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"Bad Acts" in Youth Sports: 4th Quarter 2008 Edition

A Selective Listing Of Some Of The Worst Behavior In Youth Sports

The worst eamples of bad behavior in youth sports in the fourth quarter of 2008 (October to December) were:

  1. For years, Chicago coaches inflicted corporal punishment on their athletes. Coaches at Simeon High School, John Marshall High School, Wendell Phillips High School, and even some middle schools paddled athletes well into this century- heck, well into this year. The news of corporal punishment finally broke in September 2008 and the scope of the paddling was finally revealed in October.  Now, the big story is what to do about it all. Arne Duncan, the head of the Chicago Public Schools and slated to be Secretary of Education in the Obama administration, had recommended the termination of the paddlers, but because the coaches are winners, a surprising number of parents and community groups are saying they should be allowed to continue coaching.   How sad that they think child abuse is okay as long as the coach wins. Paddling and corporal punishment may have been an accepted norm in the 50s, 60s and even the early 70s at some schools, but it hasn't been an accepted practice in schools for decades.

  2. Is it worse to give your players a literal butt whupping or to try to poison your opponents? Don't answer. However, if you ever tried to convince yourself that cheerleading isn't a sport, think again. In November, three members of a Texas high school cheer team tried to win by tampering with their opponents' snacks. The cheerleaders wanted to win.  What athletes don't? Unfortunately, they put winning ahead of their sense of fair competition. There are certain things we don't do. 
  3. In November, a Stuart, Florida spectator went nuts and stabbed five people during a high school football game melee. Police needed tasers and dogs to break up the wild fight.

  4. In November, a Framingham, Massachussetts high school soccer game was marred by a wild brawl with over 100 fans charging the field after two players were ejected.

  5. In October, an Idaho football player struck a blow for the players. If a coach can whup a player's butt, a player can surely punch his coach out, right? Well, this Idaho student did it. He got arrested; maybe this wasn't a good idea after all.  

  6. In October, a group of high school girls from Vestal, N.Y. allegedly yelled racial slurs atAfrican-American girls on an opposing JV soccer team. Did they really do it? We'll never know. They keep denying it, and there's no smoking gun here. Whatever they said led their opponents from Horsehead High School to storm off the field and forfeit the game.

  7. Also, in October, a Georgia high school football game between Lakeside and Stone Mountain High Schools was called early due to a seven-player fight.

  8. Finally, in October two Seattle schools had a double forfeit after their football contest. It's bad enough that these schools fought, but it's even worse that their league regularly has this sort of behavior. In 2007-08, four schools in the league had five players or more receive ejections. The problem in this league is so bad that the State High School Association has stepped in to try to work with league officials to develop solutions.

As in my prior "bad acts" listings, and to balance out the scales, I want to give a shout out to a good act, program or organization. Kudos this time to the North Carolina High School Athletic Association, which has taken a strong stand for sportsmanship, partnering with the STAR Sportsmanship Program, and recently passing a rule requiring any player ejected from an athletic contest to take a STAR Sportsmanship course before being allowed to play again.