I must say, after playing in the District 4 All-Star game and covering it the past four years, I've started to become a little depressed.
For years the contest was about giving players one last chance to play an organized contest in front of classmates and parents. But recently, the game has eroded into a spectacle.
Two years ago, I watched in stunned disbelief as a fight erupted between players. Last year, I don't know how to describe my expressions as I watched coaches from opposing teams yell at each other from across the field.
This season's game ended with one of the coaches choosing to yell at me because of a preview story I had written in Friday's paper that spoke of the altercation two years ago and an attempt to run up the score in last year's contest.
My intention wasn't to make the game sound like some kind of royal rumble, but I wasn't going to hold back telling the truth.
Instead of letting me explain myself, Warrior Run coach Mark Burrows decided to let his emotions take over and get right in my face. And after being near enough to feel the steam coming off of him, I decided to step back and explain how reaching me by email or phone would have been a much more appropriate route to take his concerns.
I then got some breathing room and finished my interviews before Southern Columbia coach Jim Roth decided to join in on the action and yell at me and another reporter from the paper.
Again, we all have made ourselves available to the public and don't mind talking with readers about stories.
I want this to be a game centered around positive themes, supporting players as they raise money for a good cause through the South Williamsport Lions Club. And honestly, Friday night could not have gone any better after the debacles of the last two years.
My fellow reporters and I watched an entertaining contest from the press box, with both teams going back and forth and never being separated by more than a touchdown until the final 3 minutes.
It was pure class on the field between both teams, which calmly shook hands and congratulated each other at the conclusion.
The players displayed all the class you'd expect from a positive experience.
But, in an act well outside the realm of what is considered acceptable behavior for leaders of young men, a few coaches decided to undo all the positives the players created over 48 minutes of play.
Both Roth and Burrows need to understand how to separate their emotions from their professional lives.
I take a lot of pride in what I do for a living, and I certainly won't let some control-obsessed coaches boss me around, especially when they resort to name calling and other actions associated with young, immature kids.
There are no agendas when I go out and cover games. I'm going to write about what I see. And if you don't want poor sportsmanship and classless behavior to be the central theme, don't make it exactly that through your actions.
It's one thing to disagree with something I write, it happens. It's another thing all together to come over to me after a game and pick a fight in front of your players and coaches.
Sorry, but to grab an old saying from the book, the situation was so thick with irony a chainsaw would have had a tough time getting through it.
Think about it.
Those coaches worked themselves into a frenzy because of facts being described in the paper, which happened to be a fight at the previous football game, and then chose to confront the situation by picking a fight. Ironic.
The game was about a quarterback from one of the area's top programs throwing for two touchdowns against a relentless pass rush. It was about an unbelievable performance by two outstanding kickers. It was about one of the area's strongest defensive linemen showing a new level to his game and being named the defensive MVP. It wasn't about flexing the muscles of over-inflated egos.
I simply wrote a preview story, describing actual situations that had happened. And believe it or not, it wasn't the first time somebody disagreed with me, either.
Bullies would be the best way to describe the two coaches, who make me shutter at the thought of how they treat players on their teams.
And what's great about this situation is the direction it's heading. These two coaches WILL go against each other next year.
I wonder if it will be all about class when the coach of a team clearly in need of a bump in classification overpowers another inferior opponent?
A man can dream.