Is a bloody fight coming to your youth sports program next?

7/19/2013


The way things are going these days, why bother forking over big bucks for pay-for-view UFC fights?

You can catch all the vicious punches, kicks, blood and broken bones right down the street at your local youth sporting event for nothing.

Just ask those who attended a recent T-ball game in South Bend, Ind.

That’s right, T-ball.


t-ball fight youth sports


It seems the two coaches – ages 32 and 56 – were verbally sparring with one another during the game.

The nasty exchanges quickly escalated and according to reports the younger coach charged at the older one and knocked him to the ground – and all the kids, including a grandson who played on the older coach’s team – had a front row view of the brutality that ruined what should have been a day of fun.

By the time police arrived the final tally looked like this: An arrest for assault for the alleged attacker and a trip to the hospital for the other guy for a broken nose, burst blood vessels in his eyes and injuries to his ribs and thighs.

Now, I have racked my brain and I can’t come up with a single sensible reason why two grown men would resort to using their fists at a T-ball game. It’s so far beyond absurd.

Many years ago I coached a T-ball team in Michigan and there was one problem coach who just didn’t get it, much like these two guys. Every time his players went up to bat he would march up to the plate and have them turn their feet and rotate their bodies toward third base before they swung. He did this so that when they hit the ball it would dribble down toward third base and allow them to reach first base safely, since throwing a runner out in a T-ball game from the third base area happens about as often as a lunar eclipse.

So basically he was teaching his players an improper batting stance all so they could get base runners and win the game. I’ll never forget it. This guy was absolutely clueless on what coaching kids was all about.

So did this irk me? You bet.

Did it bump my blood pressure up a few points? Oh yes.

But I was never on the verge of engaging in embarrassing dialogue with him regarding his ridiculous coaching tactics in front of innocent kids, and I certainly wasn’t interested in sprinting across the field to knock the guy silly.

It goes to the mindset of too many of today’s volunteers. They show up in our programs with this incredibly warped perspective and amazingly forget that the only reason they should be out there – the only reason – is for the kids.

And while there are so many incredibly committed administrators out there running truly awesome programs, there still are far too many operating with a I’ll-just-keep-my-fingers-crossed mentality that nothing will go wrong in my program.

It doesn’t work that way. And never will.

Programs have to train their coaches. They have to drill into them what is expected of them. And they most certainly have to hold every single coach accountable for their behavior at all times.

We’ve got a serious problem – and it’s not going away anytime soon.

There will be another fight at a youth game in the coming days, there’s no doubt about that.

The question is what is your community doing to make sure that the blood that will be spilled won’t be on your youth athletic fields, in front of your kids?


The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the National Alliance for Youth Sports.

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