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Schools of Thought: Don’t ask for mercy

October 22, 2012
By MIKE ZUMMO ( , The Leader Herald

I've been in this business for 10 years, most of them as a sportswriter. That's a lot of high school sporting events. And during that time, I've seen some strange things happen, both on and off the field.

In that time, I have never seen what I saw Thursday night at the "Pink Out" boys soccer game between Johnstown and Broadalbin-Perth at Patriot Field.

After the Patriots scored their sixth goal of the game, Johnstown coach Mike Hill walked toward midfield and the Broadalbin-Perth bench and testily asked, "Don't you have any subs?"

Henry only had two. The rest were on the bench out of uniform due to injury.

"We had to play them a third time," Hill said after the game. "We had to come here. Nobody wants to come here and play them. We did them a favor to come here. That's why I was complaining."

Really, Coach? That's your justification?

Let's break this down a little bit, shall we?

You didn't have to play them a third time, you chose to. You didn't have to go to Patriot Field to play them for the Pink Out game; you chose to. Plus, the game was a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society. So, you lost. That's not what Thursday's game was about.

And you did the Patriots a favor by playing them a third time? What does that mean, exactly? And what were you expecting them to do for you in exchange for that favor?

The Patriots shouldn't have to apologize for being the defending state champions and a contender for at least a sectional title even though you are not. It's difficult to tell teenage kids not to take a shot on goal when they have the opportunity.

After the exchange, Broadalbin-Perth coach Brian Henry told his players to possess the ball more in an effort to avoid further confrontation and not further provoke the Sir Bills by flexing their superiority any more.

This proves one thing.

Henry is a much better human being than I am. I would have been inclined to let the offense loose after that. If you want to complain, find a way to stop it.

Only one goal was scored after that, by Tucker Wilcox, who picked up a hat trick with 7 minutes to go.

Why not? I would want one as well.

Either way, what happened after that could be just as bad. Outside of Wilcox's goal, the Patriots just kicked the ball around for the next 25 minutes with 10 players on the field, clearly taking it easy on the Sir Bills, which apparently is what Hill wanted.

But kicking the ball around without attempting an offensive attack can seem patronizing. But, hey, at least the score didn't get any worse.

I seriously hope the Sir Bills don't do the rest of Section II Class B the favor they've done for the Patriots last Thursday and enter into the Section II Class B tournament. They're not going to go anywhere if they do, and there's a chance they could see the Patriots a fourth time.

Probably not though as I can't imagine anyone being seeded lower than Johnstown and the Patriots, since they've lost one league game and tied another, probably will not get the top seed in the tournament.

But if they go and face the top seed, when the Sir Bills fall behind, will Hill go up to a coach he doesn't know as well and demand they put in their JV call-ups? Hopefully, we won't have to find out.



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