As a public address announcer, I get the privilege to see lots of football games at this time of year. Recently I have been announcing 7th and 8th grade games. So far I have been disappointed with how athletes at that age act and conduct themselves on the field. In the last weeks, I have seen several targeting calls with blows to the helmet and hitting defenseless players. Personal fouls are on the rise. It’s hard to imagine that coaches are teaching these skills, but I have seen fans and some coaches applauding these hits.
I’ve seen a dramatic increase in face mask penalties, and I’m not just talking about grabbing the face mask to make a tackle but grabbing the face mask and ripping a helmet off of a player, and then throwing the helmet down. Please these are 7th and 8th grade players. Teach them the fundamentals of football, how to tackle properly, how to throw, catch and most of all have respect for the other team. You may not like them but show respect to your opponents.
I worry about these players when they get older and continue to play and don’t learn the real game of football. If they are not taught how the game is played we will continue to see players injured or worse when an official makes a call against them they attack a referee as see saw several years ago in a high school game on TV. Yes, football is a physical sport and you have to accept the risk of playing, but you shouldn’t have to worry about illegal hits and actions that take away from the fun of the game.