Kids, whatever you do, don’t behave like a bunch of adults.
For illustration, we have the brawl at the end of a recent Guy-Perkins and Southside Bee Branch high school basketball game at Guy.
Law enforcement people say they are looking at videos taken by the two schools to see what happened and what action, if any, is needed. Hopefully, the folks filming the game did not shut off their cameras immediately at the referee’s final whistle.
The heads of the two schools are both saying the skirmish involving several people was not the fault of their folks. From limited information reaching us, it appears an adult Guy fan confronted the Southside coach at the Southside bench when the game ended. From that point, there is considerable confusion and disagreement.
The Guy boys won this closely contested game by three points.
We are firm believers that spectators at a sporting contest, high school and at other levels, have a right to boo the referees. We are firm believers that spectators also have the right, even if it is distasteful and not good manners, to boo opposing players and coaches.
Booing, catcalls and disparaging remarks, however, do not equate with punching somebody in the face. Booing also does not mean shouted obscenities, and the latter rightfully gets loudmouths tossed from basketball games when it assaults the ears of game officials.
A possible factor in this Guy-Southside incident was the habit of some spectators watching the game while standing along the baseline at one end of the court.
Baseline standing is traditional at some high schools in our area but is not permitted at other schools. Referees don’t allow spectators to stand behind the goals anywhere.
After the fracas at Guy, Brian Cossey, the interim superintendent at Guy-Perkins announced he is stopping the baseline standing thing. Cossey may be interim, but he is the son of a long-time coach at small Arkansas high schools, so he knows a thing or two about the sport and about this baseline standing topic.
Our interpretation is that one or more of the people involved in the incident, brawl or whatever, came from the baseline group.
Cossey probably is on the right track. Basketball is an emotional game, partly because the spectators are so close to the action, more so than in football or baseball. Get the handful of standees away from the baseline and into the stands with other fans, and the problem or potential problem will be lessened.
Guy and Southside are adjoining school districts and rivals from way back. Things have been heated in the past to the point the two schools did not play in basketball for some years. But these are not the only hot high school rivalries around us. Games can be intense, hard fought and still end with elation on one side, disappointment on the other and not any punches thrown and without yelling in an opponent’s face.
While we are at it, the sideline conduct of a coach during a game can be an incendiary factor too. This is something referees can control — if they only will.
The game is for the kids, you grown-ups. Let them play it and also share the highs and the lows. But behave yourselves.