In my “other” life as a political consultant, attorneys have often pointed out to me that “you’re not a lawyer.”
Let me make a further confession as a sports columnist: I’m not a coach, either. But I am an observer of sports and I often wonder about “fans” who think they are, in fact, coaches.
I have mentioned it before and pointed out that I think it is disrespectful for a fan to yell insults at his or her team’s coach from the sidelines. I also think it is a problem when a fan or parent talks negatively about a coach in the presence of his or her student/athlete(s).
But the biggest question I ever have about fans is why some feel compelled to inject themselves into the game atmosphere.
A case in point came during Sherman High School’s recent appearance in the state Single A softball tournament. One fan kept walking inside the Sherman dugout area so he could stand at the fence separating the dugout from home plate. He then proceeded to push his way against the fence to “coach” each Sherman batter as she stepped to the plate. The coaching went on during each girl’s entire time at bat.
“Now, (name omitted), don’t be nervous. Just be calm. You can hit this girl,” were among the items he consisently said to the SHS gals.
First of all, it is possible the Sherman batters weren’t nervous to begin with. Pointing out that they needed to be “calm” would probably be the wrong thing to say if they were.
The fan also tried to help them with their batting skills. “Choke up on the bat a little more (or less),” he would yell. It’s like a team that made it to the state championships had not had proper instruction in how to hit the ball.
Frankly, I have never had the urge to coach players, including my own sons. I figure that’s why teams have coaches who are qualified to coach. It is absolutely counterproductive for a parent or fan to interfere in a game itself, yet some do it constantly.
As I pointed out at the time, a “fan” likely cost Scott High School’s boys a basketball game by screaming the wrong number of fouls on a player. I am confident the fan giving instructions to Sherman did not help that situation, either.
I understand the age-old argument that a fan paid to get into the game and should be allowed to cheer and speak. But there is no reason for a parent/fan to think a team needs his or her instructions to win a game. Honestly, if I was a fan who couldn’t keep from coaching, I’d either get qualified to coach or I’d stay away from the games.
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While Chapmanville Regional High School, a state tournament squad, dominated the recently-announced all Cardinal Conference baseball team, hats off to Scott High for placing two on the all-conference first team.
All-around star athletes Dylan Brown and Brandon Lafauci led the Skyhawks to sixth-place in the league and earned first team recognition. The all-conference team was selected by the league’s eight coaches.
Four Skyhawk players made the second team. They are Logan Phillips, Garrett Castle, Scottie Thompson and Alex Miller.
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There is, of course, no objective way of choosing all-conference, all-county, or all-whatever teams. I certainly don’t think the league coaches should be selecting the mythical squad members.
While I certainly do not question the Scott players named to this all-conference team, I think there is a fundamental problem with such squads. Every selection is largely subjective and open to the whims of whoever selects the team members.
In most all-state high school sports, the sports writers covering the games make the picks. Even that is more of a popularity contest than an evaluation of whose skills are best. A local writer votes for his or her favorites without consideration of statistics.
I have long advocated a system similar to the ratings used for high school football teams to select these all-whatever squads. For example, in selecting a first baseman, points could be awarded for fewest errors or most home runs hit, etc. I know that I, in voting, always select the local players without regard to who might be better in Wheeling or Martinsburg.
Many student/athletes become discouraged when they feel they have played better than others but do not get all-state or all-conference recognition.
I still say the whole thing is a popularity contest and should not necessarily be confused with selecting the best players around. Certainly, coaches are not unbiased in their choices. At newspapers, I always let the fans select the teams, which to me seemed the fairest way to do it. But even then, likeability was the key ingredient.
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Story ideas, rumors, game scores and comments are always welcome. Use my email address or call me at 304-533-5185