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Hey, Coach! Clean Up Your Act

Don't let an intimidating figure continue to drop F-bombs during games and practices.

“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 by talking about the 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.

Ron Goralski March 20, 2012 at 08:20 PM
I write about real everyday issues in youth sports. I've experienced them and talk to experts in the field constantly. I'm not sure what your point is. There are major issues in youth sports that need to be dealt with. That much is obvious. I don't care that you haven't seen them or have turned your back to them or whatever. Do you think all of these people are making this stuff up? You have no idea how many youth sports events I've been to in the past 24 years. Or how many parents I have now connected with on various boards across the state. And regarding the negativity of my columns - you obviously have not read them all. There are more than three of them. So you can go back and forth with me on my opinions all day if you'd like to. I welcome it. But please do not tell me what my own eyes see and my own ears hear. There are too many witnesses to the bad behavior to sweep it under the field tarp. And if overbearing and inappropriate parents were a problem ten years ago as well - did you do anything to try and change that culture? I did. And I will continue to. If this week's column gets just 5 coaches to stop using inappropriate language and puts others on notice that it won't be tolerated anymore - our fields and courts have already become a better place. And THAT is my goal. And no amount of negative comments can make me flinch. Just sayin'...
Anthony Fiorino March 22, 2012 at 03:01 PM
I love this guy! Very well said. Best Coach Tony
Anthony Fiorino March 22, 2012 at 03:02 PM
Careful there. If not for badly behaved parents and coaches, I'd be out of a job!
Anthony Fiorino March 22, 2012 at 03:03 PM
Foomax, please look up and tell us what color the sky is in your world...you can't be serious about this one, right?
teresa hoff April 15, 2012 at 05:15 PM
that same exact thing happened in Windsor locks and the school board backed a kid who wanted long hair not the coach. I am old school, my dad played for Adolf Rupp and a little butt chewing is a good thing, in a different way for young kids in 6th grade but they need to learn and just saying that "everything is ok" is just as wrong. Some get A's and some get C's and I am very comfortable with that.

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