Sportsmanship literally "bottomed out" in Fayette County, PA where a youth coach was charged with disorderly conduct in August. What did the coach do? He allegedly "mooned" the umpire, literally stooping to a new low.
Sports is not alone in bringing out the bad side. Any competitive activity can inspire people to stoop to new depths. In August, a college debate coach mooned the opposing coach. The coach was promptly fired. Mothers, don't let your babies grow up to be debaters!
In July, a New Jersey parole officer was charged with assaulting a 14-year-old youth baseball umpire. New Jersey Assemblyman, Ruben Ramos, decided enough was enough and began work on sports rage legislation that would mandate public service announcements and signs at all youth sports venues in the state reminding spectators about New Jersey's law making assaults on officials at youth sports contests a crime.
In August, a mom allegedly attacked the head of the Sharon Springs Cheerleading Association in Georgia. The mom thought her 9-year-old daughter should have been placed on a squad with more experienced cheerleaders.
The start of football season brought us some particularly noxious acts. In August, Lake City High School and Wilson High School engaged in a bench clearing, helmet swinging brawl in Florence, South Carolina.
In September, a parent allegedly knocked out an assistant coach, smacking the coach in the head with a helmet in a Salt Lake City, Utah football game.
- Finally, an Amherst, Ohio parent and a youth football coach engaged in a particularly unprofessional incident that ultimately escalated into violence. The parent kept yelling at the coach to run a sweep. Finally, the coach did and the play was unsuccessful. The coach then allegedly told the parent, "There's your sweep." The parent allegedly responded by beating up the coach. Charges are pending in an incident where a parent acted like an idiot, leading a coach to become unprofessional, leading the parent to act like a thug.
It is important to note that these were not the only bad acts that occurred during this time period. Space and time considerations preclude a more extensive listing. Many youth organizations, high schools, and sports governing bodies are taking strong proactive measures to reduce bad acts.
As an example of the kind of good sportsmanship that is out there, the spotlight this quarter shines on Lowell, Michigan where the Lowell Red Arrows high school football team donned pink jerseys in their September 12th home game, with all game proceeds donated to breast cancer charities.
I also want to give a big shout out to Evergreen (Colorado) High School cheerleading coach, Tammy Dufford, and freshman cheerleader, Megan Bomgaars. Coach Dufford and Megan won the National High School Spirit of Sport Award in September. When Megan, who has Down's syndrome, joined the Evergreen Cheer team, her mother just wanted her to have fun and she told Coach Dufford that she'd understand if Megan wasn't selected for the competitive cheer team. But Coach Dufford worked with Megan and got her ready for competition. The Evergreen High team eventually won the small varsity division in a New Jersey regional competition. Coach Dufford and Megan are great examples of how youth sports can bring out the best in people and help them do more than they ever dreamed possible.
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