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Hey adults — think before you talk

By Joe Centers • Jan 23, 2018 at 12:00 PM

It may have been just a few words, but they mean so much.

We should all listen and learn from this.

Here is a tweet I saw last week. It was from a local high school basketball player:

Dear XX parents: I am sorry, I am a freshman playing varsity and I am trying my hardest to do everything I can to make the team better. So if you could please show me some respect and give me a chance that would be awesome.

Sincerely, XX.

As a parent of three daughters who competed in athletics from grade school to the college level, these words hit home.

I talked to a coach who said this is nothing more than a form of bullying — from the parents.

We all have to sit back, take a deep breath and think about what we have to say. We all have our opinions and that will never change. But be smart about when you say things and who you say them to.

This is not professional sports. I’ve talked many times about heading down to FirstEnergy Stadium to watch the Cleveland Browns play. And coming off this past season’s stellar 0-16 mark, there wasn’t much to get excited about.

But they get paid for what they do and people pay big money to watch the Browns play.

There were games this season when we were booing even before the beer man made his first pass through the Dawg Pound with the Bud Light. 

I see nothing wrong with booing and criticizing professional athletes. (Remember, they are laughing all the way to the bank.)

But this is different. I have covered high school sports for almost 40 years and I have heard it all. Some people just don’t think. Some people just don’t care.

I remembering sitting in front of the stage covering a game at Norwalk Middle School when fans from the opposing school were throwing pennies at the players on the bench.

Times are different. Back in our day you played the game and it was over. We didn’t tweet about it or talk about it on Facebook. We didn’t post Instagram photos. Heck, we didn’t even have AOL or Myspace pages when I was in high school.

Remember when your computer told you that “You have mail?”

The only computer I worked on in high school was about the size of a Mac truck and we worked with stacks of computer cards.

We didn’t have cell phones with cameras. Our cameras had flash cubes. We couldn’t sit at the games, follow the Norwalk Reflector and check out the up-to-date scores of other games.

After our games we would all head down to the Big Boy and sit around a big table. Around here they would head down to the McDonald’s.

If you wanted to talk about the game you would have to go home and dial a phone. Or, better yet, you could get your dime out and use a pay phone.

It is different today. Young people have the world in their hands. We read or hear stories almost daily about how mean they can be to each other. That’s called bullying and that’s something adults don’t need to be a part of.

Remember that the next time you are at a game and remember what your mother always used to tell you:

“If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”                  

Joe Centers is Reflector managing editor. He can be reached at [email protected]

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