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Don’t let your arrogance exceed your ignorance

September 7, 2009
By MIKE MATHISON, Sports editor

Well, it just didn't take long.

The soccer season is three weeks old, the football season it two weeks old, the volleyball season one week and garbage is already spewing out of the mouths of alleged adults.

Whether it's a hand ball in soccer, a lift in volleyball or an 0-2 start in football, there already are far too many things being said that should never be said.

Don't let your arrogance exceed your ignorance.

On a day when these coaches are, hopefully, spending time with their families, let's all get back to the reality of life.

Not all kids are great athletes.

Not all kids are great students.

Not all kids get equal playing time.

Not all kids work as hard as the person next to them.

Every kid can work hard, in or out of the classroom, there is no talent in that.

Every kid can be a great teammate, there is no talent in that.

Every kid can give it 100 percent, there is no talent in that.

Less than six percent of high school football, baseball and soccer athletes play the game in college.

If such is the case, why do parents think their kids are in the six percent and not in the 94 percent?

I expect my children to be in the 94 percent.

I will not discourage them from doing their best to be in the six percent, but my reality is different that yours.

I do not care how much my child plays, I do care how they play when they are in there.

They have a testimony to give and that is about heart and attitude.

I go back to my favorite line in "Facing the Giants," said by coach Grant Taylor right before he had the alleged star of the team, Brock Kelley, do the death crawl, "Your attitude is like the aroma of your heart. If your attitude stinks, it means your heart's not right."

This goes for everybody - everybody.

If you are going to rip the coach to shreds in front of people and blast him or her because you think they lost the game for you, then your attitude and heart are in the wrong place.

And, if you do that, when you do have a legitimate concern, no one should listen to you because of your previous actions.

You see, coaches spend all week trying to figure out ways to win a football game, then do everything in their powers on Friday and Saturday nights to make sure their team loses.

That was sarcasm, just in case you missed it.

Coaches do not fumble, jump offsides or commit stupid penalties.

Do coaches make mistakes? Absolutely.

Humans make mistakes. Your son makes mistakes. Your daughter makes mistakes.

But, dressing down a coach in front of an audience is not a mistake, it's a choice and a terrible one at that.

You see, that coach has family and when you jump on the coach you jump on the family.

When you are complaining in the stands about how terrible a coach is, you are hurting others in that family.

But, you really don't care, do you.

You just want to be a completely selfish person and rip that coach to shreads so you can feel better about yourself.

If you have told your child for five straight days to clean the bedroom and they have yet to do so, what do you think your child is like in practice? Do you really think it's much different?

If I were a soccer coach, I would do everything in my power to always have my team on the sideline opposite the stands where the parents are sitting.

You see parents, while the coach is talking to your child about going left, you are screaming at the top of your lungs for your child to go right.

While you are yelling at the goalie to stay back, the coach has asked them repeatedly to come out on certain situations.

Which voice does the athlete listen to?

If the parent gets the ear, the athlete gets in trouble from the coach for not following directions.

If the coach gets the ear, the athlete gets in trouble at home for not following directions.

Anybody else see a problem there?

Parents and other adults, let's be positive.

Believe me, it's really not that hard.

That's why golf is so good - what did you shoot?

That's why cross country is so good - what was your time?

It's cut and dried in those sports.

You only get better because of the time you spend in the offseason getting better.

Hear that parents.

You only get better because of the time you spend in the offseason getting better.

When your son says he needs to be at school at a certain time to lift weights, that son needs to be at school at that certain time.

No questions.

Get them there.

If your daughter said basketball conditioning starts at a certain time, that does not mean that's the time your child gets to the school. That child is late and the team will suffer because that child is late.

Years ago when I was still in the golf business as an assistant professional, our boss said over and over again that if your shift starts at 8 a.m., be there at 7:45 a.m. to do all the things you need to do and be ready to get behind the counter at 8 a.m.

You do not get to work at 8 a.m., do all the things you need to do and be ready to work at 8:15 a.m.

If you every played golf at a busy public golf course, an 8 a.m. tee time meant that at 8 a.m. you were on the tee putting the peg in the ground.

An 8 a.m. tee time did not mean you showed up at 7:59.

It's the same in sports.

If weight lifting starts at 6 a.m. or 6 p.m., you are there at 5:45 a.m. or 5:45 p.m.

If Saturday basketball practice starts at 7:30 a.m., you are there by 7:15 a.m. so when 7:30 rolls around, you are ready to go.

Youth football parents can be much worse.

Read my lips, it is not about your kid.

It is about the team.

If the coach wants your kid to be on the offensive line, so be it.

Your small, slow son, right now, is not the next Joe Montana.

Someone has to play on the line on both sides of the ball and if you think your son is too good for that, you are a parent no coach wants to deal with you from here until the day your child exits high school.


Finally, I heard this at a recent soccer game, "Go back to ref school."

Seriously, that's what you want people to hear?

By the way, there is a serious shortage of soccer refs at all levels.

Want to know why? Parents.

How about you go to ref school?

You see, the same parents who are whining about a missed hand ball or some sort of incidental contact or something else, are the same parents who do not hollar at the refs when a player on the team they are rooting for rips an elbow into the back of the head of the opposition.

This is high school sports and 94 percent of the athletes now in uniform will not be in one when it's time for college.

(Mathison, a Weirton resident, is the sports editor of the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times and can be contacted at

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