Negativity has to end
We live in a negative society.
Just look around us.
A sports win is dissected in too many ways, and a loss even more so.
For some reason, there has to be someone to take the blame, take the fall, you might say.
We have a hard time giving others their due.
The D our children just brought home is because the teacher stinks, not because our children were lazy on the assignment.
I talked to the mother of a former high school quarterback and she told me she has more fun at high school football games now because adults aren’t yelling at her son.
We forget about real life and think that high school sports, in some way, is real life.
Well, in a way it is because it teaches our children many life lessons:
¯ How to overcome adversity.
¯ How to work harder than you ever knew possible.
¯ How to get along with teammates.
¯ How to take criticism that sometimes isn’t very easy to hear.
¯ How to care more about your teammates than yourself.
¯ How to come back from injury.
¯ How to get another injury and realize the sun will rise tomorrow.
¯ How to get knocked down and get back up.
¯ How to bide your time, wait your turn.
And, there’s more.
But, do you realize that when our children go to college, get a job, become parents, all of the examples will play a part in their lives?
As will quitting, if they decided to do so in high school.
It’s much easier to quit than go through hard times.
I chose not to play football my junior year and my mother did everything in her power to get me to play.
I didn’t want to sit the bench and I knew that was in my future.
It never dawned on me to do what my mother asked, “Work hard and see what happens.”
Didn’t want to do that.
It was easier not to.
So, I watched every game my junior year from the stands and it was terrible.
At some point in time that season I figured out what my mother was saying.
And, yes, she was right.
I played my senior year, but I was the guy who shuffled in plays.
If I had played my junior year, I fully expect I would have been a full-time wide receiver and someone else would have been shuffling plays into the huddle.
But, when I did not play my junior year, my mother had a simple message.
She said I was not allowed to say anything negative to anyone on the team, regardless of what happened on Friday night.
I didn’t get to do that, she said, because I chose not to play.
I am 56 years old and going to sporting events is rather painful.
And, when anti-social media is involved, it gets worse.
After Week 2 win, Barnesville head football coach Matt Johnson went on the record.
“I have never had a team disrepected on social media the way that my team was this week by the Meadowbrook players and their fans,” he said to sports writer Tracy Watson. “It was truly an embarrassment to their team and community. I really feel bad for them.”
What is said in the stands during far too many high school sporting events is disgusting.
We, as parents, don’t like it at all when our kids embarrass us.
But, apparently, we could care less when we embarrass our kids.
I see far too many adults say things to high school athletes who are not their kids. And, it’s far from a pat on the back.
“If people want to criticize me, that’s fine … I have big, strong shoulders, I can take it,” Steubenville Catholic Central head coach Steve Daley said after a Week 1 home loss to Wheeling Central. “But these are young kids out here playing a game. We have some young kids in spots. Some of the comments I heard coming from the stands, to be quite honest, have no place in high school sports. If that’s what people want to do, then don’t come. Get behind our kids. They’re not professionals.
“They’re playing their hearts out and they’re going to make mistakes, that happens. We’re going to go back and work on things going into next week.”
I listened to Weir High fans go all nuts after the Week 4 loss to Keyser.
Last week I talked to Toronto football coach Eric Meek after a Week 4 win over Steubenville Catholic Central and heading into a huge Week 5 game with Shadyside.
“There are two good football teams that are 4-0 and one team is going to leave the field disappointed,” Meek said. “I’m sure that whoever wins will be happy and the team that doesn’t win, the coaches and the kids will get off the ground and get ready for the next game.
“We have a goal and we want to accomplish it. If we don’t accomplish that goal, we’ll work a little bit harder.”
Shadyside won, 31-30, so the Red Knights get off the grass and prepare for Week 6.
Meek said that he heard some negativity after the win over the Crusaders.
“We’re sitting here 4-0 and some people aren’t satisfied,” Meek said. “We live in a negative society.
“Our kids put forward a great effort against a pretty good Central team.
“High school football has turned into an entertainment industry and that’s sad.
“High school football is building character, having success and failure, getting off the carpet when you are down and persevere during the good and bad times.
“High school football is not for the entertainment of adults.
“High school football is high school kids doing their best.”
Four short years ago, the Red Knights lost to Shadyside and Catholic Central in Weeks 3 and 4 by 54-13 and 49-7.
In 2013, Toronto lost to the Crusaders and Tigers in Weeks 4 and 5 by 42-3 and 43-0.
Anybody remember that?
“This program has come a long way,” he said. “Here we sit with two big wins over our rivals (Wellsville and Catholic Central) and we have a big game this week. People need to be positive.
“I’ll take an 18-7 win over Catholic Central any day and I am sure coach Daley will take an 18-7 win over us any day.
“If people want to be negative, then I agree with coach Daley, they need to stay home.”
Amen to that.
What people fail to remember that the team on the other side of the field has worked all week to win on Friday nights, too.
Kesyer didn’t walk into Jimmy Carey Stadium having done nothing all week, expecting to lose to the Red Riders.
Those who thought Toronto should have beaten Catholic Central by more points are, really, disrespecting the Crusaders and all the hard work they put in that week, and leading up to that week.
Just curious how many people told Indian Creek head football coach Andrew Connor to drop St. Clairsville during the 11-game losing streak?
Streak is now over.
But, it is over on the terms of hard work and not listening to people say, “Quit playing them.”
Just remember the seed you are planting.
(Mathison, a Weirton resident, is the sports editor for the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org and followed on Twitter @HSDTsports)