Recently there have been news stories about extreme parents taking the disputes that start with their children on the sports field off to the sidelines. Usually it results in two or more adults fighting with one another on the sidelines, and a bunch of children standing around watching, wondering how it escalated to that level.

A football game in Fort Worth, Texas Saturday night was no different–except for the handgun that was brought to the fight. 

Reports indicate that two youth players on opposite teams had engaged in an altercation on the football field. A mother on the sidelines unhappy with the fight taking place on the field created an altercation on the sidelines of her own.

It is believed that at some point the woman called her older son to come to the football field.

When the son arrived at the elementary school where the football game was taking place, police say he opened fire on the crowd with a handgun.  One woman was hit in the leg, and another juvenile female was grazed by a bullet.

As reported by Fox 35 News, a witness who had been working in the concession stand detailed the shooting:

“It’s just unbelievable, because it’s like, you hear people say that all the time, but you don’t see nothing happen, and this time, it actually happened, I ran outside, and was on the side of that truck, and just said, ‘Come in. Get in.’ Then one lady said she tried to get out of her chair, she said, ‘I’ve been hit,” and fell to the ground.”

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Witnesses explained that the two individuals that were injured were taken to an area hospital and that their injuries were not life threatening.  A coach from one of the teams was also seen with blood on his pants after helping one of the victims.   

The shooter had not been located or taken into custody.  Police are still investigating.

Sadly, adults elevating sports disputes from children on the field to the sidelines has been an ever-growing issue at youth events. Karissa Niehoff, Executive Director of the National Federation of State High School Associations explains in her op-ed:

“When more than 2,000 high school athletic directors were asked in a recent national survey what they like least about their job, 62.3% said it was “dealing with aggressive parents and adult fans. The men and women who wear the black and white stripes agree. In fact, almost 80% of officials quit after the first two years on the job, and unruly parents are cited as the reason why.” 

We are at a point that these issues between parents have become so publicized that, Niehoff goes on to lay out a list of requests to parents who are attending their children’s sporting events. She writes:

Act Your Age, Don’t Live Your Life Vicariously Through Your Children, Let Your Children Talk to the Coach Instead of You Doing It for Them, Stay in Your Own Lane, Participating in a High School Sport Is Not About Getting a College Scholarship, Make Sure Your Children Know You Love Watching Them Play.”

On any given day, a news story will break with the words like, ‘parents arrested at youth game, altercation erupts between players parents at youth games, adults arrested at children’s sports game.

The Director of Center for the Study of Sport in Society at Northeastern University, Peter Roby, explains that “parents are losing perspective on the point of playing sports and are viewing the game through their own eyes, rather than from their child’s point of view.”

In a world where it seems parents have decided that taking the fights to the sidelines is a better example than teaching their children why they shouldn’t be fighting on a field in the first place, Niehoff reminds us:

“Purchasing a ticket to a high school athletic event does not give you the right to be rude, disrespectful or verbally abusive. Cheer loud and be proud, but be responsible and respectful.”

Games are supposed to be fun, and team building, not a stage for parents to live out their version of Fight Club.

About two weeks ago, at least 10 people were hurt after a shooting at the end of a high school football game in Mobile, Alabama.

Here’s what happened.

Officers were working at the match-up at the match-up between John L. LeFlore Magnet High School and Lillie B. Williamson High School when shots rang out late in the game.

 

Mobile Police Chief Lawrence Battiste said six people were shot at Ladd Peebles Stadium, which is a city-owned venue.

Another four people suffered various injuries, including one person who had a seizure after the incident.

The victims range in age from 15 to 18-years-old, according to the police chief. 

 

According to Mobile Fire-Rescue spokesman Steven Millhouse, five patients were hospitalized in critical condition, but their injuries were non-life-threatening. The conditions of the others have not yet been released.

The chief said he believes it all started with “beefs” on the streets. He said security footage is still being reviewed and witnesses are being interviewed.

“We treat this like an active shooter scenario,” Battiste said. “Our guys, when they heard shots rang out, they moved to the area.”

He said there was no “armed confrontation” when two were taken into custody. Police have not confirmed if the two taken into custody are the shooting suspects.

“It is my belief,” he said, “that we will make an arrest in this case.”

Battiste said this is why we need to be alert in public gatherings.

“It goes back to the idea that why are young people bringing this type of violence to public events?” Battiste said.

He said it should have been an enjoyable evening out for families.

“This is unacceptable for people to not to be able to come out and enjoy an event watching their children play at a football game and watching their children perform in the band.”

Mobile County Public Schools called the shooting “sad” and said the media should direct any questions to the police.

It comes almost a year to date after a shooting at a high school football game in Jacksonville, Fla., that left one person dead and two injured, officials said.

The shooting happened about 10 p.m. ET, 15 minutes after the game ended at Raines High School last August 25, where about 4,000 spectators attended, the Florida Times Union reported, citing Jacksonville authorities.

high school football game

One person was killed and two were injured during a shooting following a football game at Raines High School. (Screenshot News4Jax.)

About three-quarters of the crowd was gone by the time the gunfire erupted, according to the paper.

Authorities said they had one suspect in custody, the identity is undisclosed.

“The best information we have so far is that we have a single black male shooter, and we are working to get a more refined description,” Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office director Ron Lendvay said, according to the report.

During the game some disturbances and fights took place among the spectators, but Lendvay said it was too soon to determine if those confrontations were related to the shooting.

The stadium for the Raines-versus-Lee High School game was placed on lockdown as security personnel worked to keep the remaining fans and players safe, Jacksonville’s WJXT-TV reported.

“It is shocking. I was actually here, at the game. It was a great game and for it to end in violence like this is just unfortunate, and quite frankly, we should all be saying unacceptable.”

– Superintendent Diana Greene

The victims’ names were not released. The fatality was reportedly a young adult male and the injured people were teenagers, one boy and one girl, police said.

“It is shocking. I was actually here, at the game,” Superintendent Diana Greene told the Times Union. “It was a great game and for it to end in violence like this is just unfortunate, and quite frankly, we should all be saying unacceptable.”

The superintendent said everyone coming into the game had to undergo a magnetic detector wand search and that security inside the game area was tight.

“This is a community issue,” Greene said. “I need parents, students to stand up. If you see something, say something.”

That shooting followed by one week a shooting at a high school football game in Palm Beach County, Fla., where two adults were wounded.

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