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confrontation with glory-seeking dad

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by sartrean, Feb 25, 2007.

  1. friend of the friendless

    friend of the friendless Active Member

    Sirs, Madames,

    I guess I'm not in danger of libelling the hockey mom.

    The kid, Colin Chaulk, made it to the AHL for 17 games in a 10-year-career. Now in Italy.


    Joe Thornton probably sleeps better knowing that he doesn't have to play him.

    YHS, etc
  2. A lot of good advice to Sartrean, but does anybody think he was crazy to step outside alone with some upset parent? I don't put it past any parent to sucker punch a reporter (or worse, use a weapon), then claim the reporter started it.

    If you're in the gym covering a game, you're working. Tell the parent you'll get back to him, or better, let him call you at the office. That way you can actually check the story in question. No way I'm letting some potential nutjob get in my face with no witnesses around. You're inviting trouble, not defusing it.
  3. sartrean

    sartrean Member

    There were people outside, and it was in between games with folks coming and going. He caught me at the front door, coming in for the final game that night.

    It's all good. Usually management doesn't give its people in the field any credit or support whatsoever. This time, however, my SE called me today and said he's had enough of shit with these parents at this one, small private academy. He said he'll be locking them out of coverage for the remainder of this school year.

    Their basketball team will likely be done tomorrow night. My SE says no one is on their game, and if that team pulls off a Hoosier-esque miracle to make it Saturday's final, then he'll devote an 8-incher to them done via telephone. So, apparently this glory seeking dad and his cadre of emailing supporters have struck a nerve with the home office downtown.
  4. ColbertNation

    ColbertNation Member

    I understand the thought process behind that decision, but I still have a hard time punishing the kids just because their parents are chowderheads.
  5. The canned response is to ask the father what sequence of events he felt like his son's play added to the team's victory. Answer a question with a question. "Well, thanks for the feedback. Exactly what part of the game did you feel like your son's play was a significant contribution." Here, you force the dad (if he is a litigator) into a position he is not accustomed to. Or maybe he's just a jack-ass. He's certainly not used to being put on the spot. Whatever is answer, you know it to be bullshit and you can calmly reply, I didn't see the events unfold that way. In fact, I thought Johnny Ballgame's three straight three pointers are what made the most difference. End of conversation.
  6. zagoshe

    zagoshe Well-Known Member

    Colbertnation -- How exactly are you punishing kids? By not putting their names in the paper. Ask yourself this -- do you think the overwhelming majority of kids give a rat's ass about being in the paper?

    I played three sports in high school, two all the way through college and never ONCE thought about whether my game or name was going to be in the paper the next day. And I'm quite sure all of my teammates felt the same way. When the game was over, we are all thinking about which cheerleader we might try to impregnate at the next field party, or who had a car and could get us down to the Pizza Hut for a post-game pig out or how we had to rush home to finish our homework (that was more rare).

    In other words, kids, particularly high school kids are pretty much oblivious to this whole concept. If they do get a mention, someone usually tells them about it and reminds them to thank the reporter.

    This is all about parents. Parents push all of this nonsense. I know this because I now coach middle schoolers and parents are already ridiculous at this age.

    In short you aren't punishing kids, you are keeping things in perspective for their parents.
  7. alleyallen

    alleyallen Guest

  8. ColbertNation

    ColbertNation Member

    Fair enough.
  9. The Q Man

    The Q Man Member

    I think my situation may top all of these.

    Last spring was a good season for baseball in my area. One of our high-circulation teams won the small-school state title, another advanced to the big-school state finals. The small school had a pitcher drafted in the third round by the Yankees, the big school sent its shortstop on to Division I.

    These teams met on the last day of the regular season in front of a crow of 3,000 people. That's 10 times the normal attendance at high-school baseball games in our area.

    The big school wins 2-1 as its Division I ace strikes out 13 and walks two, while the draft pick strikes out out 11 and walks 1, but gives up his eighth earned run of the season on a two-out double on which the hitter was basically just lucky the kid threw it so hard that the pitch's momentum did all the work.

    So I write "In the fifth, Bartontucky's Joe Blow lined a double into the left-field corner off of Staff Ace. A generous carom off the wall allowed Dip Shit to easily score from second."

    Talked to the hitter in question, both pitchers and filed a 10-inch gamer because my paper still believes track and field to be more important than baseball.

    The next day, I have a message saying I need to urgently call Dip Shit's elderly aunt. So I call Auntie Dip Shit and she seems like a nice old lady for about five seconds before just ripping me a new asshole in this manner:

    "You said there were 3,000 people there. I don't give a damn how many people were there, I want people to know that my nephew singled to get on. I've been watching high-school baseball for 56 years, my husband was a coach and nobody cares that 3,000 people were there. You should have told them he beat the throw to first (it was a throwing error) and instead you're costing him a chance to play in college by not telling them how he hustled."

    I try to explain that I felt the 3,000 was necessary because it's 10x the ordinary attendance. She replies with "Bullshit, my husband's teams used to draw that all the time." Now that is true, but it was 50 years ago back when there was a rivalry between the two big schools on the south end of town. In this case, Big-Schools chief rival won four state titles in 6 years or something like that from 1953-1960. But they did draw big crowds nonetheless, but there had been nothing like it until 45 years later.

    It continued for another 30 seconds before she said I want your bosses number. Gave her the bosses number, hang up on her. Thirty seconds later, the bosses phone rings, he listens intently for a minute, hangs up with out saying more than hello and says "Wow, she is pissed."
  10. shotglass

    shotglass Guest

    I had a little different twist on this parent deal ... and I let it scare the crap out of me.

    I was 22 and covering a sandlot baseball playoff game. The shortstop for the one team was about 26, had played two years of low Class-A ball before coming home.

    In the fourth inning, the opposing pitcher placed a fastball about two inches below this guy's chin. He dropped his bat and took four giant strides toward the mound as the benches cleared and teams milled around for five minutes or so, just like baseball teams tend to do when they really don't want to fight.

    In the gamer, I said that said shortstop "charged the mound."

    The next evening, I got a phone call from the shortstop. He laid about two minutes of profanity on me before he got to his point -- he said he never "charged the mound." He said he merely took a "warning step."

    But here's the kicker. He said his 65-year-old father had a heart problem, and when he read my account of the game and got to that, he had an episode and had to be taken to the hospital.

    I stood by what I wrote, but I had a big lump in my throat when I hung up. One of my older fellow writers (who, 25-some years later, happens to be my SE) had to talk me down off the ledge (not literally, but you get the idea).
  11. Tom Petty

    Tom Petty Guest

    you shoulda wrote a folo column and did the old bastard in.
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