I’d prefer to devote my weekly prep basketball column to merely basketball-related items, but today – paying attention, Estancia? – requires some deviation.
Deviate fan behavior, to be precise.
I’m speaking to you, the dolt who was possessed to stand up during a middle school basketball game last week in Albuquerque and berate a 17-year-old official by calling him a derogatory name that cannot be repeated here. Here’s a hint: it’s the curse word made famous by the actor Samuel L. Jackson.
A cheating (bleep-bleep) is what this young man, a student in Albuquerque Public Schools, was apparently called in a game last week. By an adult.
A middle school game.
A teenage official.
Rhetorically, exactly what type of fan feels the need to distinguish their idiocy in such a public manner? What is wrong with you people?
I wish I could report today that congenial fan behavior has invaded all our gymnasiums around the state, but there remains a quotient of individuals poisoning the proverbial barrel.
I’m also speaking to you, the dozens of fans around the state – in all sports, not just basketball – who have earned one-game bans by schools after being ejected.
And I’m also talking to you, the dozen or so parents out there who acted so gloriously stupid that you’ve gotten popped for 365 days. You have to admit, there’s a certain next-level ignorance in being able to spew that type of verbal hatred in the presence of other people.
And I’m chatting up you, the small handful of basketball “fans” in Estancia, who collectively are on the verge of getting all spectators banned from boys and/or girls games for the remainder of the season. Did you know, for example, that a recent officiating crew at Estancia had to be escorted – by police – all the way to Moriarty? Or that three Estancia parents at a recent girls game got ejected … in the same game?
Someone last weekend via Twitter sent me a copy of a letter, from the New Mexico Activities Association and directed to Estancia, that takes the school to task for repeated violations, including those aforementioned ejections and the requisite “threatening and abusive language” that usually accompany these incidents.
The NMAA letter, dated Feb. 1, bluntly states “persistent poor conduct” as it relates just to Estancia. One more strike, the letter says, and fans will be banned.
I am circling back, of course, to the equally crucial issue of officiating, and how harassment by fans is negatively impacting prep basketball.
The Journal has learned that last Tuesday, there were barely enough officials to cover the games in this area, and that crews had to sometimes double or triple up to get these games staffed.
Members of the 30 varsity crews in the Central region also were having to work either the JV or C-Team sub-varsity contests, with a varsity official running the floor with a sub-varsity official. Moreover, some crews were rotating halves and quarters between the three varsity officials to save legs throughout the evening.
This is not only unfairly burdensome to these men and women, most of whom have regular day jobs already and who are working up to five and six nights a week officiating basketball, but it a disservice to local teams.
Abhorrent fan behavior is not going to help in the efforts to recruit new officials, and in fact has driven some officials out.
“If the fans continue to behave as they do and personally attack officials, we will have to start cancelling games,” NMAA executive director Sally Marquez said.
If that doesn’t catch your attention, nothing will.
So, you irate fans, are you feeling good about yourselves?
Have your juvenile tantrums soothed your inner rage?
Sadly, a public shaming is unlikely to deter these particular offenders.
But we can hope. You and me both.
THIS AND THAT: Didn’t get a chance to address this in my column last week, but Albuquerque High girls coach Doug Dorame, 59, earned his 400th career win last week as AHS defeated Rio Grande. Dorame has been coaching 34 years, and a majority of his victories came during his time at Cibola, where a couple of his superb squads, especially in the early 1990s, might have won a blue trophy had they not had the misfortune to be outshined during Don Flanagan’s Eldorado empire. … With District 5-5A boys having a six-way tie for first place at the moment, this will be a fascinating league to track this month. If we arrive at the final week with a chance for a six-way deadlock, I’ll address the tiebreakers in more detail then. By the way, last season, District 4-5A girls ended with a four-way tie between Artesia, Roswell, Goddard and Lovington.