Weekly Column: View from the Sidelines

Today is the first of weekly column’s called “View from the Sidelines,” in which I share topics and blogger opinions. Obviously I have to be careful about the comments I share, but there are enough articulate and well-thought out opinions to make this work.

When I started in this business, a tough day was getting chewed out over the telephone by an angry reader or getting an e-mail asking why we don’t cover a certain school enough.
Now we have blogs, and in case you haven’t noticed, those same complaints and criticisms are there for all to read at insidesocal.com/tribpreps. I spent a large portion of my day writing blog entries and officiating reader comments, which can get very messy and personal at times.
But for the most part, we have some of the most fascinating and articulate fans here in the San Gabriel Valley. I read other high school blogs, but few generate the insane number of comments that ours does, especially during the high school football season, when Friday night postgame threads typically generate well over 100 comments.
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You’ll get opinions from bloggers named Joe Amat, Trojan Man, Mike the Clone, JCaz, Aztec Pride, Don, Red-Ryder Blue and many others who regularly share their knowledge of high school sports.

There are many times I’m approached on assignment, and rarely does a conversation end without some mention of what’s going on in the blog.

The blogs also are useful for news tips.

Since the blogs started in April of 2006, I have lost track of how many times we have discovered a player transferring, a coach leaving or the inner turmoil of what goes on behind the scenes because of reader comments.

It has become so popular I want to share some of those opinions in a weekly column called “View from the Sidelines.”

If you have something to say, visit our blog, comment on something and maybe you’ll find yourself in this space next week.

Let’s start with the week’s blog highlights.

On Monday, the high school baseball teams from Northview, South Hills, Covina and Charter Oak staged a charity doubleheader benefitting the Ortega family, which lost nine members in the Christmas Eve Massacre.

It was a huge success and generated more than $18,000, thanks in large part to a $10,000 donation from Texas Rangers shortstop Michael Young, who grew up in Covina and played high school baseball at Bishop Amat.

This comment came from Hat’s off to the Young’s

“We grew up near the Youngs in Covina, the best thing about Mike Young that many of you do not know – he could care less if his name is ever mentioned, he actually prefers that it isn’t mentioned.

“He does it for all the right reasons – from his heart. Mr. and Mrs. Young did raise very good kids and Covina is proud all over again.”

Theresa thought the participants learned a valuable lesson.

“If those players that played on MLK Day were not aware of the power of coming together and giving, they are now. What a lesson provided that day to the whole city, but especially the boys playing. I know that each kid donated to play and that the coaches stressed to them the importance of doing what’s right. An invaluable lesson was learned that day for many, many kids.”

The big discussion of late has to do with a story published by the Orange County Register. It involves a student section cheering for the Servite High School boys basketball team that began making “racial chants” toward an African-American player during a game against rival Mater Dei.

The Register has an accompanying video of the incident posted on our blog in which Servite fans can be heard making “monkey chants” when Mater Dei guard Gary Franklin, an African American, has the ball.

In the story, Servite president Peter Bowen acknowledged the incident and vowed to do something about it.

“We take full responsibility for our mistakes,” Bowen told the Register. “We see this as an opportunity to get at deeper issues that lie within our school and exist at any school.”

Most of the comments were critical of the Servite cheering section, but others shockingly were not.

Here is what King Stud wrote:

“It amazes me to see people get so worked up over this. It’s high school kids goofing off at a game. Of course if the shoe were on the other foot and this was a white kid and the kids were making comments about him being a redneck would this even be a topic? Love the double standard. People are too sensitive about this. It’s a game. Have a good time like these kids.”

We’ll end today’s column with a more rationale point of view from someone simply named, ’00.

“The incident and its defense on this blog is a sad comment on Servite, Orange County and the state of race relations in the nation. Yes, we just elected a black president but until people in Orange County or elsewhere can see something wrong with taunting a kid based on his race during a sporting event then we still have plenty of progress to make with respect to our attitudes and conceptions of race.

“The defense of this as kids being kids or race baiting is irresponsible and dangerous. Hopefully the incident can be used as a moment for education rather than for strictly disciplinary purposes.

“It’s a big world, and if some of these kids leave their Servite/Orange County bubble thinking that this behavior is acceptable, then there are going to be some tough lessons learned going forward.”

Well said. The blog is filled with many opinions, so if you want your voice heard in future, now you have

a place to go.


(626) 962-8811, Ext. 2161

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