From the Sidelines – Friday night catfight ends game early
A full-fledged brawl broke out in the Lion’s Den during the Junior Varsity Lion’s basketball game against the New Braunfels Canyon Cougars on Friday, Jan. 25.
It was the most excitement the Lion’s Den had seen in a long time. The game ended with 4:57 left in the third quarter, the Canyon Cougars ahead by 20, and a score of 41-21.
If ever there was a time wh
en it was absolutely crucial for someone to be where he or she were supposed to be, doing what they were supposed to be doing, it was during Friday night’s JV basketball game.
The Varsity and Junior Varsity referees were “no-shows” so the Freshman game had to make due with just one referee as the other referee was borrowed to work the JV game. With only one referee covering the JV game, it was virtually impossible keep an eye on every play from at least two different vantage points.
Realizing that penalties and reprimands would be at least half the usual amount, the players took full advantage of the missing referee and the calls he would have made. More than the usual game aggressiveness began to take hold and the tension was palpable.
Players began elbowing each other at every available opportunity. Sneaking a push or a shove became a deliberate act of retaliation. Whenever anyone on their team got roughed up, the other players would respond with their own less than sportsmanlike behavior.
To his credit, the Freshman referee did the best he could to keep up with the JV players who knew they could get away with more since only one pair of eyes were calling the game.
Why did this happen? Is there a serious shortage of referees in Central Texas? Couldn’t the coaches from both teams recognize the escalating aggressiveness that was obviously going to come to a head without any one reigning in the boy’s testosterone driven aggression?
I am not excusing the boy’s abhorrent behavior. Please don’t think I’m saying, “Boys will be boys.” That is not it at all. Every serious athlete, at whatever level of competition, should be able to refrain doing anything that could be remotely considered unsportsmanlike.
Having said that, I do think the boys did what they did because they felt they were allowed to do it. Just like a child being reared needs to be told where the boundaries are, both JV teams needed to know where “the line” was so they would not cross it. After being able to get away with stepping all over “the line” by getting away with unsportsmanlike tactics, the boys felt compelled to continue stepping on the line until it was blurred enough to cross it and like a runaway freight train, there was no turning back.
After a bruising, fast paced first half, that grew increasingly aggressive, both teams made their way into their respective locker rooms, fuming.
The Lions and the Cougars licked their wounds (literally and figuratively) as they filed off the court and out of sight for the ten minutes that followed while the lone ref wiped the sweat from his beaded brow incessantly.
With the first quarter ending at 17-8 and the second quarter ending at 41-21, the Cougars should have been feeling pretty secure with their lead. Instead, they returned to the court even more determined to dominate the court.
Once back on the court, both teams seemed eager to pounce on the other without any remorse whatsoever. More of the same blatant disregard for each other was apparent from the first play. The rough play became deliberate pushing until a serious push turned into an all out shoving match forcing the inevitable brawl.
It was a chaotic scene to say the least. Everyone was caught up in the mayhem, coaches, trainers, students, parents, referee, and of course, local law enforcement.
Although it seemed like a lifetime, the chaos took mere seconds and like a single matchstick, it extinguished as soon as it burst into flames.
So, what is the lesson we can take from this…what do you call something like this? What ever it was, we are not the first and we certainly won’t be the last to experience it. The best thing to do, in my opinion, is something I learned a long time ago as a Boy Scout, “be prepared”.
That’s all I’m saying. (for now)