As a matter of full disclosure, I am an older guy, bordering on curmudgeon. I often find myself pining for a kinder, gentler world where we treat each other respectfully, and we especially show some respect for authority.

No, I am not speaking of politics, but of sports.

I have been following the suspension of one of A&M’s starting pitchers in conjunction with his run-in with the umpire in the Alabama series. Now I have no problem with the idea that emotions run high in these type situations, but when things go over the line I believe one must “own” and take responsibility for their actions. After all, anyone can behave respectfully when all the world is going your way. The real revelation of character is how we respond in times of stress, and the heat is on.

Here is the situation. According to The Eagle, after a smallish confrontation with this umpire in the second inning, cameras later caught this player shouting to the umpire, “That’s terrible. You’re terrible.” He was ejected for his comments and now faces a four-game suspension, a suspension that cannot possibly be beneficial to his team this weekend. Post-game after these events, one teammate questioned whether his pitcher had done enough to be ejected. This young man was quoted as saying, “He didn’t say anything disrespectful to the umpire. … He [the umpire] didn’t warn him.” He wanted to assure the player that the team “had his back”.

Well then I don’t understand the definition of disrespectful. Nor do I understand the concept of having someone’s back. And since when does total disregard for civility in conversation require a warning? His “warnings” should have been ongoing from family, coaches, friends, teachers, and mentors for literally his entire life. This is a young man who should be perfectly capable of understanding what offensive behavior is. Imagine the situation where, after walking a couple of batters in a row, the umpire shouted out to him, “That’s terrible. You are terrible.” Of course all the country would be up in arms — and rightfully so — because said comments would be totally inappropriate.

I am not trying to imply at all that this young man is usually poor mannered. I understand he is generally a nice guy and liked by all. I am not advocating for any over-reaching punishment for this breach of manners. The suspension is more than plenty. I have certainly had instances where my behavior was less than honorable. Still, our response is often more important than the event. When I acted somehow out of line, I was eternally grateful for friends, family, and mentors who would take me aside and share with me that they still loved me, but I was wrong and I needed to make it right. They were friends who held me accountable and who expected to be held accountable by me. To me, that is what it truly means to have someone’s back. Rubber stamping boorish behavior is not what it means to have someone’s back.

I absolutely love how Coach Childress hammers over and over again about being accountable and not making excuses. Every time I hear him on the radio I turn it up, and his straightforward approach nearly always makes me smile and be proud to have him here working with our guys. Best luck going forward, Aggies. Live, learn, fix it and move on.

Mike Terral is a retired teacher and coach for the 

College Station schools.

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