Ugly Ending Scars Great Event

Augustine Dashiell July 12 2009

OLD BRIDGE – Those at the contest, witnessed the same thing this writer saw, and even though the game lacked a competitive nature, it was entertaining. The Lions clearly came to play football as a team, while the Spartans came to play football, initially. When the Spartans play on the field showed no dividends on the scoreboard, the agenda changed.

The change in attitude began showing early as the second quarter with various outbursts and shouting matches between teammates and coaches alike as the Lions steady line play began to eat away at the Spartans will to compete.
With expletive filled verbal tirades aimed at the officials, the Spartans imploded from the inside out, and the Lions capitalized on each undisciplined mistake. When the defensive end rushed to the inside, quarterback Matt Mariano raced outside keeping drives alive.
The blitzing by the Lions’ secondary just registered another sack. As the points mounted in the Lions’ favor to 35-0, there was no reason for what ended the game.
In any level of sport, a certain manner of sportsmanship is expected. Even in a sport predicated on human collisions between blows of a whistle, certain acts never gain acceptance.
Why, when trailing 35-0 with 12 minutes left in the contest, would one player decide throwing punches is allowable? Even at some point, boxers go into survival mode and hold on or “dance” through rounds, and they are there to fight.
There is no intention of this writer to bash the Spartans or the RAFL, as on previous occasions attending games have provided nothing short of enjoyment. The rational behind the article is twofold.

  • This was the biggest story of the game
  • The ramifications this type of activity can create

The first reason is self-explanatory, sometimes games turnout to be blowouts and they are hard to write up, but never does a writer want to pen a tale of such negative behavior.

The second reason is what weighs on the mind. As many organizations attempt to put the stigmatism attached to “semi-pro” football in the rear view mirror, actions such as this can’t help but drudge up stories of players smoking during timeouts or players having a bottle of (insert your favorite alcoholic beverage here) tucked away on the sideline.
The RAFL has gone to great lengths in attempts at cleaning up the image of minor league football. The change on the sideline is noticeable amongst some teams witnessed this summer. The New Jersey Lions are one of those teams.
How do they look their fans, sponsors, or families and tell them that what happened today will not happen again? How does anyone walk away from that game want to come back to another game where things may escalate to a higher level?
Was a stoppage of the game required? That was the referee’s call, we can look at it this way, at what level of violence should he have waited for? The incident put a bad light on the RAFL, the Spartans, and unfortunately, the Lions, for hosting the event.

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