Cheerleaders will wear helmets

Just when I’d thought nothing new could happen in the world of high school athletics, two articles crossed my desk this week that definitely caused me to adjust my thinking.

Borrowing a statement from the late Chicago Cubs baseball broadcaster Harry Cary and more recently Coupeville High School boys basketball coach Randy King, “Holy cow!”

The first came from the upper midwest when the Wisconsin Supreme Court handed down a ruling that cheerleading is a contact sport.

Say what?

Yes, it’s true, at least in Wisconsin. Maybe not a contact sport in the same vein as football, rugby or lacrosse, but a contact sport nonetheless.

The decision is the result of a former high school cheerleader who wanted to sue a teammate who failed to stop her fall while she was practicing a stunt. Also, the court ruled the cheerleader could not sue the school district for damages, either.

Isn’t that the way things go these days? Something happens that you don’t like, so you gotta sue somebody. Sort of like the Smiley case here on Whidbey Island.

What happened was the cheerleader fell backward off the shoulders of a teammate and suffered a serious head injury because her spotter failed to make the catch. There was no indication in the court’s ruling whether the spotter was charged with an error.

The District 4 Court of Appeals ruled last year that cheerleading didn’t qualify because it is not an “aggressive sport” and there is no contact between opposing teams.

However, a unanimous decision from the “Cheese State’s” seven-member Supreme Court, stated that contact sports mean any sport that includes “physical contact between persons.”

I’ll tell you what, Green Bay’s Vince Lombardi has to be rolling and tumbling over this ruling.

Hitting the century mark

The second article came from Texas where there always seems to be something controversial going on.

This time it involved a girls basketball game in which Covenant School defeated Dallas Academy 100-0.

Apparently, even with the reserve players in the game, the Covenant gals just kept putting up points, continued to steal the ball and score on fast breaks and press on defense.

School officials apologized and stated, “This clearly does not reflect a Christ-like and honorable approach to competition.”

No, it doesn’t. What it amounts to is an old fashioned smear, like we used to call blowout victories when we were kids.

I got hot water during my sports editing career in Oregon when I criticized a team in a column for beating another one 106-15, and people at the school I panned hated me into the next season’s volleyball competition.

Still, the coach should have done something before the score got that far out of hand in either game.

I realize you can’t tell the kids to quit playing and just stand around the court, or do stupid, embarassing things. But for Pete’s sake, take off the full-court press and let the other team bring the ball up the floor, defend the shot instead of the pass and can the fast break.

Have your team work on plays at the offensive end of the court and pass the ball around.

Just like Hickory coach Gene Hackman in the movie, Hoosiers, “How many passes do you make before you shoot the ball? Four.”

Covenant School offered to forfeit the game, but that isn’t fair to the players.

Folks, just learn something from what happened in the game and please, don’t do it again.

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