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Prep Sports Report

Bob Putnam, Rodney Page, Kelly Parsons

Immokalee fights after fans heckle own team



Forget Plant-Wharton volleyball. The Naples Daily News has a story on some unquestionably bad sportsmanship - from fans heckling their own team.

Naples embarrassed a strong Immokalee team in last week's rivalry game, handing the Indians a 55-29 loss. That was bad, but it got worse after the game.

The Daily News' Adam Fisher reported that as "teams prepared to line up to shake hands, several Indians coaches and players jumped the fence behind their sideline and rushed into the visitors stands in response to being heckled by their own fans."

Yikes. That's pretty harsh, especially considering Immokalee had a lot of injuries and lost to a solid team in a rivalry game. The Daily News has video of the scuffle here. The Daily News reports that the district is investigating the incident.

“There’s a lot of people that can sit in the stands and live their lives vicariously through teenage kids,” Immokalee coach Jerrod Ackley told the Naples paper after the game. “It’s unfortunate when they scream and shout things at kids and coaches’ wives and coaches. They’ve done it for a long time, and tonight was the breaking point.

“We lost our composure and shouldn’t have done it, but there’s a bunch of grown men that act like little boys. They should be ashamed of themselves as well.”

I think the coach's comment points out the best and worst in high school sports. Part of the fun comes in how fired up a community gets over the games. That's most evident at smaller, close-knit communities, like Zephyrhills or Dade City, to name two. I once had a group of former players from Oologah, Okla. call me early one morning from the small town's donut shop to give me a hard time about omitting their team's district title from a preview in that morning's paper. That's good passion.

Bad passion - well, that's when something like this happens. Someone crosses a line, and intensity turns into tension, which turns into shoving. This incident could have been much worse.

[Last modified: Sunday, October 14, 2012 12:21am]


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