This is incredibly weird: the MACA softball team got on the bus to play a game at Montevideo Thursday, but were denied the opportunity to play. Based on my vast experience with youth sports, gained from a media perspective, controversy ends up not being worth the trouble. Play the game, follow the rules and accept the results. We do not live in a perfect world.
People can get so absorbed in high school sports, investing so much emotion, they can make a federal case of things. Was it the Monte players' idea to forfeit Thursday's game as a protest gesture? That's what it was: a wagging of the finger, or the display of a certain finger (figuratively), at the people who administer high school sports.
Background: a decision had been made to suspend the Monte coach for a game. The decision was made in an orderly way, it appears, even if one might be skeptical about it. But the waters got roiled.
This is like complaining about an official's call in an emotionally charged sports situation. I can remember being at Tiger football games in the pre-Big Cat Stadium days, and hearing such harsh language coming from fans standing behind me on the north side of the field - the visitors' side. The refs would be in the crosshairs of these individuals who did not seem to be having a good time at all.
Many times I wondered how people would even be willing to take a job as a referee or umpire. I would feel the wrath of the parents/fans myself sometimes, like from our family dentist.
Are these games even worth the trouble? Are they worth the trouble when we can't even get everyone to accept the judgment of people in responsible positions of overseeing these activities? Do the players themselves care that much, or is it just their parents?
Whatever, there were emotions on display in the manner of what the Montevideo Thunder Hawks did on Thursday as they walked off the field. They walked off the field! This after our Tigers took the trouble to board a bus and be transported to Montevideo.
Monte is a nice town, I have always felt, but it sure wasn't hospitable on Thursday. It was a total downer. The Monte student-athletes were totally rude hosts, absorbed in their parochial dislike of a decision having been made vs. their coach. This coach is Kyle Goslee.
Flashback to Tuesday: Goslee had his Thunder Hawks in action vs. ACGC. He had a dispute with an umpire. Such things happen. A line of restraint must be drawn in the amateur world of prep sports where one of the objectives is to promote orderliness and a pleasant decorum. OK, so the coach made his feelings known. Did he cross a line? Was this "rhubarb" excessive?
Goslee got ejected just like "Coach Dale" might be ejected in the movie "Hoosiers." Goslee's side of the story: he didn't raise his voice or speak inappropriately. That's a vague assertion. Someone thought it was inappropriate. This isn't the pros. We need to make sure we can keep hiring umpires and referees. I think this job can be incredibly difficult. I sure wouldn't want it, especially for football.
The rules called for coach Goslee to sit out the next full game following his ejection. That's what stuck in the craw of the Monte student-athletes or their parents. So on Thursday, after one pitch was thrown, Monte players gathered at home plate and announced they were forfeiting. Goslee was present just to observe away from his coaching role. He said he wasn't aware of his team's intent to forfeit. He said he tried to get his team to keep playing, but the players were defiant on this too.
The players left the field. So I suppose the MACA Tigers, who had no dog in this hunt of a festering dispute, had to re-board their bus and simply come home. It's a travesty. The High School League should look into this incident and recommend some course of action, perhaps to make Monte forfeit the rest of the season.
Goslee indicated he "appreciated the show of support" for him, even though the players didn't respect his wishes for them to continue. That's an odd little contradiction, so maybe the problem is Goslee himself. He was quoted saying: "It's nice that they stood up for me for what they saw as an unjustified ejection."
The players' opinions on such a matter aren't supposed to count so much. Part of being a high school student is to defer to authority and the orderly process set up for you. You might not like or approve everything all the time. But just play the game. We can't blame the players. Right now my inclination is to blame coach Kyle Goslee.
As I ponder this further, I wonder about the role of the person designated as head coach for the Thursday game, which I presume would be the assistant. What were that person's actions? What did this individual hear about the players' intentions? Did he/she direct the players to take the field and play the game, regardless of their feelings? If he/she did and the players were defiant, some sanctions are in order for the players. If he/she didn't, the punishment should fall on this individual. He/she had the head coach's responsibility that day.
And I wonder if Goslee should have even been present. He should have considered it a distraction, I feel. Bottom line: people involved in youth sports can get way carried away with their emotions. The sun will come up tomorrow, I assure you. We want the student-athletes to take the same temperate, mature attitude. I think down deep, many of the Monte players would have wanted to play.
I suppose certain people would have their neck turn red just reading this post. That's part of the problem.