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Keep priorities in order

Why does it seem that at the beginning of every new school year we get another disappointing reminder that people consider high school sports to be of such great importance that they are willing to behave very badly over it?

This year, the honors go to someone — we don’t yet know who — in Grove City, Ohio, who moved a vending machine to barricade the door of a locker room in which a crew of football referees were taking part in an evaluation. Speculation is that whoever blocked that door was angry over a controversial call made during a game between Grove City and Central Crossing high schools. An assistant coach for Grove City was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct for coming on to the field.

“And we had to push on the door, three of us, to at least get the door wedged so we can get out,” said referee Keith Dalton. “We as a group have now filed charges against Grove City.”

The South-Western City School District and Grove City Police Department are investigating, and Grove City High School’s principal and head coach have issued an apology, according to WCMH-Columbus.

When the guilty parties are found, they should face harsh punishment — regardless of age.

Communities have put up long enough with individuals who place irrational significance on high school sports, encourage their kids to do the same, and justify their bad behavior because of it. We have for too long shaken our heads and looked the other way when abuse hurled at student athletes, coaches and particularly referees and other officials gets out of hand and reaches criminal levels.

These are games being played by kids, folks. These are coaches and referees who are working their hardest to get it right because they care about doing the best they can for those kids. They should not have to feel threatened when they do so. Keep yourselves in check. Remind your kids that nothing, least of all high school sports, justifies verbally abusing or physically harming another person.

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