dead squirrel in the parking lot that he says had been there for some time.

“I told my coach, ‘Hey, my mom made you dinner,’” says Gabe.

He says his coach laughed and continued on his way.  Gabe says he and his team mates kept joking.

Gabe says he saw a Subway bag, tied it around the coach’s “dinner”, then used it to tie the squirrel to a nearby tree.  He then picked a cigarette butt up off the ground and put it in the squirrel’s mouth, saying, “That is what happens when you smoke, you die.”

That night he even made a post on facebook about it, telling facebook friends he wanted to send the message out, don’t smoke.  He even picked on his father for being a smoker.

The next day Gabe says he got a surprise, when the principal called him down to the office.  He says he spent most of the there, missing class and lunch, after being told he was in trouble for his incident with the squirrel.

The principal accused Gabe of gross misconduct, no pun intended. Gabe’s mother told NBC25 that she was told her son could be suspended from the team for this year, and next year, be suspended from school, and charged with animal abuse. You’d think Gabe had had sex with a live squirrel, for all the outrage. Does PETA protest for abuses to animals previously killed by natural causes and/or when they were run over in the parking lot?

Gabe’s parents knew what to do: alert the media. Gabe’s father dialed up Clio, Mich., and got NBC25 on the phone, and on the case.

NBC25 called the superintendent’s office.  Superintendent Tom English said he knew a dead squirrel had been tied in a tree, an inappropriate incident that other students had to witness, but he was not completely aware of the resulting discipline.

He called back a short time later and said the school had decided all ten students at first believed to be involved would not be in trouble.  Only four of them would face consequences for their actions with the squirrel, including Gabe Wells. They would not be suspended or face charges, but they would be missing the last football game of the season.

Justice is served. And so, apparently if Gabe is around, is squirrel.

Written by rkcookjr

October 25, 2010 at 10:07 pm

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.”

Written by rkcookjr

October 15, 2010 at 4:39 pm

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

Youth leagues, you need crisis management public relations

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So I’m reading about this case in Tucson, Ariz., in which a fight between a parent and his 9-year-old son’s football coach (over whether the child could leave the game early, and whether he was allowed to leave wearing his uniform) ended up with cellphone video of the 9-year-old stripping to his skivvies, which ended up on a local news station, which ended up on CNN, which ended up being bounced all over the ol’ World Wide Web, to spots such as this blog.

I could go over all the particulars, but the only thing that seems to change in these stories are the individual involved, and the subject of the fight. You could make Youth Sports Mad Libs out of these fights. The (adult figure in child’s life) and the (type of sports coach) have a (adjective) (noun) about (noun), which causes (adult figure in child’s life or type of sports coach) to act (adverb), and the whole things gets caught on (video recording device), and sent to (a form of media). The (same form of media) takes the side of (adult figure in child’s life of type of sports coach) who first comments about the incident, and the whole thing ends up a referendum on (issue in youth sports).

In what should be no shock to readers of this blog, I (and my cousin) got busted as kids for filling in Mad Libs with nothing but dirty words, such as our favorite adverb, “nipply.”

There are a lot of things youth leagues need, but believe it or not, access to quality crisis public relations management is one of them. With most of these leagues full mostly of volunteers who have had no reason in their lives to worry about PR, what happens in a case like the football league in Tucson is that everyone is caught flat-footed when suddenly a radio station in, say, Maine, is calling, wondering whether you want to be on their show to talk about why your league (verb) such (negative adjective) (curse word, plural) like (name of coach).

Actually, they’re caught flat-footed in the first place because the leagues make an assumption that nobody cares outside of the coaches, parents and children involved. And most of the time, they’re right.

However, any league, at any time, could suddenly find itself in the middle of a worldwide media frenzy. Say, for example, if it has a coach who writes what he says is a tongue-in-cheek letter to his soccer parents that is interpreted as advocating 8-year-old girls become soul-crushing, steroidal, “Green Death”-delivering animals.

I would expect that most leagues do not have the budget to handle a big-time crisis management firm when big-time crises crop up. I would expect that most leagues would not even know whom to hire to help with public relations efforts. So what I will do now is offer some free advice to leagues that they can use in their first coach’s meetings, just to get the message across:

1. If you don’t not want to stop being an asshole on the sidelines for the sake of the kids, do it so you will not go viral online. Every parents has a cellphone that can record you, and there is no way you can explain away why you were such an asshole. So don’t be one.

2. Leave your ego at the door when a parent berates you. You might be right. The parents might be completely, hopelessly wrong. But when the story is told of your conflict, the parent’s side is the one that’s going to be told first. If a parent complains, you can argue, but be reasonable and professional. Again, every parent has a recording device — but it doesn’t come on until after the conflict starts. So make sure you’re calm, so you’re not on the local news screaming your fool head off.

3. Have the league rules on your person at all times. Consult them when a conflict arises. If you’re not sure, here is the cellphone number of the league president and vice president. Call immediately if there is a problem. Don’t feel you have to solve everything yourself, right at that moment. The cellphone video of you calling the league president is much less likely to go viral than video of you calling the parent a fucking shitbag.

4. You might feel as if you have sole authority over these kids as the coach. The reality is, the parents are paying the bills. You might feel as if you are doing parents a favor by coaching their kid. The reality is, there are parents who won’t feel that way. So can the dictator act, communicate early and often with parents, and make clear that while you have your way of running a team, you are willing to listen if any issues arise. This considerably reduces the chances there is a on-field or on-court incident that puts you on cable news and YouTube.

5. Regarding incidents between coaches: If you have a disagreement, take it to the league president instead of fighting it out, literally, on the field. If you feel an opposing coach is being unfair, is cheating or is encouraging his players to hurt others, try to have a reasonable discussion, and failing that, document what happened (or ask a parent or assistant to document it for you) and bring it to the league president. What we want to avoid is an emotional incident that leads to a fight in front of children — and in front of cellphone cameras.

6. If an incident occurs that ends up catching the attention of the local media, feel free to answer any questions. Answering questions is better than saying nothing. However, don’t be defensive, and don’t focus on the conduct of the other person. Instead, calmly give your side of the story. Then call a league officer to relay what just happened, and what you said, so the league can formulate a response.

Of course, all of this assumes you have a league president and office that is dedicated to the good of the league, and not to favoring its own friends.

I won’t guarantee that this crisis management on the cheap will keep your league off of this blog. However, an acknowledgement that anything can end up in the public eye at any time might be the first step to making sure that never happens. If this advice doesn’t work, well… hey, I’m just the PR guy.

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

Snoop Dogg expands football league, his coolness to Chicago

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Snoop Dogg — is there nothing he can do wrong? (Or at least not get away with?)

Cal Ripken Jr. sold his name to an existing baseball league and has done plenty to promote it, but the rapper-Katy Perry sidekick has built a successful youth football league from the ground up, and has done so in the inner city, where most leagues usually go to die.

Now Chicago kids are going to learn what it’s like to play in a Snooper Bowl. He came to Chicago on July 23 for a football clinic as a precursor to expanding his Snoop Youth Football League to the city. The low-cost league will be geared toward kids in public housing in a city where the violent crime rate is double that of New York or the birthplace of the Snoop league, Los Angeles. From NBC Chicago:

“I’m bringing football out here so they can take their energy, their anger and their attitude and put it in the right source of environment, which is the football field,” he said. …

Snoop Dogg, a former high school quarterback, started the program in 2005 with a $1 million investment. He’s coached his son’s youth and high school football teams.

The league, which will offer a lower cost to participate, is still looking for funding.  But the rapper said recent violence in the city shows how much Chicago kids need alternatives like his league.

“I just feel like Chicago needs me right now.  And I need Chicago,” he said.

In an interview with Time Out Chicago, Snoop Dogg said he started an assistant coach for his son, became his head coach, and decided to start his own league because he didn’t like all he saw with organized football, particularly expenses that froze out those from poorer neighborhoods. He also said a league like his might have prevented him from his long path of trouble, though on the other hand without it he wouldn’t have had the career and the money to fund a league keeping other kids out of trouble.

[youtubevid id=”u1Nuy6ljAN8″]

Snoop Youth Football teaches kids to go 1-8-7 on tha undercover cop only in their minds. However, a safety can go 1-8-7 on a receiver across the middle. (NSFW lyrics)

Snoop Dogg just received a VH1 Do Something award for his football league. He also should receive some sort of award for trying to decrease football head injuries by getting his kids state-of-the-art helmets and training them on avoiding head injuries, which is a hell of a lot more than just about anyone else inside the sport is doing. So if the money he gets for slumming on “California Gurls” is going toward this, then who’s to care if he hooks up with Ke$ha or Miley Cyrus later? If it’s Snoop, it must be worthwhile.

Written by rkcookjr

July 24, 2010 at 12:26 am