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An ugly incident at a middle school basketball game

By Scott Tibbs, January 28, 2009

An ugly incident at a basketball game between two local middle schools last week should serve as a lesson that sports are too often taken far too seriously, and a reminder of appropriate behavior by government employees toward the taxpayers who fund their salaries. The Herald-Times reported on the incident here and here.

Here is what we know: the "coach" at Jackson Creek went up into the stands to confront two parents, and then physically assaulted one of the parents. In the aftermath, "coach" Bob Pryor has resigned from his position. Pryor claims he was being "cussed at" while the parents claim that he confronted them after they made a comment about him running up the score.

First, I do not care what the fans were saying. Even if fans are making obscene and sexually explicit remarks about the coach's mother, it is simply wrong for the "coach" to enter the stands and confront the parents. Had Pryor not acted inappropriately by going into the stands, the physical confrontation would never have occurred. Second, a "coach" should never put his hands on a parent. That was completely inexcusable. It is unfortunate that "coach" Pryor resigned instead of being fired.

Look, people, we are talking about a basketball game being played by eighth graders. That emotions are running high enough at a middle school basketball game to ignite such a confrontation indicates that there is way too much importance placed on the outcome of the game. Ideally, sports should teach discipline, character, good sportsmanship and physical fitness. Sports should also be about fun. The last thing we need is for the "adults" in the gym to be setting that kind of example for young people.

MCCSC needs to review its policies regarding behavior by staff and make the boundaries of appropriate behavior very clear to all school employees. The man assaulted by "coach" Pryor deserves an apology from the MCCSC School Board and administration. MCCSC will be lucky if they do not face a significant lawsuit after the behavior of their employee. In the meantime, good riddance to Pryor.