Like it or not, everybody is influenced by the media. That used to mean television and radio, but with the Internet and Facebook, MySpace, You Tube, etc., we all live in a media fishbowl.
High school sports are not immune from the influence. Here are some examples of actual actions that I have seen high school athletes do.
On many occasions during baseball season, I saw a pitcher cover his mouth with his glove so that the camera could not read his lips while he was talking to his catcher.
How many cameras are at freshmen baseball games? How many lip readers are there in the world? If a person could read lips, how critical would it be if he saw what the pitcher said?
There are no center field cameras at any high school frosh or JV games.
Baseball players who dive after they make the catch practicing for Web gems are special.
I actually saw a freshman quarterback stand under center and raise his arms and hands to silence the crowd. The only problem was that there was no crowd and therefore there was no crowd noise to silence.
I have seen at least two members of every team that I have seen play football this season at every level try to lead cheers from the field by turning to the crowd (even when there was no crowd) and gesturing to the crowd to cheer for him or his team. If you want to be a cheerleader at least you can shave your legs and buy a skirt.
I have heard trash talking. It is ironic that the biggest trash talkers are most often the worst players. Coach Damon Baldwin should instruct his quarterbacks to read the secondary like this, “Look to see whose mouth is moving the most. He probably has the worst feet or he probably can’t move his feet when his mouth is moving. Pick on him!”
One of the best trash talkers I have heard all season dropped two passes that were right in his hands. That didn’t affect his trash talking, but it did effect from where he did his trash talking. He was doing his talking from the bench.
I have seen too many athletes wear the black bandage style eye black for night games. They write messages on them. One Ramona kid had 619 on his (like Reggie Bush) the only problem was his area code was 858 (I asked).
More high school athletes have tattoos than ever before. They can’t afford as many as the Chargers’ offensive linemen, but they are getting started on the JV level. One can take off the eye black. Good luck with the tats.
They outlawed the dark visors like LT wears. Several players have the see clear style shields. One player told me that he has a hard time seeing out of them but they look good. If you can’t see good, at least you can look good.
Towels are not as common as they used to be. There is a rule against wearing anything but a white towel. In the old days one could put his nickname, favorite passage from scripture and favorite sports drink.
Do-rags are still common. It strikes me peculiar that a kid that shaves his head needs a do-rag.
Celebrating, excessive celebrating and demonstrations are still all too common. There should be a rule that if a player is going to run out in the middle of the field, the one time he does something well he should have to run out there every time he makes a mistake. Nobody is in that good of shape.
Soccer celebrations don’t bother me. They wake up the spectators when a goal is scored.
Basketball players who dribble behind their backs in the open court are special. The rituals copied from pros on television at the free throw line are trite.
The parents are even getting in the act. The moms and dads at the Little League World Series games with the signs so that they could get on TV made me a little ill. The parents with the signs at high school frosh games are a little misguided, especially if they think that they will get on TV. I also shake my head when I see the shoe polish on the SUV windows.
I was at a frosh game and a parent yelled that the defense was on the field for too long. The team that the off-duty brain surgeon was yelling about had its players going both ways. The defensive players were the offensive players.
How come nobody ever yells that the offense is on the field for too long? Don’t offensive players ever get tired? It is bad when the defense is on the field for too long, but it is good if the offense is on the field too long.
Everybody gets the rules mixed up from watching TV. There is no two-minute warning in high school. There is no such thing as an uncatchable ball. Pass interference is not a spot foul in high school. The clock stops on a first down. There is no hand checking in high school basketball.
Most of the mimicking is harmless. It is a shame when high school athletes copy the wrong pros who are doing the wrong things.