Thursday, September 20, 2007

Not Wild about the Things

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.


Burg. Blue Devil said...

Wow, that is some interesting stuff. I didn't follow the Things much this past season other than just checking the scores and standings.

Anyhow, what do they expect to read in the O-R? They should expect to read both positive and negative aritcles. That comes with being an athlete.

Anonymous said...

I think the title "not wild about things" pretty much sums it up.
We don't need these kind of as one of they said "Douche Bags" in our town. I think it is about time they take this team out of town. Perhaps they should relocate to the Philly suburbs where they will really be cheered.
What a terrible disposition to the Washington Fan base.
Next month The Wild Things will probably start a season ticket campaign.

Dale Lolley said...

The only time I've had something like that happen in almost 20 years of covering high school sports - albeit not that many in the past 15 years – was when a local wrestler told me to F-off when I approached him to talk about his winning a Section championship because I hadn't picked him to do so in the paper. We still made picks on such things at the time.
Guess what? The kid barely got a mention in my story the next day. His loss, not mine. I was going to do a story on how he upset a couple of more highly touted wrestlers to advance to the WPIAL tournament. And his was one of the more exciting bouts of the evening. But his childishness ruined that.
The best thing was that his father was standing next to him when he said that. I guess the acorn didn't fall far from the tree in that case.