Parents should police parents


September 09, 2002|by MARK KELLER

From little league baseball to high school football, vocal fans and screaming coaches are the norm.

It's easy for parents and coaches to get wrapped up in the game, sometimes to the point that they do or say things that they wouldn't consider under normal circumstances.

But for the most part, things usually don't get too far out of hand. The vast majority of these folks know where the line is drawn ... and though they may toe it every so often, they rarely - if ever - cross it.

Two weeks ago, the state of New Jersey took unprecedented steps to ensure nobody does cross that line without there being consequences.


On Aug. 26, Gov. Jim McGreevey signed into law a bill that allows a school board or youth sports organization to establish a code of conduct for all athletes, coaches, officials and parents as a condition for competing in any sport.

The penalty for breaking the code of conduct - banishment until a course in anger management is completed.

"This is a one-strike law. You misbehave once and you're out. We're not giving two or three strikes," McGreevey said.

Now, I don't condone any coach or parent or fan deriding players, whether from their own team or the opposition. Nor do I condone any coach or player constantly hounding officials.

However, isn't a state law taking things just a little bit too far?

Nobody wants to see a repeat of the "hockey dad" case, in which a father beat his son's coach to death. But how much good would a law like this have done in that instance?

And who judges when the code of conduct has been broken? The president of a little league? The security guard at a high school event?

It's up to the parents to police themselves. It's up to the coaches and officials to police the players. It's up to athletic directors and administrators to police the coaches.

They know when there is a problem. They need to be the one's to have the gumption to stand up and address it before it becomes disastrous.

They shouldn't have to rely on the state to do it for them.

Just when you thought I was going to get my head shaved, the strike was averted and the Orioles kept losing.

With Saturday's loss to Anaheim, the Orioles have dropped 13 of 14 games since getting back to .500 on Aug. 23.

At 12 games under .500 with 22 to play, my magic number for keeping my hair is 6. That's the number of losses it will take to lock up a losing season for the Orioles.

But hey, you never know. Oakland just rattled off 20 wins in a row. It could happen again.

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