Hammonton students

taunted opponents

Regarding the March 2 playoff basketball game between Hammonton High School and Timber Creek:

As a student at Hammonton, I had been wishing our team luck the entire week. Our school seemed to excel in school spirit, with a student section loaded with more than 100 kids at the beginning of the game.

But when Hammonton began to lose, the student section resorted to verbal attacks directed at the opposing players. Almost the entire student section, with the exception of a couple of students who refused to participate, began chanting horrible things at members of the Timber Creek team and fans. One of these chants was, "You're on food stamps! We can afford it!" Most of the other chants also revolved around financial status and had to do with Timber Creek students being on welfare.

Such behavior makes me question the success of Hammonton as a whole. For the entire gym to be echoing with verbal attacks toward the opposing team is unacceptable. Nobody, not even our coach, tried to put a stop to it, and the crowd kept harassing the other team.

Hammonton students boast about their economic success, but it seems they are lacking in terms of respect. They seem to look down on others as a whole. These chants continued throughout the game, and not a single student who participated seems to have realized how wrong their actions were.

Growing up, my father used to say, "There, but for the grace of God, go I." To me, it seems that the students of Hammonton High School do not understand that, if not for the circumstances of their birth, they could have been in those Timber Creek players' positions. Hopefully the administration of the high school will learn from this and incorporate some kind of education concerning this type of behavior into the curriculum.


Waterford Works

Behavior was atrocious

at youth basketball game

Recently, I went to a basketball game at a local elementary school. The athletes were in the fifth and sixth grades, and I know many of them from the school where I teach.

The game started out as usual - excited parents cheering, athletes having to take "shoe tying" breaks every couple minutes, etc. But within just a couple of minutes, I was disappointed by the behavior of a few of the players.

One child screamed to his mother in the stands, "He won't pass the ball - he's a freakin' ball hog!" Another child missed about three shots in a row, and vented to the entire gym, "This sucks! I'm playing like crap tonight, and my teammates aren't passing!"

These mini temper tantrums really disappointed me, and I couldn't help but think that if these were my children, I would personally remove them from the game. Instead, their parents yelled responses like, "That's all right, do your thing" and "Stop passing to him."

This was only the beginning of what snowballed into a display of what is often wrong with youth sports leagues.

One of the coaches was not playing three of the children on his team - the two shortest players and one tall, special-needs student. I could hear their parents expressing their frustration in the stands about their children not being given any playing time. Finally, what I assume was someone who may be in a leadership role in this league yelled out to the coaches, "You gotta' play all your players. I'm getting complaints from parents!" The coach then put these players in - and took them out after less than 20 seconds.

The coach from the opposing team continuously harassed the referee and screamed obnoxiously and offensively until he was finally thrown out of the game. Parents argued with each other, and some of the players continued to display poor sportsmanship. It doesn't matter who won the game because, honestly, everyone lost that night.

Our children are our most precious commodity. Whatever role we play in a child's life - big or small - is an important and lasting one. Please make yours positive.