In case you’ve been sleeping under a rock the past month, here’s a reminder.
Eddie Bonine, executive director of the LHSAA, means business when it comes to poor sportsmanship.
It’s something he stressed when he first took the position over a year ago.
We get a reminder of how serious he is Tuesday night.
This is the night that the Landry-Walker and McDonogh 35 boys basketball teams are supposed to be playing for the second time this season.
Tuesday is when we were supposed to see McDonogh 35 guard De’ Jon Jarreau and Landry-Walker guard Lamar Peters go head-to-head for the second time this season and try to give us a show for the ages like they did last month.
You know the story.
A fight, involving a fan, broke out at the end of that game, and Bonine axed the second game between the two schools.
And if that wasn’t enough proof that Bonine is serious about cracking down on sportsmanship issues, we got another bit of evidence over the weekend when the LHSAA made its ruling ruled on the fight that occurred during a playoff football game between Amite and Bogalusa.
The teams will play again in the fall, but no fans will be allowed to attend the game.
It will be considered a closed competition.
Other than the players and coaches, the only people who will be allowed in the stadium will be band members, cheerleaders and paid staff leaders.
Imagine a Jesuit-Holy Cross game or a Karr vs. Landry-Walker game or a Destrehan-Hahnville or a Lutcher-St. James game with no fans.
It’s a drastic measure that Bonine was hoping he would never have to make, but it’s not unprecedented.
He’s seen it in Nevada, the state he came from.
I’ve seen it done in Mississippi.
Now the folks in Bogalusa and Louisiana get a taste of it and will have to miss out one of the most anticipated games on the schedule.
In addition, the ruling will also put a strain on the schools financially.
Schools rely on revenue raised from ticket sales and concessions to help their athletic budgets.
Now, they will have to try to make up the money that would have come from that game another way.
The only solution is for those playing games and watching games to not let their emotions get the best of them.
And yes, I know that’s a whole lot easier said than done.
Instincts tend to take over.
If you see a teammate in a fight, it’s a natural reaction to want to run onto the court or field or diamond and help.
If you do it, someone else will likely do it to. Then someone else. And then someone else.
Next thing you know, chaos.
So when the situation comes out, just think about the first 13 words of Rudyard Kipling’s poem entitled “If” :
“If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs…”
If you can do that, your games won’t get canceled and fans will get a chance to watch you play.
And if you can’t, Bonine will make you (and your team’s fans) suffer the consequences.