Now, I know this blog is about high school sports, specifically the WPIAL with a concentration on Washington and Greene counties. However, something in Tuesday's sports section of the Observer-Reporter angered me and it's time to comment. (Editor's note: I worte this on Tuesday and am publishing it Thursday afternoon. It still rings true.)
Of course, I'm going to tie in some high school events to my rant.
The Washington Wild Things, losers of three straight playoff games after taking a 2-0 lead in the Frontier League championship series, did not have the maturity or class to speak with sports editor and Wild Things beat writer Chris Dugan after Monday's loss. That loss cost the Things the championship they've sought for six years. And he traveled to Illinois to cover the game.
"Washington's players refused to comment after the game." The Things ignored him in the clubhouse but were brave enough to hurl insults at him as Dugan walked away.
Nice. Grow up. Be professional. Be men. Boo-hoo. You lost. It's not the first time.
And it's not a right to play pro baseball, no matter the level. It's a privilege.
During my time at the O-R, and a couple other places, I've covered countless high school events, a lot of Big East football and hoops, a few Pirates games and a large amount of Steelers home games. I've had words with coaches – once had a high school softball coach chew me out in front of spectators and other reporters because his team's story in a previous edition wasn't as big as another team's story right beside it. I've had a female student-athlete throw a plastic bottle (full of soda) at me for reasons I don't know then jump in front of my car as I tried to leave a parking lot. I've had parents chew me out because their kids aren't in the paper enough. And I've received a lot of angry e-mails over the years from athletic directors to Joe Fan.
But I can't recall the last time a coach or athlete refused comment when I sought one.
I've spoken with freshmen on the Chartiers-Houston girls softball team after they've lost the state championship. I remember speaking with Waynesburg's Lanfer Simpson on the turf at West Mifflin as tears streamed down his eyes following a loss to Tyrone in the state playoffs. Guys like Jimmy Gallagher and Ryan Maize were willing to speak when Peters Township baseball teams lost two straight PIAA championship games.
These are, or were, teenagers. Yet, they showed more maturity than an entire roster of professional baseball players.