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Act like you’ve been there before

Consider it a trickle-down effect.

Or maybe, label it wrongful worshipping.

Or perhaps, erroneous emulation.



Whatever sports fans deem it to be, they know it when they see it.

And unfortunately, we’re reading – if not seeing firsthand – more of it in the prep sports scene.




Me-ism?

That’s about the closest I can come to defining the sight of an athlete drawing attention to himself at the expense of an opponent.

Pathetic?

That actually might be more accurate.

Surely, at some point, sports fans have noticed the players jawing it up on the field. There are fingers pointed, words exchanged – whatever it takes to let the other athlete know that he or she has no business being on the same field with him or her.

Sportsmanship? Right, that’s when we all go through the motions of shaking hands at the end of the game. A time and place for everything.

But until then, it’s on.

And an athlete who has been outperformed takes it personally. It’s human nature. It’s tough to keep that frustration at bay – especially when they’re reminded of it after each play.

So what you have – in some instances, where coaches and officials are apparently oblivious to what’s going on – is a melee in the making.

I wasn’t on hand last week to witness the section championship brawl between the Beyer and Jesuit soccer squads.

And I was still in Indiana when officials at Yuba City called off the Honkers and Miners Nov. 8 matchup in the third quarter.

Apparently, the referees assured NU’s sideline that the Miners were fine an that it was the Yuba City squad that game officials deemed to be more interested in mixing it up than playing football.

I wasn’t there, but we’ve all seen this before – more often than not on the TV screen.

Now before I’m known as the Tipper Gore of TV sports, let me explain. It wasn’t all that long ago, or so it would seem, that I was out in the backyard mimicking the on-court moves of one Earvin “Magic” Johnson, or the batting stance of a Billy Doran, or the spin moves of a Tony Dorsett.

They were the ones I watched. The ones that mystified my mind with their athletic abilities. They made the plays of which I went to bed dreaming.

But now, it1s not enough to make the play.

You1ve also got to tell Oem about it.

At a friend1s wedding recently, I ran into a former high school football teammate of mine. I1d known him for years, long before we ever hooked up on a fade route. He loves football and is now an assistant coach of a high school team in Indiana.

He1s coaching the defensive backs. And to my dismay, he admitted that he was teaching them more than man-to-man or zone coverage. He said after his players break up passes, he encourages them to shake their heads and wave their hands as if to say 3No way, you1re not throwing on me.²

I shook my own head in amazement.

3What1s wrong with that, Ham?² he insisted. 3They1re just having some fun.²

3How much fun is that for the other guy?² I asked, hoping he would well remember that he and I were once that other guy, members of a 1-9 team our senior seasons.

He didn1t have to tell them to do it, of course. They see it enough at the pro and college levels. Heck, the one-upsmanship is even part of the virtual reality of video game football.

Still, it shocked me. That1s probably because who my friend used to emulate in his own backyard<Walter Payton, never much one for the theatrics of end zone celebrations.

3What would Walter do?² I asked.

He knew the answer, still I ranted on.

Walter would probably help the poor guy he had barreled through back onto his feet. Then he1d run over to his linemen for a high-five, just before huddling up for the next play.

You know.

3Act like he1d been there before,² he admitted.

Wouldn1t it be nice to see more of that on Saturday and Sunday afternoons?

And, we sports fans already know what to call it<an exemplary example of class.

ooo

Brian Hamilton is sports editor at The Union. He can be reached at brianh@theunion.com or 477-4240.


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