Media Timeout: Miami Ohio incident sets bad example

Someday I will have a son of my own. And someday he will come to me and ask me how he is supposed to respond after suffering a heart-breaking loss in some little league sport.

I'm not sure what I will tell my child, but I know what I won't tell him.

I won't tell him the story of Jon Wauford. I won't tell him how the Miami of Ohio defensive coordinator was led away by police after losing a game to Marshall.

I won't tell him that the Marshall fans rushed the field after Stan Hill scored on a one-yard run with five seconds left in the game. I won't tell him Wauford, in a moment of frustration and fury, lashed out on Robert Flaugher, who was celebrating the victory, by shoving him to the turf. Flaugher received a concussion and was taken to the hospital on a stretcher.

Wauford was taken to the police station in handcuffs.

I won't tell him about Taver Johnson either. Johnson, an assistant coach for Miami, watched the same game from the coach's box. Johnson didn't punch a fan, though. Instead, he punched holes in the wall and trashed the the coach's haven.

I won't tell him these things, because these are incidents that never should have happened in the first place. Everyone loses in sports. No one has ever played their entire career without losing a game. And chances are, at least one of those losses will be a heart-breaker.

When these things happen, the challenge is to rise above the circumstances. If you want to scream, if you want to yell, if you want to cry, that's okay. When your response becomes violent, however, that is when you need to slow down.

Everyone who has ever played a sport in the pasts at the little league level has heard the "you are representing your school" speech. If you don't know it, it goes something like this: "No matter what happens out there, remember that you are representing your school. How you act is a reflection on your school, your parents and your coaches."

Maybe Johnson and Wauford skipped class the day this speech was taught. Maybe they've said it so much that the words have lost meaning. But it is time coaches start providing the example for their players.

How can we expect our sons and daughters to be gracious in defeat when roll models are being carried away in handcuffs?

Maybe the fans shouldn't have rushed the field. The game was no major upset and it wasn't for a championship of any kind. But whether the crowd was right or wrong on this issue is irrelevant.

People shouldn't take their frustrations out on other people.

I will tell my child that.

Write to Jay at jdkenworthy@bsu.edu


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