Time to recharge and renew

Dead period a great thing for Kentucky sports; Praying UK follows Bama and others’ lead

By John Herndon, 110forChrist.com

By now you probably know it’s time for the dead period in Kentucky high school sports. It’s that two-week reprieve from sports the Kentucky High School Athletic Association has had built into its calendar for years.

The actual dates are June 25-July 9 and in Kentucky, high school coaches and athletes have to go their separate athletic ways. Players can’t use the school weight rooms, gyms or playing facilities and coaches can’t supervise players during this time. Obviously, there will be contact, such as going to church together or running into each other at Walmart, but high school sports really are dead.

From my perspective, the “dead period” rule is one of the best in the KHSAA books. There was a time, back in those dark ages where I knew everything, that I thought the rule to be silly since I thought the most important thing about the offseason was to get better in sports. And, I thought, how could anyone get better if he is forced to take time off?

Now that I am older and have seen how the pressures of high school sports have ballooned to levels I would never have imagined when I was growing up, I realize the dead period is desperately needed. If anything, it could be longer. People need breaks and/or vacations at all ages and high school athletes are not exceptions, both physically and mentally.

It reminds me of the creation story where the writer of Genesis, in the first chapter, tells of six days of creation and all being good. Then in Gen. 2:2-3, he says, “By the seventh day, God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it, he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.”

Granted, we usually understand the application of this as applying to setting aside a day to rest and worship God. We understand from the New Testament that the earliest church met on the first day of the week. We won’t get into the theological reasoning in this column any more than that.

The point is that each of us needs time to recharge and for the high school athlete, the dead period is designed expressly for that purpose. Enjoy.

Praying that UK does not sell alcohol at games

In case you missed it — and really, I don’t see how you could have — the Southeastern Conference has given its member schools the OK to explore selling alcohol at sporting events. While alcohol has been sold at some college events for years, the SEC was one of the last holdouts against it.

As of this writing, the University of Kentucky had not said what it would do. According to Auburn Undercover, a 247sports.com website, Alabama, Auburn, Mississippi State and Georgia have all indicated they would not be doing so for now.

Good for them.

For the life of me, I can’t understand how alcohol enhances the game day experience. I had season tickets to Kentucky games for about 15 years, dropping them when they became so expensive especially with nearly every game on TV. In those 15 years the parking lot was full of tailgaters getting juiced up — and we are not just referring to enthusiasm — for the game. And, of course, the alcohol that made its way through the gates was well-known.

Some will say the sales of beer in stadiums regulates this and brings in more money to the athletic department’s coffers. I am not enough of an expert to know the pros and cons of both arguments. My guess is there is some validity to those claims, but there are also detriments that are not getting air time.

What I do know is that fan behavior has gotten exponentially worse over the last 10-15 years and I see no reversal of that trend. I covered high school sports for 34 years and at that level one of the most alarming trends was the number of officials getting out of the game because of fan behavior. I did see some incidents over the years, including several fans taking disagreements with the striped shirts well beyond booing or heckling. On several occasions, I saw fans trying to follow officials after a game. And yes, I have seen officials, and fans, get police escorts away from game venues due to fan threats.

While major college athletic programs have more funds to spend on security, the size of crowds at those events makes the opportunity for alcohol-enhanced behavior problems much greater. That’s just common sense.

There are already those who believe laying down $50-100 or more for a ticket gives a licence to berate someone wearing a striped shirt as it is. Add the decreased inhibitions of drinking alcohol and you have the potential for unnecessary volatile situations.

I hope and pray UK will join others opting not to follow the money path of alcohol at sporting events.


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