Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Good Old Ohio High School Football

Fell asleep watching the Packers-Raiders game last night. As I lay in bed this morning watching Channel 13 News out of Toledo, I heard about the tragedy that happened in Oakland last night. A controversial call made by the "replacement officials," cost the Green Bay Packers the football game. Right away I switched to ESPN, because they would really have the details. On the way to McDonald's I listen to Mike and Mike to get their take on the dreadful situation, because they are the experts. Hopefully, there will be more coverage on the news all day today.

The situation kind of reminds me of a cartoon that I read in Mad magazine years and years ago. Sadly, many parents and sports fan still do this today. Cartoon goes like this ---- In a little league game, the home team was losing 1-0. Bottom of the sixth inning. Leadoff man, hits a double. The next batter comes up - strikes out. The next batter comes up - strikes out. Two outs. The next batter comes up - strikes out. Game over! Sure enough, the first two batters who both struck out, both yelled at the third boy who had struck out to end the game. "You lost the game the game for us!!"

The controversial catch. Sure it ended the game, but what about all of the "sacks," fumbles, and penalities? Did those mistakes help contribute to the Green Bay loss? Of course not. Human nature- blame the officials for losing the game. "Not my fault!"

I see it so often with high school football coaches. Yelling and screaming at the players for making mistakes. Fumbles, interceptions, and missed tackles. Many times, if a coach would coach like crazy during the week, some problems on game day could be avoided. No one play really loses a game. You play the entire game, and, if do not make a turn over, if you score everytime you have the ball, and if you hold the defense to three yards and punt on every series, then maybe the last play of the game, if it causes the other team to win, may have cost you the game.

The older I get, the more NFL makes me tired. Officiating is a second job for most of the officials. Eat a training table sometime. Go to the same doctors that players visit. Drive some of the cars that NFL players drive. A different world than living outside of Upper Sandusky, Ohio. As Jim Brown once said to me at a Browns practice a few years ago when the defense was celebrating an interception, "They're just kids, playing a man's game."

Last Saturday, I watched a senior football player dance, pound his chest, and taunt the other team. No coach pulled him aside, no official warned him, and no opposing player "called him out."  High school football really tries to control the "showtime crap," but I hope that it is not a losing situation. The media helps promote it, but in the end, the coach has to put an end to it, regardless how good the player is. One of the worst ones whom I have seen get away with making a "butt" of himself was Jack Nicklaus grandson, playing for a high school team from Florida in the Herbstriet in Columbus. Nobody, officials or coaches, did anything. Of course, I read last spring where the Golden Bear feels that Florida State was not using his grandson's talents.

High school football players, regardless if you are in the inner city, if you are in the country, if you are along the river, or if you are playing for a private school, just play tough hard football. No showtime. No taunting. No dancing. Play with emotion, but under control. Benefit from the self discipline, you learn from playing the best sport in the country -- Good old Ohio high school football.

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