July 10, 2013

Editorial: Some adults just don't get it


---- — Many times over the years on this page we’ve reported on and commented about the lack of sportsmanship in many North County youth-sports events.

We believe that many parents and coaches around here have taken it seriously that they must use decorum in coaching and rooting our kids, that group of impressionable 6- to 15-year-olds, in any number of athletic disciplines.

But something occurred last month in Ballston Spa, just two hours down the Adirondack Northway, that makes our blood boil and is evidence that some adults haven’t gotten the message.

Briefly, here’s what happened:

The score was 11-0, bottom half of the last inning between the Ballston Bearcats and the Northeast Hurricanes, two teams playing .500 baseball in the Eastern New York Travel Baseball Association, made up of players 15 years old or younger.

With no one out and the Bearcats in their last at bat, one of there players rounded third base and made his way home on a base hit. It was a routine play. But the runner ran over the opposing catcher.

Citing the leagues no-collision rule, the umpire ejected the runner from the game. The Bearcats’ coach stormed out of the dugout and went toe-to-toe with the umpire, throwing expletives around like confetti at a wedding. The ump threw him out of the game, too.

After the game, the coach and a parent followed the umpire to his motor vehicle, shouting obscenities all the way. They both allegedly roughed up the umpire, causing minor injury. A criminal complaint may be filed.

All this in full view of the players from each team.

Good going, coach. By allowing your emotions to get the best of you, you’ve proceeded to embarrass yourself and stigmatize all the youngsters at the venue, not just the players, but their brothers and sisters, too.

Part of the problem is there’s usually no vetting process when securing volunteer coaches. Unless they’ve a history of hollering at umpires or kids, they’ll get a team because many youth leagues are in dire need of volunteers.

Sure, you can get a coach to sign a contract that outlines his or her behavior at practices and games. But it’s a pig in a poke; you won’t know what kind of an adult coach you have until you observe and evaluate.

Let us remind you adults that you’re role models to your children and their friends. The kids will mimic what they see and hear. It’s up to you to behave accordingly.

We can’t allow what happened in Ballston Spa to be repeated.