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Hooligans they were not

May 13, 2010 - Ron Deuter
Covering a couple of hundred high school and youth sporting events each year, I see and hear my share of unruly fans. There were none present at Thursday afternoon’s soccer contest between Iron Mountain and Kingsford.

There were a trio of kids from Iron Mountain High School supporting their team and mildly heckling the opposition. Heckling is probably too strong a term. It was more like friendly ribbing, if that. There was no foul language. No ill-intent. No complaints from anyone on either bench.

Believe me, I’ve heard vocabulary come from the lips of moms at other sporting events that I didn’t even know moms knew. A free-throw shooter on the hardwood probably wouldn’t have even known they were there. These kids were just having fun. They stood out simply because they were the only vocal fans on what was a miserably chilly and soggy afternoon that saw most in attendance tucked under hoods and umbrellas.

Perhaps the simple fact that they were making noise of any kind was what riled the head referee, or maybe there was a history between that ref and those kids that I was unaware of. Because certainly it couldn’t be anything that was said.

The game wasn’t even midway through the first half and the ref broke the action to come over and throw a quick warning at the youngsters. The only offense from my vantage point a few feet away was that they were audible.

To the boys’ credit, they sat down and got silent and remained that way the rest of the game. Good practice if they ever plan on impressing a date at an opera, I suppose.

Personally, I think our tough-as-nails, hard-working high school soccer players would appreciate little more enthusiasm in the stands, especially from their fellow classmates.

But thanks to that ref, instead of those boys creating a fun memory and dragging a few more buddies out with them next time, they’ll probably opt for another use of their time somewhere other than the soccer field.


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