Monday, October 27, 2014

Thoughts From The Press Box: One upset C-A fan at Corinth gets me thinking about the latest trend

CORINTH - The chess match that is the opening coin toss.

After listening to countless Buffalo Bills games, I question deferring to the third quarter.  Especially if a team has the ability to burn you on the opening drive.

On in the case of Corinth's 27-0 win over Coxsackie-Athens, the opening kick, which was returned in for a touchdown by Alex Jenkins.


I know there's a rhyme and reason for it.  Sometime teams want to show faith in their defense.  Sometimes teams, especially on a rough weather day, want to control what end of the field they defend.

But I digress.  As you can see by the title of the blog, this isn't about the coin toss.

This is about a fan who was on the Coxsackie-Athens side watching the game.  This fan made his presence known through the game, both to the fans and players at Kim Miller Memorial Field, but also those listening in on the radio broadcast, as his barking statements definitely got picked up by the microphones.

After Corinth scored the opening kickoff touchdown, the fan started screaming.  As the game progressed, his barking of support progressed.  Most of it was positive support - along the lines of "0-0, you still got this." and "We need a stop now."  However, he would become more vocal in the fourth quarter.

Midway through the fourth quarter, this fan got agitated after the Indians got flagged for a personal foul face mask penalty, costing the Indians 15 yards, and led to Alex Jenkins' second touchdown of the game to extend the Tomahawks lead to 27-0.

"We better dispute this game," he barked after the penalty was called by the official.  "Our AD will have our back.  This will get overturned."

For much of the remainder of the game, he was silent, but what he gets blogged for would come after the final whistle.  As the referees were making their way off the field, he would begin yelling at them for that call, making it difficult for the refs to leave the field in peace.  Then a skirmish nearly broke out on that end of the field, prompting head coach JP Huslander to stop the handshake line and scream at his sideline "Hey, show some class!"

I'm not sure if this fan was involved in the scrum, but wouldn't be surprised.

This isn't how Coxsackie-Athens needs to be remembered.  The school, 70 miles away from Corinth, had tremendous support from students, fans and family who made the drive up from the community on the banks of the Hudson River in Northern Greene County, about 30 miles south of Albany.  The players never gave cheap shots or tried to play unfair, and the coaching staff was helpful.  The majority of the fans continued cheering their players, never booing once when the call didn't go their way.

This behavior and mentality needs to stop.  This didn't result in anything -- no charges, no actual punches -- and my writing of this is the only press about what transpired after the clock read 0:00.  Both Brett Hudson of the Post-Star and Jeff Scott of the Saratogian notes nothing about it.  And that's good.  Because behavior like this doesn't need to be rewarded with a lot of discussion about it.

Why I am discussing this is because this has became a painful trend in high school sports in the last two weeks.  Most everybody reading this already knows of the mess that occurred in Whitehall on October 18th, with the melee between Whitehall and Rensselaer costing Justin Culligan his job as the Railroaders head coach, and Christian Poczobut having to sit out on Saturday against Holy Trinity.

That's one of four altercations reported here in Section 2 in the last two weeks.  All four, involving players, not fans.

The Amsterdam/Bishop Maginn game on Friday, October 17th was soiled as the teams came together for an altercation that saw players ejected and ineligible for the quarterfinals this past weekend.  In girls soccer, Queensbury and Scotia had a couple players getting a little annoyed with each other during the Foothills Council Championship at Schuylerville the following day.  And the latest incident coming from boys soccer, where a St. Johnsville player punched a Maple Hill player in the face, requiring stitches and resulting in a court appearance date for that St. Johnsville player.  That game was called in the closing seconds.

This needs to stop.

Whether it means the referees calling a tighter game and calling some penalties that would up until two weeks ago be no-calls, or players getting benched longer than one match for excessively bad behavior, something needs to be done to get the focus back on the sport itself, and less about the extracurricular activities that are going on between whistles.

Getting back to the fan who initially started this discussion ... that personal foul flag did not give Corinth the game.  In fact, because Coxsackie-Athens was unable to exploit Corinth's many holding penalties, this game was pretty much in hand for the Tomahawks by the time this incident occured.

I want to finish off by crediting JP Huslander and the 2014 Coxsackie-Athens Indians on a great season.  This is only the fifth winning season the team has seen in around 20 years.  And the first playoff game the Indians have played since 2006.

With quality returning players, we could be talking about the Indians again next year.  But hopefully, by then, this fan will have wised up and will control himself better at one of their games.

Thoughts from the Press Box are the thoughts and opinions of the writer, and is not reflective of the station's management, sponsors or other hosts.

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