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Press Box January 3

By Staff | Jan 3, 2018

I was once asked a silly riddle; the answer was simple, and it went something like this – What makes more noise than a cat stuck in a tree? The obvious answer would be two cats stuck in a tree! However, as I found out this week, noise is not always just related to sound. Sometimes it has to do with grandmothers at basketball games. I sat down by one recently, and she told me about her granddaughter.

“Which one is she,” I asked?

“The one with the dark hair,” she responded. Seeing several girls with dark hair, I asked, “What’s her number?”

“The one sitting there on the bench that never gets in the game; show him which one she is, Frank! Tell him how the coach doesn’t like her and how he pulls her out every time she makes a mistake. She’s the one sitting right there… right there,” as she pointed to the bench.

“Oh, I see her,” – even though there were six dark hair girls sitting there – “you mean the one next to the coach.”

“No stupid,” she said, “the one on the end of the bench.”

“So coach doesn’t like her?” I asked.

“No, and she don’t like him. Her dad was a good basketball player, and she is too, but he won’t give her a chance.”

“What grade is she in,” I asked?

“Well she’s only a freshman, but she is as good as anyone on the team…”

“Come on coach! Put her in!” she yelled. The girl heard her and turned around to look. She was obviously not happy with grandma. Grandpa had told her to quiet down, but she was bent on making a scene.

“You work for the newspaper,” she said! “Why don’t you write something about this unfair treatment?”

“Ok, I will,” I told her. “What do you think I should say?”

“Well, just tell it like it is! The coach is not being fair to my grandaughter. Write about it, and let him know I don’t appreciate the way he treats her. Tell him he needs to play his best players, and then he might start winning some games. If he don’t, I am going to keep on complaining.”

“Will do!” I said.

Funny thing, it was not a local game, so I had no problem writing about it. I was at my cousin’s in Newton Falls, Ohio. This lady was louder than two cats stuck in a tree, no doubt about it. However, before the game ended, my cousin- who by the way, was the coach – got her granddaughter in the game. They both made grandma happy. She scored a basket and a free throw. As loud as she could, she hollered and screamed, “I told you so coach!” Well grandma, here it is. I hope you read it. I will be mailing a copy to the coach with instructions to see that number 35’s Grandma gets it.

I heard a lot of noise over the past week, while attending basketball games. Not all of it was loud, but nevertheless, it was noise. See, there is good noise, and there is bad noise! The bad noise, we consider to be loud because it usually is heard more, even if it’s often whispered or just talked about in circles. Good noise most often comes and goes quickly, kinda like when someone comments “Good game guys, or Good game coach,” and then that’s normally all you hear about it.

It’s like good news and bad news. The good news fades away quickly while the bad news lingers. You know, negative vs. positive! You all know how it works.After watching one local team take a thrashing on the court this past week, there was a lot of noise about shooting percentage, foul shots, defense, speed, height and everything else you can imagine. Some of what I hear was true, some wasn’t. For example, you can correct poor shooting by repetition. You can work on your foul shooting and your speed. You can make defense adjustments. However,some things you just can’t do anything about. You can’t help it if another team has more height and depth. You can’t change the fact that they have more skilled players. Some things you can change, and others you can’t.

It’s hard to change attitude when all that’s heard is negative. You can’t change work ethic if you don’t set examples to work by. It’s hard to accept change; however, for the most part, change is good. I have witnessed it this year. You don’t always have to be a winner to set a good example; however, you always have to be positive to get positive results.

I have no doubt in my mind that the teams in the local area are getting good positive coaching. The results are showing. It doesn’t always bring wins overnight, but in the long run, we will witness the success This is not to say that the coaching in the past was negative.

It wasn’t! I believe the kids are working as hard as they can, and taking in new systems.

According to everything I’ve seen and been told, they are spending time on the proper things to make them better teams.

2018 is going to be a big year in sports. I hope, as fans and parents, we can get behind these kids and support their efforts. I also hope we can support the coaching staffs; they put a lot of time into what they do, and it’s not always fun. Kids learn a lot as they grow up, just watching older athletes. As they go through the younger years, unpaid coaches do their best to teach them the basics, and to try and make it a fun experience. Many times you get that old cat stuck in a tree who thinks he has to make a lot of noise, because one of these little kids didn’t get enough playing time, or a referree made a bad call. Hopefully we can get through the year without too much noise.

I had a guy tell me, this week, that a parent sent a message to a local coach, telling him she hoped he dies of cancer! I probably would find that hard to believe if I didn’t know this man. I don’t think he would make something like that up. Yes, you heard it right, die of cancer! Now, if you have that much hate in you, maybe you better get some help. Now, we’ve talked about noise, but that is an explosion. That’s one cat who can stay stuck in the tree, make all the noise you want, and nobody will hear it. Do yourself and everyone else a favor, and stay home.

One thing I want to touch on, before the new year takes off, is communication. I am not hard to get a hold of, and I am asking all the coaches, for the upcoming year, to take enough time to send in your stats. Just a picture of the book, or a short message about the game, makes it a lot easier to give the kids the exposure they deserve. Most of you are very good about it, but with some, it’s like pulling teeth. If you don’t have the time to get your team pictures taken, or send me stats, or return a phone call, you probably shouldn’t be coaching. With that I say, have a safe, happy and prosperous New Year.