The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

September 6, 2013

A season filled with good cheer? | Mind your manners at sporting events


The Tribune-Democrat

JOHNSTOWN — Days are getting shorter, children are back in school and the air has an occasional coolness to it, which signals one thing – the onset of scholastic football season.

For the players, the two-a-day drills have been replaced by actual games against opponents. The coaches are optimistically wondering if all their plotting and planning will turn into winning seasons. And parents are eager to see their sons perform.

There are many storied football rivalries in the Greater Johnstown region: Conemaugh Township and Windber, Bishop McCort and Greater Johnstown and Richland and Forest Hills to name a few. These games, and many others, become quite heated at times, sometimes leading to pushing and shoving or an occasional shouting match between players, which is understandable when the players are trying hard to win.

A lot of our football players have been initiated into the game at an early age. Along with learning proper blocking and tackling techniques, route running and game preparation, we also hope the players have been taught the importance of sportsmanship. In every game, there will be a winner and a loser. We hope that coaches have instilled in their players how to do so graciously. We also hope that the players’ actions have made an impact on their parents. The most obnoxious fan is the one who constantly criticizes the coaches and officials. If he, or she, knows so much about the game, perhaps he or she should volunteer to be a coach, or a referee or linesman. Share your knowledge with the players and other fans.

What we hope doesn’t happen is the incident this past Friday when rival Alabama teams squared off against each other. Apparently, at the end of the game, a coach got into a shouting match with an opposing coach. A video of the scuffle, which has gone viral, shows one of the coaches punching the other. Players, coaches and law enforcement personnel swarmed the field in an attempt to restore sanity.

In cases such as that, we wonder, just who are the adults?

So go to the games, wear your school’s colors and show your school spirit as you root for your favorite team, just do so in a civil manner.