I am amazed with some parents during youth sports functions, whether it is Pop Warner or High School and yesterday I saw firsthand how one parent could make a spectacle of himself and cause a coach to have to defend himself.
Yesterday, Wilson High School (Long Beach, California) was visiting Artesia High School in a junior varsity football game. Junior varsity football does not attract many fans and because of the 3:15 start time not many parents can make it. The other thing about JV Football is that it is very much an instructional and developmental level of football. This is where the coaches take the young boys and try to develop their skills so they can move up to the next level (Varsity) and compete. The coaches need to instill winning habits and winning the football game is important but the educational part of the game is of the utmost.
My nephew plays for Wilson High School and I like to go watch him and see how he is developing as a football player. (He is 15) One of the defensive coaches for Wilson High School is Alfred Rowe. He played two years at USC, brother Kenny Rowe is playing for the San Francisco 49ers and his younger brother, Matthew Rowe, is an outstanding football player for Poly High School (Long Beach, Ca). What is more important is that Alfred Rowe's dad, is a good friend of mine. We went to college together and we were roommates and not to mention he was an outstanding fullback for Long Beach State back in the early 80s. Needless to say, Alfred Rowe's football background is extensive. I would have to say he knows what he is talking about.
The game is about to start and one of the parents arrives and takes a seat on the top row of the bleachers. Within minutes of him taking his seat, this parent turns into Mr. Megaphone. He becomes PA announcer, color commentator, play-by-play announcer and his son is the greatest one on the team. If you don't believe me, just ask him. The parent was even telling the coaches this. It was annoying.
I did not know at the time who is son was but as the game progressed, I learned. His son was one of the wideouts. The parent (we will call him Mr. Megaphone) kept screaming to throw him the ball. What Mr. Megaphone did not see was that Wilson's quarterback was not getting much time. The coaches switched to a ground attack in order to get the passing game going. Not good enough for Mr. Megaphone. He turned his commenting now to the coaching staff. When he saw that this wasn't getting anywhere, he turned his commenting to the refs, who were doing a fine job. One ref was a middle aged man with a knee brace and Mr. Megaphone decided to make comments about the refs injured knee. You might be asking, do you think they could hear him? Yes, there weren't many people in the stands and this guy was loud, the coaches heard and the refs heard. His comments were completely uncalled for.
At one point, Mr. Megaphone's son got a ball thrown to him and he dropped it. He was pulled from the game (don't know if they were going with a different package or did they pull him because of the drop, can't answer that). When he was pulled, he threw his hands up in the air and walked off and gave a wave to the coach. He walked past the coach and sat down on the bench. He leaned back and draped his arms over the backrest. This is an act of defiance and one coach came over and spoke to him. He reluctantly got up. I guess the apple doesn't fall far from the tree.
Alfred is coaching the defensive side and I like his style of coaching. Alfred doesn't take hooey from anyone on the sidelines. Alfred uses some colorful language in describing his unhappiness. That is just football. At one point one of his defensive players screwed up and Alfred became Donald Trump, he was firing people. He screamed, "Hey you, what in the world was that, you're fired." Now I guess in this politically correct world this just doesn't cut it. You can't learn to play football riding in a golf cart and eating twinkies. It is a tough and demanding game. It is a paramilitary organization and orders have to be followed.
Wilson won 33-7 and one of the coaches came up to the stands and said, "Parents, if you want to come down and talk to the kids, let's do it quick, we have to get on the bus." The coaches are in charge of the kids in all school functions and as long as they are not doing anything to jeopardize the safety of the kids, you have to let them be in charge.
I went out to talk to my nephew and Alfred was telling the kids, let's go, we have to get on the bus. You can keep talking to your parents but keep walking. Not a very demanding request. My nephew is the king of dawdlers and Alfred had to tell him, let's go, move it, we need to get on the bus. So we started to walk a little faster. Mr. Megaphone did not like this because his son was being told to do something. Mr. Megaphone started to scream at Alfred, "You can't talk that way to my son." and Alfred said, "Yes I can, I am his coach." Mr. Megaphone was now getting more belligerent. He was saying things to Alfred that were not necessary and because of what? Oh yea, Alfred was trying to do his job and get the kids on the bus.
Alfred took his backpack off and turned and faced Mr. Megaphone. A hockey skirmish ensued, everyone trying to hold back Alfred and Mr. Megaphone. My nephew tried to get in the middle and I screamed at him, "Get on the bus!!! What in God's green earth are you going to do? Get!!!" Lot's of words were exchanged but no punches were even close to being thrown but Mr. Megaphone would not let up!!!
Both parties were separated and after 10 minutes the field was cleared. On the way to my football practice, I just shook my head. We wonder why our educational system is so broke. We give teachers the responsibility to teach our children. We pay these teacher a pittance and then when they are just trying to do their job, they have to listen to the bullshit from Mr. Megaphone. No parent has the right to tell a football coach, I'll kick you ass for telling a kid to step it up and get on the bus.
I spoke to Alfred's dad this morning and he said that Alfred is not allowed to be on Wilson High School until their investigation is done. What investigation needs to be done? A parent was a donkey from the time he walked into the stands, threatened an employee of the school and the school is investigating the coach. WOW!!!
I told Alfred's dad that I will help in anyway that I can to show that Mr. Megaphone was completely wrong and out of line. I will use the Eric Stratton defense.