Column by Dennis Mills
It’s first down early in the first quarter of Knox Central’s playoff game against Taylor County. The Panthers are playing to extend their historic district championship season and a flag flies from an official. The coaches look stunned because they see no infraction on their team. Then why was a flag thrown?
It’s a warning for the Knox Central fans to clear the sideline so the referees have room to officiate the game.
It’s late in the second quarter of the girls’ grade school basketball tournament championship when the game suddenly comes to a stop. An official is in a heated argument with, no, not a coach who is challenging a call; it’s a fan who has decided to view the game while standing at the end of the court. Knox Central’s Athletic Director Jeff Canady steps in and has the fan take a seat in the gymnasium.
It’s 4th and seven, the clock shows 6:45 remaining in the fourth quarter and Knox Central holds on to a slim 15-12 lead over Taylor County in the playoffs. Central snaps the ball and a perfect pass is thrown to the 5-yard line for a first down that leads to an eventual score to advance the Panthers to the second round of the playoffs. Great play, except, again the officials warn the fans to back up off the sideline and, yet again, Athletic Director Jeff Canady has to step in and ask a fan to move back while the fan argues that the game has not been called fair.
It’s Saturday and all the elementary basketball players have gathered for a panorama to open the new season. A fun-filled atmosphere surrounds the Knox Central gymnasium as each A and B team competes in an exhibition game. Two teams are locked into an intense battle as the score goes back and forth. The players are having fun, the fans are having fun, when the referee blows his whistle and T’s up a coach. There is nothing wrong with a coach showing passion during an exhibition match. The referee, shortly after, blows the whistle for the second time and a second technical is called, followed by the coach being asked to leave the gym.
I could go on. There are plenty more incidents, but I think you get the point. The one thing I failed to mention in each of the examples is that each and every example involved a parent of one of the athletes.
I understand. I am a parent. I support my children in everything they do, and I am passionate whether it is on the field or in the classroom. However, I do not take the spotlight from my children by causing a scene at any of their events. I help my children prepare, and when it is time for them to shine or fail, I trust in them and enjoy the moment when they are in the spotlight.
As an outside observer, I want to challenge you as parents to get off the sidelines and allow your child to shine. Let the officials do their job and refrain from coaching from the sidelines. Show some respect to the officials and, most of all, show some respect to the players and your children.
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