A bad example

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Sunday, March 23, 2014


THEY say it began with trash talk. Well, if it is true that the parents, players and supporters of the SHS-Ateneo de Cebu (SHS-AdC) team were calling the Alcoy FC players “taga-bukid” (from the boondocks) during the 16th Aboitiz Football Cup last Sunday, that’s just so sad. It’s bad enough when kids engage in unproductive behavior.

It’s tragic when parents join in. The parent acted so quickly and such swiftness of action might have been lauded had such actions been of a defensive rather than offensive nature.

Sun.Star Cebu photographer Allan Cuizon finds himself unwittingly thrust
into the limelight because his photo perfectly captured a moment that will forever be etched in Cebu football history—a parent-spectator, face enraged, fist raised and enclosed over an object ostensibly to be used as a weapon to strike the Alcoy FC goalkeeper who had an SHS-AdC player
pinned to the ground.

The Alcoy FC goalkeeper ended up with a bloodied head.

The parent-spectator claims it was an instinctive act to defend and save the kid pinned to the ground who happened to be his godson and son’s teammate. The instinct to save a person from harm is understandable
to everyone. But the spectator-parent seems to be telling us that in order to save the SHS-AdC player pinned to the ground, he had to bash the head of the Alcoy FC goalkeeper.

Take a good look at Cuizon’s photo again. The parent-spectator was coming from behind the unsuspecting Alcoy FC goalkeeper. Enclosed in his fist was an object he intended to use as a weapon to strike the head of the Alcoy FC goalkeeper. This, to me, was an offensive act, not a defensive act.

If the parent wanted to save the SHS-AdC player pinned to the ground, all he had to do was haul the Alcoy FC goalkeeper off him. The parent had the advantage.

He was physically superior and he had the element of surprise. It was no contest.

When kids get into a fist fight, adults should intervene—to STOP the fight not to JOIN in the fight. I laud the Cebu Football Association for acting swiftly and decisively. While the actions of the players involved were unacceptable, on account of age and emotional immaturity, I am not as concerned about their behavior as I am about the conduct of the
parent-spectator who instinctively attacked a minor to allegedly save the life of another. What if he had a gun? Would he have used it?

Much can be learned from this tragic incident and the first might be that parents should be kept off the field. In today’s age of helicopter parenting, parents can pose a threat rather than serve as a source of support to the kids in the field. Coaches should also play a larger role in sports events. Beyond strategizing, they should police the players and ensure the safety of everyone in the field.

Sports competitions can easily become emotional events, especially when we have loved ones playing in them. We, adults, have to address our anger-management issues. If we cannot learn to calibrate our responses, we should stay away from these events. We can’t allow our violent instincts to get the better of us.

Trash talk is no better than a fist fight. Kids should know this. Adults should show them.

(Email: sunstarcebucolumnist@yahoo.com)

(Twitter: http://twitter.com/melanietlim)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on March 23, 2014.

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