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At the Mike
Reliving the past winds down; fall sports ready to pick up
At the Mike - photo by Barton Sports Information

It was a fun 10 weeks writing about past great moments for Barton Community College athletics. I hope everyone enjoyed reading about them.

What was going to start out as four or five stories ended up being 10 and extending through the bulk of the summer. From soccer to volleyball to track to basketball and on the baseball diamond it was good to rehash some of the memories and talk to some people I haven’t visited in a while.

Barton athletics has a rich tradition in just about every sport. I know there are many more moments that I wasn’t able to get to.

Now the full focus can turn the to the fall sports. Previews for Barton sports will begin to appear next week with the season getting started for several of the sports a week from Friday. The volleyball team has been practicing for a couple of weeks and the men’s and women’s soccer teams are on campus and getting ready for their seasons as well.

The volleyball team will scrimmage this weekend before playing for real Aug. 21 and 22 in Otero, Colo. The men’s soccer team will scrimmage Saturday while the women already have a scrimmage under their belts and will have another Saturday on campus with Fort Hays State starting at 10 a.m.

Both teams will start the regular season Friday, August 21 at Tabor.

High schools will be able to start the first official fall practices Monday.

For me personally that means high school football is not far away. I will begin my 15th year officiating high school football this fall. It is something I enjoy doing very much.

Over the years, officiating at various levels from varsity high school to Saturday kids football I have come to realize a few things.

First, some of the most exciting moments take place on Saturday with the kids football. There are very few things more exciting than watching that 9-year old make his first tackle or score his first touchdown.

They get up and have the biggest smile on their face. It’s a real sense of accomplishment that cannot be matched at any level.

Then there are the coaches. I will by no means lump all coaches from Saturday kids football together. Several work very well with the kids and with the officials. Those coaches are there to make the kids better players teaching them the right way to do things.

But there are several coaches at the youth level that should never be on a sideline. Those that scream at the kids and cuss at them. Yes, screaming and cussing at 10 and 11-year old kids to be perfect it seems as times.

The only coach I have ever thrown out of a game was at the youth level. I have flagged several more.

I can count on one hand – probably a couple fingers – the number of flags I have thrown on varsity high school coaches in 15 years, even junior varsity and junior high for that matter.

It would take at least both hands to add up the number on youth football coaches.

If I could give advice to the youth football coaches it would be the following three things.

First, the rules are the not the same as the NFL – learn the rules. Second, the kids playing are not in the NFL. Third, the teams they coach are not in the NFL.

Relax and have some fun. Make it fun for the kids.

If you make football fun for the kids they will continue to play and thrive. If you make it a terrible experience they may not want to play again.

I will say again, most of the coaches at the youth level do understand this – but not all.

So enjoy the time you have coaching the kids. They look up to their coach. Be a role model for them.