Football Coach Concerned About Bullying
Letter to the editor.
Is the TCYFL (The Chicagoland Youth Football League) doing enough to stop the rampant unsportsmanlike conduct and bullying handed out each week by the Big Ten Buffalo Grove Lights football team led by Head Coach Joey Weber? The communities that have played them this year don’t think so. I also don’t believe they have done enough, if anything at all.
I coach the Lake Zurich Flames Lights team and we played Buffalo Grove on Sunday Sept. 25th in Buffalo Grove. During pre-game warm-ups the Buffalo Grove team jogged around my Lake Zurich team as we warmed up and verbally assaulted my players using profanities I cannot put in print in this family newspaper. A few minutes later they came jogging back around and singled out one of my players and assaulted him with profanities. Meanwhile my players said nothing. I told them all week this might happen, and if it did, to ignore it. I had been told by other coaches that previously played them to be aware. The Buffalo Grove team then proceeded to complete their warm-ups not more than 20 yards from my team. Their warm up chant included a gay slur directed at my team, which they repeated several times in pre-game and at half time. Their coaches stood by and did nothing to stop them.
During the game Buffalo Grove had an unsportsmanlike penalty called on them for taunting. They went on to beat us 28 to 0. What is really sad about this whole situation is that they have a great team and they don’t need to act this way. I know several players on the Buffalo Grove team and it is not in their nature to act in this manner. The behavior and actions of a football team is the direct responsibility of its head coach. Only the individuals on the Buffalo Grove team can say whether or not Joey Weber encourages this behavior, but anyone who has played against him can say he certainly does nothing to stop it.
Bullying has no place in youth sports. We have seen and read too many stories on bullying and the results of bullying. I have coached 13 years in the Lake Zurich Flames organization and 4 years at the High School level and I have never come across a team so bent on winning that everything else, including good sportsmanship, is set aside. Anyone who has played or coached competitive sports will tell you that their goal is to win, but the overwhelming majority will also tell you there is a line they will not cross, especially in youth sports, and unfortunately that line has been crossed all season long by the Buffalo Grove Big Ten Lights team - and the TCYFL needs to do something about it. If nothing is done we are telling these players it is ok to act this way, and how is that helping them? This is a black eye for youth sports and the TCYFL for letting this type of behavior continue.
The Chicago Bears and Northwestern Wildcats are associated with the TCYFL which professes its mission to be: The TCYFL will encourage and inspire our youth, regardless of race, religious affiliation/belief, gender, creed, ethnicity, or national origin; and facilitate participation in practicing good health, citizenship, character and sportsmanship. First and foremost, the TCYFL promotes the welfare and wellbeing of the player, free from the adult lust for glory. I wonder how they would react if they knew the TCYFL was turning a blind eye to rampant unsportsmanlike conduct and bullying?
A Very concerned Parent, Youth Football Coach and High School Teacher,