bad sports, good sports

Bad sports, good sports: Father assaults middle school basketball coach

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Watching your children play sports is fun. My girls did not spend a great deal of time playing sports, being more inclined toward the performing arts, but they did play basketball for several years when they were younger. They were never more than role players on their teams, but I used to love sitting and watching them play. I am a hot-headed sports fan, so my grumbling about bad calls was occasionally louder than it should have been, but I never went too far with it. I did once tell our coach, after listening to him tell me about bad officiating, that we would probably get better calls if his own daughter didn’t repeatedly mouth off to the referees and show up her teammates. He reacted negatively to my comments, but he kept his daughter on a very short leash for the rest of that season. Many people would look at that situation as far more confrontation than they would be comfortable with. Shelly Miller, a man from the oddly named Michigan City, Indiana, would probably see my little incident as child’s play.

One day last week, Miller’s daughter, who played for her middle school’s basketball team, got in an argument with another player on her team during practice. An assistant coach disciplined the two girls by making them run laps around the gym. Sounds reasonable, right? I can not think of a more obvious punishment in that situation, and I would guess that most coaches have made that same choice at one time or another. I have never coached, but I have no problem at all with a coach meting out that sort of simple discipline. Mr. Miller apparently felt differently. When he arrived at the end of practice, his daughter told him of the punishment. Miller’s response was to walk up to Jeffrey Yackus, the coach in question, and punch him in the face, knocking him to the floor. Not content to stop there, Miller then jumped on Backus and punched him in the head repeatedly until he lost consciousness. The team’s head coach jumped in and pulled Miller off of Yackus, and the police were called.  Miller was arrested and charged with battery.

I realize this may sound like a silly question, but what the hell is wrong with people? On what planet is that any kind of reasonable response? Has our sense of entitlement grown so large that no punishment is ever acceptable, regardless of how well-deserved it might be? I am sure there are coaches out there that cross the line, whether it be with physical or verbal abuse, although I would suggest that it is a small minority of that population. I am certain that it would take a whole lot more than a coach having one of my daughters run laps to elicit even a fraction of Miller’s response. I read stories involving sports quite often, as you might imagine, and many of them involve some kind of negativity. Despite that, I still managed to be astonished when reading this story. I guess the fact that it involved kids and a middle school basketball team brought it closer to home. Fortunately, not so close that I ever saw something like this occur.

Bad sports, continued:

2) It was a bad week for middle school basketball coaches. An assistant coach in Massachusetts attacked the coach of the team that had just defeated his squad on Friday, biting off part of his ear. Maybe it was a protest on behalf of his fellow assistant coach in Indiana. Either that, or he is a huge fan of Mike Tyson.

3) Fabrice Muamba, a midfielder for Bolton of the English Premier League, collapsed in the middle of a match on Saturday. He suffered an apparent cardiac arrest and remains in critical condition in a hospital in London.

4) Officially ending what was a tumultuous time at Georgia Tech, Glen Rice Jr., son of the former NBA player, was kicked off the school’s basketball team this week after being involved in yet another incident. This time, he was a passenger in a vehicle that was stopped after a report of a gunshot being fired in the car. Rice was neither driving nor the alleged shooter, but his involvement in the bizarre event was enough for the university to cut ties.

5) The Southern Mississippi basketball team lost its opening round game in the NCAA Basketball Tournament on Thursday, but that was not the worst thing to happen to that program that night. Several members of the school’s band were overheard chanting “where’s your green card?” to a Latino player on the opposing Kansas State team whenever he touched the ball.  You stay classy, Southern Miss.

6) A night before signing a free-agent contract with the Chicago Bears, former Miami Dolphins wide receiver Brandon Marshall was accused of assaulting a woman at a New York nightclub. The Bears say they were aware of the charge before signing Marshall.

Good sports:

1) The NFL punished the Dallas Cowboys and the Washington Redskins on Monday, docking them large sums of money against their salary caps for the next two seasons for the way they handled some contracts during the uncapped year of 2010. Honestly, I am not sure whether or not this punishment is fair or justified, but those teams are two of my least favorite teams in the league, so I feel okay laughing at their misfortune. I never said I was objective.

2) Philadelphia Flyers goalie Ilya Byrzgalov set the team record for consecutive shutout minutes this week. His streak of over 249 minutes ended in the 3rd period of Thursday’s game against the New York Islanders, when Michael Grabner scored on him.

3) The NCAA Basketball Tournament started this week, and there were many great moments in the first couple of rounds. Only four 15-seeds had ever won a game in the tournament before this year, but that didn’t stop two of them from winning on the same day this time around. Norfolk State beat Missouri early in the day on Friday, and then Lehigh beat Duke that night.

4) Dallas Seavey became the youngest-ever winner of the Iditarod on Tuesday, crossing the finish line of the world’s most famous dog sled race at the age of 25.

Bad sports, good sports appears every Monday

Alan Spoll is a software quality assurance director from the suburbs of Philadelphia where he lives with his wonderful wife and children. He has spent his entire life as a passionate fan of the Eagles, Phillies, Sixers, Flyers, and Penn State. Recent Phillies success aside, you will understand his natural negativity. Follow me on Twitter - @DocAlan02
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