Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Fans/Parents Need To Cool It

'The night of the fight, you might feel a slight sting. That's pride F-----g with you. F--- pride. Pride only hurts. It never helps."-Marsellus Wallace (to Butch), Pulp Fiction.

Tired of the silly bullshit.

Tired of the outrage-triggering insults and drama emanating from the Westchester County Center and Ardsley, N.Y. this past week.

We're talking more overblown, manufactured drama than back-to-back Reality TV shows. More rumors than a high school hallway have emerged. All it has done is exacerbate tension. It has re-opened old wounds. It all has created an unnecessary side show that we have not seen the end of.

Thankfully, a few astonishingly ugly incidents did nothing to diminish several pulsating championship games, which continue to make the County Center Westchester's basketball Mecca and a rugged, tight-rimmed proving ground for elite teams.

Immediately following Mount Vernon's 43-40 Section 1/Class AA semifinal win over Mahopac, as gritty and physical and purified a display of basketball witnessed at this level, a brawl erupted between Mahopac and Mount Vernon fans.

Loud punches were traded. Tempers flared. Adults stooped to acting like children, screaming and belly-aching and throwing ice cubes and launching a war of words.

As a few Mount Vernon fans treated Mahopac fans with a five-finger salute and as a few Mahopac fans baited them on the balcony, you could feel the tension between the two fan bases skyrocketing. Then, the tension spiraled out of control.

Grown children masquerading as adults displayed their idiocy, trying to throw haymakers and deliver a money shot on the guy taunting them.

 Security intervened, quelling the beef while simultaneously dispersing the crowd. The damage had been done. The soft and cowardly fight polluted an otherwise sacred high school basketball environment featuring marathon semifinals and championship games all week.

A community engagement event like this is a reunion for most, bringing schools and rival teams and students together. Never should it result in such a sideshow.

The brawl was a "who's who" of fake tough guys, a horde of idiots making a jarringly ugly scene.

There is a reason you'll never see a Marine drawing attention to his own military background.

 There is a reason a Navy Seal never reveals his bravery or accomplishments or elite status.

If you are really a tough-as-nails beast, and such a bad motherfucker, odds are you don't need to prove it at a high school basketball game rife with young children.

Hopefully, that kind of outburst will never be seen again. If someone fell off the balcony or got tossed off, odds are they would never EVER seen it again.

Whether right or wrong, instigating or defending, a brawl of this magnitude is never going to result in anything good.

They didn't represent their school or team. Their actions didn't make a bold statement. I doubt they will catch many, "you straight up killed it at the County Center" comments. Odds are, if you're fighting at a high school game, you just look like an idiot. Fake gangsters all around, from both towns.

Greatly exacerbating matters, a few more idiots from Mahopac took to Twitter to drop racially-charged statements on Mount Vernon.

 Not only are the actions of these idiots mindless and hateful and ultra-offensive, it has now smeared an entire community in controversy.

The old "Don't Press Send" line should have surfaced in the minds of the culprits. When you use hateful words and instigate drama in this fashion, you not only ruin someone's day but additionally embarrass your own community.

That's what has happened here.

As a result of a few desperate punks trying to make the most of their curfew, kids who attended maybe 2-3 Mahopac games the whole season yet sought cheap thrills, an entire community has suffered a big hit and lost respect throughout the area.

Those outraged and incensed by the cowardly act have every right to be upset. The kids who dropped the infuriating comments should be forever banned from all Section 1 events.

And so the actions of few have now tarnished many.

None of the players, coaches, or true fans on both sides of the court would likely want to see this unfold. During handshakes, there was a level of mutual respect evident between the two teams. Hey, they gave us a show and a marquee and memorable game.

It was an absolute grind and eventual Sectional champion Mount Vernon survived every push Mahopac made. In the end, a good game is now an afterthought because of all the senseless bullshit.

There is no issue with the fanfare here. In fact, wild and off-the-wall antics and constantly active fan bases like the Mahopac Maniacs and the Mount Vernon faithful always help more than they hurt.

 Ear-shattering chanting tends to intensify the game and hype up the players, ultimately having a positive impact. The players, coaches, local media and fans who thirsted for an appetizing barnburner feed off this adrenaline. The the results are usually glaringly sweet.

In this case, a few took it too far.

Whether too much pride or hate or childlike buffoons or knuckleheads dropping hate bombs are to blame here, they tarnished the image of many in the process.

During a separate event, former St. John's guard and one-time Portland Trail Blazer Erick Barkley launched a few punches at an angry father during an AAU basketball game in Ardsley.

Nobody should condone that behavior. Of course, Barkley's heated reaction looked horrible in front of third graders.

If you were born during the pre-social media age, however, you know that there is an unwritten code in the handbook.

 While that code is hard to depict, since it is unwritten and goes unspoken, the father who caught a punch from Barkley essentially got what he deserved.

If you are constantly baiting someone and making it personal, firing off a barrage of insults and instigating...You should probably expect to catch a shot to the mouth. And so, the sight of this parent sprawling on the ground, protecting his head as if a bomb is exploding elicits zero remorse.

Barkley may have crossed a line by coming at the parent. Anyway you slice it, however, you can't expect anyone to just sit there and take a constant stream of insults. Barkley was coaching his son and generally avoiding the unruly parent.

Word around the campfire is, the guy was pretty much asking for it. More and more explosive, sense-of-entitlement parents are pulling off spineless jellyfish acts like this, creating chaos and berating refs all game long.

It's a shame, considering all that the parents do. They drive endless hours to AAU tournaments. They promote the players, raise them the right way, and revolve an already-busy schedule around constant sporting events.

So, it's unfortunate that a few ego-driven parents, many of whom envision their fifth grader becoming the next Kevin Durant overnight and signing a Division-I letter of intent out of middle school take over an otherwise sacred event.

Again, the actions of a few can tarnish many.