Hal Hugemouth: Super Fan … Who Needs Him?
At the end of my first full year as a sports editor in Ridgecrest, Calif for The Daily Independent, I wrote my first ever commentary using the same headline as this one. And sadly, in 18 years nothing has really changed.
I realized this while sitting in the stands at the varsity basketball game Friday night at Mountain View Christian School where the Saints were taking on the Lincoln County Lynx. My stepson attends school there and while not a member of the team, enjoys going to support his buddies and his school. So we joined him.
But the nonsense this post covers started far earlier than that during the JV game. As you may have guessed by now, a few unruly parents were digging on the officials a little more than they should. They complained about calls, whined when the officials didn’t see it their way and in general displayed a lack of any sportsmanship that you’d expect to see at a Christian school game.
But what really got my goat was when one guy in the crowd decided to cross the line and start attacking an opposing player, screaming at the top of his lungs, “Oh, are you gonna cry now?” So here we are, some guy in his mid-to-late thirties at best, more than likely in his forties, has degraded himself into not appreciating what his son is doing in the game but attacking a kid his son’s own age. My only thought is what his reaction might be if i stood right in front of him and taunted his son in the same manner. Bet he wouldn’t like it very much now, would he?
I’ll grant that the officials in the JV boys game had some pretty poor mechanics, and the ones for the girls varsity were only a few stapes better. But the two guys working the varsity game were very good officials.
So at this point you may be asking yourself, “What qualifies Allen here to be judging officials?”
Well, I have a few games under my belt. I played ball competitively from the time I was eight until I was 20, I coached for over 10 years at high schools and colleges, acted as an athletic director for three or four and covered the game at levels from junior high to the NBA for more then 8-1/2 years as a sportswriter. Oh yeah, and I officiated some 300 games at the rec, prep and college levels. So yeah, I feel like I have a pretty good basis for my comments.
Aside from the sheer abrasiveness of their comments, these fans were just truly ignorant of many of the game’s rules. It seemed like the less they understood, the louder they got. And when they didn’t work, they’d accuse these men of all but throwing the game. When you can’t be right, attack someone else’s credibility. It works in politics, so why not in a high school gym?
I know that in several football programs I use to cover they had started a program where parents were invited to attend a one-day class to learn the rules of the game and how to conduct themselves in a more appropriate fashion. I watched as that program did wonders to increase parents’ knowledge of the game and decrease the harassment and ignorant comments spewing from the stands.
It’s a class that these parents, supposedly Christians, desperately need.
Hal Hugemouth still lives. Let’s just hope some folks see fit to show him another town to move to.