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It’s easier to build a boy than repair a man

November 2, 2009
By MIKE MATHISON, Sports editor

I received a text at 8:49 p.m. Friday from the youth pastor at Colonial Baptist Church, Scott Abercrombie, also a teacher at Follansbee Middle School, asking me if I had seen the Big East commercial during the West Virginia-South Florida game.

Saying I hadn't because I was in the process of being taxied around by my wife from football game to football game to take pictures because my car had conked out a mere three hours earlier, he proceeded to tell me how great it was because it sent a simple, yet loud message.

"Bunch of kids on a playground bragging about their parents," he texted me.

"My dad yelled at the ref," said one kid.

"Well, my dad used swear words at the ref," said another.

"Well, my mom called the ref a jerk," said a third.

"My dad was screaming at the coach," added another kid.

The punchline ...

"I'm going to grow up to be just like him," said one.

And the other kids chime in "me, too."

Considering he and I are good friends and he knows how things are in our house and what I write, he thought this would be good fodder.

Not good.


Coaches do not coach for you to pat them on the back and they sure don't coach for you to take the nearest knife and stab them in that same back.

Coaches do not coach to meet the expectations of others because, most of the time, those expectations are far beyond the capabilities of those in uniform.

Coaches do not coach to watch kids give a half-hearted effort. They coach kids to teach them to give every ounce of energy they have for the betterment of the team.

As I have said in this column before and will say again, "Your attitude is like the aroma of your heart. If your attitude stinks, it means your heart's not right."

So adults, what is the spirit behind your action?

Is your spirit nothing more than to get rid of the head coach because you firmly believe that is the only correct move to make sure your 2-8 team will go 9-1 next year?

Is your spirit to do nothing more than rip a coach to shreds because you think he or she is not capable of directing a group of kids to better themselves?

Is your spirit, regardless of how you feel, to get behind the program 100 percent and actually see what happens when there are no outside influences to stray the players away from what the head coach and staff are trying to put together?

Is your spirit to pat the coach on the back with one hand while that knife is in the other?

Until the day she died, my mom was never so mad at me than that night.

As she sat in the stands watching her 17-year-old be a complete idiot, two men were sitting behind her and, not knowing who she was, simply said something about how I was raised.

That infuriated my mom because she and I both knew she did not raise me that way (my parents divorced between my freshman and sophomore years in high school).

When we had a meeting with the principal and the basketball coach to determine my future in the basketball program (I had already turned in my uniform so I knew my destiny), my mom was never my lawyer in that meeting.

She never defended what I did.

She was not there to plead my case (as if there was one).

She was not there to get me out of trouble.

She was there to make sure I accepted my punishment and learned my lesson.

I want him to get his brains beat in so he knows when that happens at an athletic event he knows how to act and react.

He needs to know how to lose with dignity and without being an absolute idiot like his dad was 32 years ago.

At 17 I obviously did not fully comprehend the consequences of my actions.

Now, I do.

And, if my son does anything amazingly stupid on an athletic field that is akin to not being the ultimate team player, the principal and coach will never have to take any actions because I will beat them to it.

The cost during the week is $7 per ticket.

Each school will get a portion of tickets sold at the school.

Each school will not receive one penny of tickets sold at the gate, which are $9.

Is there any earthly reason why people would buy tickets at the gate, other than, on a whim, they decided to go to the game?

Plus, why would you spend the extra $2 that goes directly into the OHSAA's greedy pockets?

Go to the schools and spend your $7 and keep some money at the respective schools.

Congratulations to coach Tony Filberto, the staff and the Golden Bears.

They have come a long way since Filberto was handed the whistle, let alone how far they have come this season since a 1-3 start.

It appears Oak Glen will head to Wayne or Magnolia, but that really doesn't matter.

The kids in blue-and-gold get to experience the playoffs which is a great thing.

That is a great thing.

Coach Tom Bruney and the staff have done a terrific job of zoning out all the garbage and getting the Bruins to lace 'em each week with nothing more on their minds than going 1-0.

Nice job gentlemen.

After shutting out Bishop Donahue, the sixth time the opponent has not scored, the Blue Dons are No. 3 in the West Virginia Class A standings.

They visits No. 4 Clay-Battelle on Friday and, like last week, my pedestrian knowledge of the points system is that a win on the road will give Madonna the No. 1 seeding in the postseason.

Do not take that to the bank, just what I think.

The defense is brutally solid and those guys take it personally when the opposition gets a first down.

Well done, gentlemen.

(Mathison, a Weirton resident, is the sports editor of the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times and can be contacted at

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