I am writing this as a voice of reason from the Bellwood community.
I am a huge Bellwood supporter. I have a son who plays on the varsity football team. I, too, was very upset at the way the Bellwood-Bishop McCort game played out. But I am also an umpire for baseball for various ages and a former PIAA umpire until I opted out of renewing my license so I could help coach the B-A girls softball team.
I must say that I was appalled at the reaction of some of the Bellwood fans at the District 6 Class A playoff game. It wasn't the majority, by any means. It was simply a handful who, from listening to their comments during the game, most of the time have no idea what they are talking about.
It was a very unfortunate situation, and mistakes were surely made by the officials. But I must point out that mistakes were also made by the B-A football team that cost them dearly in this game, and I didn't hear one official berate the players or B-A coaches for those mistakes.
As an umpire, I always find it amusing that a team can have six errors that allow seven or eight runs to score, yet it's always the umpires who get blamed when making an out call that ends that same game when the score is close.
What about the mistakes that were made by the players or the coaches not making sound coaching decisions? I've never once blamed a player or a coach for making a mistake while participating in the game. It's not my job as an umpire.
My job is to do the very best job I can do and maintain control of the game. As fans, we are there to support our coaches and players. I assure you, the refs are doing the best they can. No ref or umpire or judge wants to perform poorly at the job because we know it makes us look bad. It's a very tough job, and trust me, the money isn't worth it.
I always try and maintain a very even temperament when I'm doing ballgames so that I always convey being in control and always have the respect from the players, coaches and fans, just as I show that same respect back to them.
The one thing I will say about the football game is that I hope the officiating crew that worked the game will use the game as a way of improving different aspects of their job.
More time should have been used to get together and make sure the calls were right. The bottom line in all games is simply to get the calls right. Huddle together, take your time and get the calls right.
Time should not be a factor, but if the Bellwood coaches were insistent that the down was wrong, then they should have registered that something was wrong. Go over each play in that series with each other, and be convinced that something wasn't missed. Take the time!
I, as a fan, would have rather sat there for a half hour and waited to make sure everyone was comfortable in the decision that was being made. The point is we all make mistakes.
Whether we're coaches, players or refs, we all screw up and do things we wish we could change. As a Bellwood supporter, I feel really bad for these kids, especially the seniors. I've watched these kids grow up and coached a lot of them in other sports. They are all good kids who are proud to wear the blue and gold, and I was privileged, as a fan and father, to watch these athletes perform.
So, to all fans out there: Let's remember to enjoy our kids and the sport they play and always be respectful to all those who participate in any way. Be passionate about the sport, but be humble and show the proper attitudes that have made, and continue to make, Bellwood-Antis a cut above the rest.
Bowl season too watered down
Several years ago when an NCAA football team made a bowl, major or otherwise, it was a big deal.
Now, unless it's a major BCS bowl, I'm not so sure.
To date, the NCAA has reached an all-time high of 35 bowls, which need 70 quality teams to qualify.
I use the term "quality" loosely. Entering Saturday, there were exactly 70 teams bowl eligible from Auburn 11-0 ranked No. 1 to BYU with a minimum of six wins and a 6-6 record.
Speaking of 6-6, according to the Mirror's latest pre-pick selections for bowls in Wednesday's paper, no less than nine teams entering bowls will be 6-6. There are two teams (East Carolina and Clemson) matched up in the Military Bowl in our nation's capital on Dec. 29.
Considering the number of teams that could enter the bowl season with six losses, there could be 14 teams (out of 70) going home with a losing season.
That's one of five bowl teams finishing below 500.
Earlier this past week, I watched two 3-7 teams on Monday Night Football battle for a possible playoff spot come January.
I'm trying to figure out which situation is worse. Unfortunately, the NFL can't control this, but the NCAA can.