Monday, November 24, 2008

Notre Dame, snowballs, sportsmanship

Unfortunate scene at the Notre Dame-Syracuse football game this weekend at South Bend. As ND was going down to a startling defeat, a group of restless, ridiculous students on the home side of the stadium pelted Notre Dame players with snowballs.

This from an AP report:

"Defensive lineman Ian Williams got hit in the helmet, defensive end Ethan Johnson was struck on the left cheek and a St. Joseph County police officer on the sideline looking into the crowd got hit in the chest. An NBC camera man also was a frequent target and several snowballs reached the field, although none landed near where play was occurring.

"When the Irish defense held a meeting on the sideline, injured linebacker Brian Smith stood on a bench to try to shield his teammates. But when a snowball hit defensive tackle Pat Kuntz, he stood and faced the crowd and appeared to challenge whoever threw it to come down on the field. At least one fan was seen being led away by police."

There's a teaching moment here for the unruly fans involved. And by extension, those of us who sometimes get carried away at youth sports games. (By way of example, here is the lead paragraph from a recent story in the Beaumont (Texas) Enterprise: "A still-unidentified Lumberton coach will not face criminal charges in connection with an assault on a Bridge City coach during a Pee Wee football game.")

Sports for kids aren't about us, our expectations and our dreams. When we lose sight of that, bad things often follow.

Or, as Knute Rockne, who was casually acquainted with Notre Dame football, put it: "One man practicing sportsmanship is better than a hundred teaching it."

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