Enjoying the Game and Setting an Example for Young Athletes | Blog

Blog Disclaimer

When you shoot 2-3 high school or college games a day for 4-6 days a week for more than three straight months, you tend to notice a few things. These are just MY opinions on things I have noticed this winter season.

To the parents of the athletes: Sit back and relax in the stands. This should be an enjoyable time for you and your kids who are out there giving it everything they have on the court or the ice. Far too often I think that parents get way too involved in things they shouldn’t even be a part of. Let the coaches coach. Let the players play. Don’t get involved. Grab a bag of popcorn and enjoy the time in your kids’ life that goes way too fast.

^ This is an applicable video by the Michigan Amateur Hockey Association’s S.T.A.R. Program that emphasizes shared tolerance, appreciation and respect for both youth hockey players and parents of players. Dallas Drake hosts this program to reinforce sportsmanship, teamwork, and respect on and off the ice.

These kids are not playing for money, they’re playing for pride. Too many people think that their kids are going to get a scholarship by playing sports. That’s a great goal to have for most kids, but how many athletes really get a full division one or division two scholarship? You have a better chance on winning the lottery. Here’s an idea: have your kids focus on something academically. There are a few more scholarships and opportunities available that way. Again, come to your kids’ games, grab a bag of popcorn, or a candy bar, sit back and relax.

To all the fans out there: Take it easy on the guys who wear the black and white stripes. Keep in mind that the officials do not have to be there. They are there because they want to be there. Before I began working at ABC 10, I was a high school basketball official for five seasons. After berating officials at high school games for years, I thought, ‘How hard could it be?’ I found out- it’s not easy by any means. I put a lot of work into becoming an official. I was refereeing varsity basketball games in my third year. I really do miss it. I understand that officials aren’t going to get every call right. Sometimes I even find myself quietly disagreeing with a call when I am out shooting these games on a nightly basis.

As a former official, I watch games a bit differently these days. I watch how the referees are positioned out there on the floor. Sometimes, I think they miss a call not because they are blind (which I hear quite often from fans in the stands), but it’s because they are out of position. I see some officials out there who can’t keep up with the players. To me, that’s just plain unacceptable. If you can’t keep up with the action, it might be time to hang out the whistle and stripes for good. You don’t do yourself, your officiating partner(s), and especially the kids any justice if you simply can’t keep up with the action. It all comes back to being in the correct spot in the floor to make the call.

We have hit the ‘mecca’ this time of the year. It’s playoff time in high school hoops and hockey, college basketball is almost in playoff mode, and the Tigers are in action down in Lakeland, Fla. While we might have to wait a couple of more weeks to go outside and throw around a baseball or do anything right now, enjoy the basketball and hockey postseasons here in the U.P. Go to a game, grab a bag of popcorn, or a candy bar, sit back and relax. Enjoy the game(s). That’s what sports are for.

Jerry “JT” Taylor, ABC 10 / CW 5 Sports Director