Hey, Coach! Clean Up Your Act

Don't let an intimidating figure continue to drop F-bombs during games and practices.


“What the heck were you trying to do on that play?”

“Next time keep running. The kid could have dropped the darn ball.”

“You guys keep messing it up. Let’s do it again.”

Those could be the words of any 6th-, 7th- or 8th-grader’s coach. Nothing wrong with it — right?

Now replace a few words: heck with hell; darn with damn; messing with screwing. Some of you wouldn’t mind it, while others might do a double take. But if your kid is watching South Park or Family Guy or listening to Eminem — well, you know.

Now replace those words with a variation of the F-word. Yeah, it’s not only turning your head now, but your mind is trying to figure out if your ears are playing it back correctly.

You’ve never heard it used by your kid’s coach? Wonderful! That’s the way it should be.

I’ve heard it — too many times. I’ve heard coaches using it during games and I’ve spoken with parents and players who have heard it during games as well as practices.

So what have I done about it? Well, as the board member of a youth league, I’ve either addressed the issue myself or taken it to the Executive Board where it was then handled.

What about when an out-of-town team’s coaches are dropping F’s like pigeons letting loose on your windshield? I witnessed it just a few months ago. The referees were alerted as well as that team’s attending league official. If that doesn’t stop it, keep working your way up the ladder.

But what about the coach that everyone knows about — the repeat offender? He’s on your league’s board. He’s described as intimidating. Your kid doesn’t want to tell you because he’s already not playing much. YOU — you have heard that he will most definitely be sore ("Leave it to Beaver" term) if you call him on it.

I hear the tapping of the keyboards already. “Oh c’mon Ron, there you go again! Killing the coaches and sounding so negative.” To you, Mr. or Mrs. Keyboard Tapper, I ask that you stop reading now and maybe take in an episode of Full House.

My email box has become a virtual bucket for various youth sports issues throughout the listening area. Some are internal problems that would require the United Nations, while others simply need a heads-up from a neutral party to a league official.

One particular issue came to me from more than one concerned party. Without much effort I had it verified by others. Some had been complaining about the issue for a couple of years.

I bet you’ve already guessed! It involved a coach with a potty mouth. And folks, I promise we are not talking about a witch hunt here as I am rather hip to the signs of one.

I can’t decide what bothers me more: the foul language or the fact that some people think they are above being called out and reprimanded. Like they don’t have to follow the rules and don’t any of us dare insinuate otherwise.

So I dropped an email to a board member of that particular league and was told it would be addressed.

Ha! Caught you again, Mr. and Mrs. Keyboard Tapper. “So Ron, who died and left you in charge of policing the youth sport’s landscape?” And to you I say, nobody. I have a habit (good or bad) of inserting my opinion and maybe even rubbing a few people the wrong way — but always with the good of the children in mind. I can’t help it. Medication didn’t work. Mean-spirited comments don’t seem to deter me either. Group therapy is next.

Until I’m cured of this obsession of mine, I’ll most likely keep harping on the little things (in some minds) that are ruining (in other minds) youth sports today.

So Coach Doo-doo Mouth, this one is for you. We are all listening now and if you don’t cut it out, we are going to cut you out of coaching our kids.

If I’m going to type the hype I need to wipe the gripe (ok not as smooth as, talk the talk –walk the walk but I tried).

I have a programming note to pass along. I will be on the Hey Coach Tony Show on ESPN Radio (see his Facebook page for station info) on Saturday, March 24 at 9 a.m. if I’m not overtaken with panic beforehand.

And finally: Last week I spoke to my new best friend, Bob Bigelow (Just Let the Kids Play: How to Stop Other Adults from Ruining Youth Sports). He entertained me for over an hour with antidotes for curing that which is turning youth sports more into a playground for adults than for kids.

If you still think elite/select teams are a wonderful thing, I am begging you to read his book. It might not be as powerful as hearing his deep, booming voice, but you’ll get that opportunity next fall when he’s back in the area.

Virginia Wilkos Stafford March 16, 2012 at 03:59 PM
I agree with you, Ron, thank you so much for writing that!
Ron Goralski March 16, 2012 at 04:55 PM
The self promotion, EX, is me showing others that an "everyday parent" such as myself can make a difference. I am also proud of my accomplishments in local youth sports because it has all been to the benefit of the children, so I will continue to self promote, cross promote, and re-promote. And all under my real name. Imagine that.
Ron Goralski March 16, 2012 at 04:56 PM
Thank you Virginia!
Ex Republican March 16, 2012 at 06:06 PM
More "me, myself, I, my, I and another my" in just three sentences. Imagine that! By the way, Ron, I agree with you and Virginia as well. You just got to deflate that ego a bit man. It takes too much emphasis away from your message. And if you don't like my moniker, search under previous posts and you will see my "real" name, address, etc. I just don't have a big ego and figure my comments say it better than my name. If you don't agree, simply put me on ignore. (Uh oh...look at the all the 'my's" I wrote. Doo doo on me.)
Darrell Lucas March 17, 2012 at 04:11 AM
Agreed. I like the message but it was lost with the "programing note". Your conclusion should be that and not promoting a radio show. But like I said good message.
Darrell Lucas March 17, 2012 at 04:13 AM
BTW I went to Hey Coach Tony Facebook and watched one of his videos. The show was about "silent" games. If your big into school sports then it may be a good program to listen to.
Ron Goralski March 17, 2012 at 07:28 PM
Are you guys serious? You're really going to critique my writing style in an open forum here? That's kind of bush league - don't you think? I have a personal email address if you feel the need to do it again in the future. The programming notes at the end have to do with youth sports and these subjects so not sure what your issues are. Where would you like them to appear? As far as taking away from the column's message. I could have written a novel at the end of the column and even a complete idiot in total denial would not have missed the point of it.
Darrell Lucas March 18, 2012 at 04:19 AM
You're missing the point. And before I continue... your last sentence I doesn't quite make sense. Shouldn't you be saying "a complete idiot in total denial would have missed the point". Saying 'would NOT have missed the point' means the idiot got the point. :-) Ending your Blog with promos is like watching a movie and at the end scene all the main characters hold up action figures or products to 'pitch' to us. It cheapens the delivery and the audience looses the message. Open forum : the open exchange of ideas and information, usually to better the common good. Where would we like them to appear? It would be best if they were separate blogs altogether. Write a blog about Hey Coach Tony and tell us about the message of his show. Even better you could include a youtube video of his that you think is really inspirational. Write a blog about the book you pitched at the end. Talk about things that you agreed with or that you feel is a good message found in the book. Just some friendly advice. You dont want to look 'bush league'. :-)
Roger March 18, 2012 at 12:01 PM
Just dropped in to view the "goings on", but I was happy to see that as adults we are policing the condition and standards that our future generations will grow up in. As an ex-sports parent, I brought 4 kids up in football, baseball, cheer leading and cheer & dance teams. On several occasions I stood up to confront bad language or behavior on or off the fields. Our teams, our town, and our kids are examples to the world of who we are, and the parents and coaches are the guides to show them where the boundaries are. Good thoughts on the topic. Today, my children are respectful in language, two smoke, they don't drink and have never taken drugs (that I know of,. . .), and only one has a tattoo. (personal issue there). The point is, keeping kids active and participating is work, and not always easy, but it provides the best results you can hope for.
Ron Goralski March 18, 2012 at 10:07 PM
Darrell. I had asked that you to be a big boy and email me to discuss this. I don't care if you don't agree with how it's written. You are taking away from the meaning of the column with your review of it. You could have emailed me in private from the beginning.
Darrell Lucas March 19, 2012 at 04:18 AM
So now your going resort with more name calling? Calling me 'big boy'.. And you tell me to e-mail you but in the next sentence you tell me you dont care about what I think? You sure are perplexing. Sure fowl language my be uncalled for but is it a habit for you to name call? Do you say to your kids they need to be 'big boys'? Do you yell at them calling them all "bush league-rs"? How about 'complete total idiot'? All three of these insults you use to describe your readers... interesting huh. A quote from your bio "I don't expect you to agree with everything I write. And that's fine. Constructive conversation can quite often lead to positive change." Apparently what I have to say isn't fine with you. And your passive aggressive name calling is an example of the fowl behavior that you have shed light upon.
Ron Goralski March 19, 2012 at 12:55 PM
You win! My bio speaks to my viewpoints though. Not my writing style.
Eileen McCaffrey Frattali March 19, 2012 at 09:02 PM
Your writing style is just fine Ron, I enjoy reading your article every week...very informative and humorous. As far as Ron having a big ego, that couldn't be further from the truth. He is the most down to earth guy I know and if anything he is proud of all he has down (as are so many others) but having a huge ego, that's NOT Ron. Great message once again Ron!!
Anthony Fiorino March 22, 2012 at 02:59 PM
Wow, this sure turned into something it wasn't intended to be. I personally enjoy the fact that guys like Ron listen to my show and contribute. The only way we're gonna fix these things is to shine a bright light on them and work together towards solutions. I am indeed covering this topic Saturday morning and would welcome some intelligent opinions. best Coach Tony
Anthony Fiorino March 22, 2012 at 02:59 PM
Should I take that as a compliment? Personally I don't mind the self-promotion :)
Jay R. Worsham March 23, 2012 at 12:04 AM
Ron, as a retired newspaper columnist, I can say with some expertise that there's nothing wrong with your style of writing. It is a personal column after all, and your message comes across clearly. It always amazes me that people will miss the message and instead dump on the writer. The recent huge penalty suffered by the New Orleans Saints coach who offered a "bounty" -- a cash bonus -- to defensive players who injured their opponents shows how sports can head down the road to barbarian behavior. Bad behavior as adults can easily be traced back to bad behavior as children, and pummeling kids with gutter words is a good way to reinforce bad behavior.
Darrell Lucas March 23, 2012 at 01:23 AM
Yeah you should! It sounds like you have a great show!
Darrell Lucas March 23, 2012 at 01:30 AM
Jay why dont you end your comment with where you used to work, what you do now, and what book you're currently reading? Wouldn't that be classy? Hey welcome to Patch.. first time commenter. Joined Patch just for Ron. :-)
Ron Goralski March 23, 2012 at 12:34 PM
Thanks Tony. This guy doesn't understand that it's all related. Everything in the column points to the subject of youth and sports. If I'm on your show, of course I am going to let people know. I'm also going to use personal experience and examples of where I've been - what I've done - to back up my points. Self-promotion? Of what? Either read and comment on the subject or go away. It's a freaking column about MY experiences. Lol. I will see you Sat at 9 am on YOUR show where we will discuss personal experiences to make our points as well as telling people where and when they can read or listen to us again IF they are interested. And if not - they can simply go away.
Ron Goralski March 23, 2012 at 12:43 PM
Thanks so much Jay. I'm a dad sharing my experiences for those that want to read. I wrote this same type of column in our local youth football league newsletter for about 13 years. I've had a lot of fun with it over the years. This is kid # 5 now who gets to be the "subject" at times. I promised him he'd be referred to only as The Boy. He's moving into high school next year and I'm off to join the booster club so it's like I'm graduating as well! Thanks for reading. Keep in touch! Oh man - I may have self-promoted a bit huh?
Darrell Lucas March 23, 2012 at 12:45 PM
Oh man - I make myself look like a smart ___.
Darrell Lucas March 23, 2012 at 12:55 PM
Sat 9 am on what channel?
Ron Goralski March 23, 2012 at 01:09 PM
Actually I have a lisp and I stutter when I'm nervous. I don't want anyone listening. I can't get my points across when I write either. I don't want anyone reading. OMG! Why am I even here?
Jay R. Worsham March 23, 2012 at 01:13 PM
Darrell, to answer your question, I worked at The Town-Crier and The Herald, both in Palm Beach County, Florida. I am currently re-reading Florida Freeze: A Rick Fortune Adventure, which I wrote. (In the spirit of self-promotion, why don't you order a copy from Amazon, read it, and leave a comment on the Amazon website?) I am currently retired from the work-a-day world, and spend my time writing the next books in the Rick Fortune series.
Darrell Lucas March 23, 2012 at 01:14 PM
Wow I know you're not serious and that disingenuous to people who have that condition. Shame.
Darrell Lucas March 23, 2012 at 01:17 PM
Crier... makes sense. Reading your own book? Oh boy I am surrounded by vanity!
Ron Goralski March 23, 2012 at 01:24 PM
Darrell, I have stuttered since I was 5 years-old. And yes I do have a lisp which is why my children do not have S's in their names. But I've overcome my fear of public speaking over the years. For the past 10 years I've been the MC at a youth sport's banquet with over 500 people in attendance. So I've come a long way. (There I go again - talking about myself... darnit.)
Darrell Lucas March 23, 2012 at 01:50 PM
Vain.... :-)
Sas May 17, 2012 at 04:56 PM
Anthony Fiorino May 17, 2012 at 05:22 PM
Darrel, I'm sorry I didn't see any of your comments. My show, airs every Saturday at 9 am on 2 ESPN affiliates. AM 940 in Western, CT and AM 1510 in Putnam and Westchester County in NY. It also streams live online at www.heycoachtony.ihigh.com Hope you enjoy it and call in sometime. Ron calls in often and bring a lot of value to each show. Always looking for more intelligent guys to add something. Who knows, there may be a Hey Coach Tony t-shirt or coffee mug in it for you :)


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