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Best and Worst in Youth Sports: July to December 2010

There was, as usual, plenty of bad behavior by parents and athletes in the second half of 2010.  Here are just some of the worst:

  1. Top of the Hill. One can debate whether this is the worst act, but it sure is the most disgusting.  Preston Hill, a Fresno, California high school wrestler, jammed his finger up a freshman wrestler’s anus during a practice.  Hill claims that he was doing the “butt drag”, a technique of grabbing an opponent’s butt cheeks for leverage during a match, and simply slipped.  Hill’s opponent disagrees – basically arguing that the odds are against a butt drag technique slipping into anal penetration.  In effect, the opponent claimed that this was hazing.  Hill was expelled from school.  His opponent agreed not to pursue criminal charges after Hill took an LA Sheriff’s Department tolerance course called Stop Hate and Respect Everyone (SHARE).
  2. Moon over New York City. Believe it or not, Preston Hill wasn’t the only person to have a negative buttocks incident.  A New York football coach mooned opposing fans who were heckling him.  Like so many things in this modern era, the coach was caught on film.  His principal fired him, ending a rather low moment in New York City high school sports.
  3. Whip-a-dee-do-da. In a more conventional, but no less inappropriate incident, WJTV in Jackson, Mississippi reported that a high school basketball coach whipped his players.  The coach allegedly has stated that he was attempting to combat a self-destructive society.  This coach is not finding many defenders.  However, in Chicago, a winning, veteran coach had a number of defenders when he was allegedly caught on film whipping his players.  One parent even told the school board that the coach could “hit that butt” if it helped the team win.
  4. Slamma jamma.  Mason Holland, a Florida high school basketball player, body-slammed a referee after he was ejected from a basketball game.  Yes, Holland was caught on film.  He was kicked off the team. The Holland saga doesn’t end here, though.  Holland, who is a senior in high school, was arrested in May, 2011 on charges of lewd and lascivious behavior for allegedly having sex with a 12 year old.
  5. Ref attacks. Mason Holland isn’t the only person to attack a referee.  A baseball umpire was knocked out by a parent in a Vallejo, CA summer league game in July of 2010.  A basketball official was attacked by spectators at a middle school girls’ basketball game in Whitesburg, Kentucky.
  6. Bribing. Why beat the ref, when you can try to bribe him?  Michael Kman, a Pennsylvania basketball coach, pleaded guilty to harassment in September of 2010.  Kman actually offered a CYO basketball referee $2,500 to rig a game.  Talk about a guy who doesn’t get it.  There’s never been a game in the history of the CYO that was worth a $2,500 bribe.
  7. Punch and judy.  In an absolutely disgusting incident, two Georgia football teams held a scrimmage.   Not a game.  Just a scrimmage.  Fans for one team actually cheered when a player from the opposing team was hurt.  It gets worse, though.  The teams engaged in a full-scale brawl capped off by a player from one school hitting an opposing coach in the back of the head while the coach was trying to separate players.  Not to be outdone, another player circled the perimeter of the brawl, sucker punching people.


On the other hand ... 

As is my practice, for each act of violence or poor sportsmanship displayed,  I like to highlight a good deed, program or organization. Here are just two: 

In August, the Basketball Hall of Fame gave Alfreda Harris  the Mannie Jackson Award for lifelong accomplishments on behalf of her community.  A Boston school board member and former JC basketball coach, Harris runs an SAT Prep program, after-school basketball programs, and has worked with Reebok to bring computers and tutors into areas sorely lacking in educational essentials.

Also, the often-maligned NCAA has stepped up to run a health program that has received surprisingly little publicity.  In 2010, the NCAA started testing all Division I college athletes for sickle-cell trait.  This is a positive move to protect athletes’ health.  Of course, the NCAA’s concern for sickle-cell trait is partially motivated by a lawsuit against the NCAA, but the NCAA still deserved credit for taking a much stronger action than they probably needed to.  Aggressive acts to protect athletes’ health are always a good thing.

Posted July 27, 2011