CEDARVILLE -- The clash that ended with the arrest of their head football coach for inciting a riot started when his team lined up to shake the other team's hands, said Cedarville parents interviewed Friday.
Those parents were interviewed at the best spot in town to draw a large crowd -- a home football game for Cedarville High School. Friday, their team hosted Marshall.
Parents and players were in Elkins a week earlier. When they left -- their buses escorted by sheriff's deputies -- they knew the game had ended in a ruckus, the parents said. But they thought the incident was over. ...
See the whole story here, courtesy of Arkansas Online.
Kicking Back Comments: Take a look at the story, while full of opinion, there are a couple of things that stood out to me ... one very practical thing too.
I had to laugh out loud when I read the following from the article:
Sorry, but I just don't buy that and while this may have been a sign for sure, I doubt it was the first. As referees we have to obtain a "baseline" of behavior fairly quickly regarding the contest we are refereeing. Intelligence professionals sometimes refer to a "baseline" as the regular happenings in a particular environment. It is when we start to witness excursions from this baseline we should take note.
Sounds cloak and dagger and honestly it sort of is as a substantial part of refereeing is reading people of all types and being able to take necessary action on issues that arise. Take the above as an example. What were the clues that could have indicated something was going to happen? Ask yourself:
Was this a significant match for some reason?
If yes, what was the reason?
Were any of the participants in a "funk" and this includes the coaches (one of which who was later arrested)?
What is your plan to deal with that?
Even before the match started, what was your "mass confrontation" plan?
Meet as a group and take notes?
Actively try to separate players?
If things go really bad, what is the exfil plan?
Run like heck to the car?
Defend each other?
Call the police?
While this later part may be rare, it is good to think about as frankly when it goes wrong, you don't want to have to think too much, just react and follow a plan you have already previously considered.
Now for the practical tip ... if it's safe, take notes. Here we had a coach who crossed the field to engage the other teams players and as the report goes with racial epithets. This coach was subsequently arrested for his conduct and is up for his court date and possible dismissal from the school he works for. As a referee if we have witnessed something, we need to report it. Our duty to the players does not end until we have left the field and frankly any willful blindness to something like this is shirking one of our most important duties ... to protect the players.
Think about this too, the final act did not play out until the players lined up to say "good game." If you get a whiff that something bad is going to happen, why even have them shake hands? Yeah it's a nice tradition, but when trouble will follow, why do it?