Like most sportswriters, I have an appreciation for every sport and/or athlete.
There’s one thing I’m not a fan of — fans who push the limits too far.
I know this number is in the minority at high school events. However, I’ve encountered more fans displaying this type of behavior, which usually detracts from the games themselves, in recent years.
Baiting officials with personal attacks, threatening officials and making personal attacks on coaches or student/athletes are not OK. It’s offensive.
“We tell our officials not to have rabbit ears and no to listen to fans,” LHSAA assistant executive director Keith Alexander said. “They’re trained to let a lot of things go. But there are cases where it does get personal or you have a case where someone in the stands reaches out and touches an official or player.
“You want to avoid confrontations, which is why we tell officials to go to game management for the host school and let them handle having a fan removed from the gym or stadium.”
I was covering a football game when security was called to handle a group of fans who threatened an official keeping the clock. I was listened to parent encouraging/coaching his child at a basketball game last winter. That was fine until he added, “I’m not talking to you (to an opposing player), you’re terrible.”
Last month I was at a basketball game where fans started yelling “I Can’t Breathe” after their team was called for several fouls in a row.
If it was students exhibiting this type of behavior it would be one thing. In these instances it was adults. What kind of example is that?
Now that’s not to say that I haven’t looked at a play and said or thought an official missed a call. Everyone does that. It’s the continued attacks aimed at individuals I have a problem with.
“Sports are very emotional,” Baton Rouge Basketball Officials Association assignment secretary Virgil Pratt said. “When you’ve got a coach or athlete involved, you give them a chance to calm down.
“In a few minutes it’s usually over, and they’ve moved on to the next play or the next quarter. Fans tend to hold onto one thing longer and stay on it.”
Pratt said once fans buy their ticket they believe they’re entitled to say whatever they want about players, coaches and officials. He said officials and coaches accept that as a given. I don’t and neither do some colleges. Some Atlantic Coast Conference schools print conduct limits on the tickets they sell.
Alexander said the responsibility for game management rests with the host school and notes that no one wants to keep fans from having a good time. I agree.
But announcements and signs that explain which abusive behaviors won’t be tolerated might be a step in the right direction.
St. Joseph’s Hall of Fame
Two competitors and one coach are part of St. Joseph’s Academy’s first athletic Hall of Fame induction class.
Track standout Lurline Hamilton, soccer and track standout Allison Holladay and longtime volleyball coach Barbara McManus are scheduled to be inducted at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 28 at the school’s activity center.
All SJA teams that advanced to the state finals from 1950 to 1989 also will be honored.
Hamilton was the first female to receive a track and field scholarship to LSU and competed on the collegiate, international and masters levels. Holladay was a standout throws specialist and soccer goalkeeper.
McManus started the volleyball program at SJA and helped the Redstickers become a local and state power.
St. Michael the Archangel’s Tyler Morrison scored her 1,000th career point during a game with St. Amant last week. Morrison, a junior, is the 14th SMHS girl to crack the 1,000-point mark.
Broadmoor seniors Honchea Thornton and Mikayla Crockett scored their 1,000th career points early in the season and are on track to reach 1,500 points before the season ends, said BHS Terrance Gillette.
The McKinley Alumni Association invites all the school’s former male and female athletes to attend a 7 p.m. reception Tuesday at the McKinley Alumni Center located at 1520 Thomas Delpit Blvd.