“What the heck were you trying to do on that play?”
“Next time keep running. The kid could have dropped the darn ball.”
“You guys keep messing it up. Let’s do it again.”
Those could be the words of any 6th-, 7th- or 8th-grader’s coach. Nothing wrong with it — right?
Now replace a few words: heck with hell; darn with damn; messing with screwing. Some of you wouldn’t mind it, while others might do a double take. But if your kid is watching South Park or Family Guy or listening to Eminem — well, you know.
Now replace those words with a variation of the F-word. Yeah, it’s not only turning your head now, but your mind is trying to figure out if your ears are playing it back correctly.
You’ve never heard it used by your kid’s coach? Wonderful! That’s the way it should be.
I’ve heard it — too many times. I’ve heard coaches using it during games and I’ve spoken with parents and players who have heard it during games as well as practices.
So what have I done about it? Well, as the board member of a youth league, I’ve either addressed the issue myself or taken it to the Executive Board where it was then handled.
What about when an out-of-town team’s coaches are dropping F’s like pigeons letting loose on your windshield? I witnessed it just a few months ago. The referees were alerted as well as that team’s attending league official. If that doesn’t stop it, keep working your way up the ladder.
But what about the coach that everyone knows about — the repeat offender? He’s on your league’s board. He’s described as intimidating. Your kid doesn’t want to tell you because he’s already not playing much. YOU — you have heard that he will most definitely be sore ("Leave it to Beaver" term) if you call him on it.
I hear the tapping of the keyboards already. “Oh c’mon Ron, there you go again! Killing the coaches and sounding so negative.” To you, Mr. or Mrs. Keyboard Tapper, I ask that you stop reading now and maybe take in an episode of Full House.
My email box has become a virtual bucket for various youth sports issues throughout the listening area. Some are internal problems that would require the United Nations, while others simply need a heads-up from a neutral party to a league official.
One particular issue came to me from more than one concerned party. Without much effort I had it verified by others. Some had been complaining about the issue for a couple of years.
I bet you’ve already guessed! It involved a coach with a potty mouth. And folks, I promise we are not talking about a witch hunt here as I am rather hip to the signs of one.
I can’t decide what bothers me more: the foul language or the fact that some people think they are above being called out and reprimanded. Like they don’t have to follow the rules and don’t any of us dare insinuate otherwise.
So I dropped an email to a board member of that particular league and was told it would be addressed.
Ha! Caught you again, Mr. and Mrs. Keyboard Tapper. “So Ron, who died and left you in charge of policing the youth sport’s landscape?” And to you I say, nobody. I have a habit (good or bad) of inserting my opinion and maybe even rubbing a few people the wrong way — but always with the good of the children in mind. I can’t help it. Medication didn’t work. Mean-spirited comments don’t seem to deter me either. Group therapy is next.
Until I’m cured of this obsession of mine, I’ll most likely keep harping on the little things (in some minds) that are ruining (in other minds) youth sports today.
So Coach Doo-doo Mouth, this one is for you. We are all listening now and if you don’t cut it out, we are going to cut you out of coaching our kids.
If I’m going to type the hype I need to wipe the gripe (ok not as smooth as, talk the talk –walk the walk but I tried).
I have a programming note to pass along. I will be on the Hey Coach Tony Show on ESPN Radio (see his Facebook page for station info) on Saturday, March 24 at 9 a.m. if I’m not overtaken with panic beforehand.
And finally: Last week I spoke to my new best friend, Bob Bigelow (Just Let the Kids Play: How to Stop Other Adults from Ruining Youth Sports). He entertained me for over an hour with antidotes for curing that which is turning youth sports more into a playground for adults than for kids.
If you still think elite/select teams are a wonderful thing, I am begging you to read his book. It might not be as powerful as hearing his deep, booming voice, but you’ll get that opportunity next fall when he’s back in the area.