A couple of sports quickies

There have been a number of US Congressional hearings with respect to illegal steroid use in Major League Baseball. A number of current and former baseball players have been asked to testify at these hearings to determine the extent of the steroid use in baseball. Quite honestly, I’m glad this is happening, since MLB has been turning a blind eye to steroid use for years, and if it weren’t for the Congressional involvement, the Mitchell Report never would have been commissioned, people would still think steroid use in baseball was minimal, and José Canseco would still be thought of as an attention-seeking nutcase. (He might still be, but it looks as if he was right when he wrote his book about the rampant use of steroids.)

But all that aside, why is Congress involved? How is steroid use in baseball important enough to the American people that their congressmen (congresspeople?) need to get involved? Aren’t there any more important problems for them to solve?

Toronto Rock head coach Glenn Clark is in a mess o’ trouble. There were a number of fights and game misconducts at the Toronto – Minnesota game that I was at last Friday. After the game (which Toronto lost in overtime), Clark encountered one of the Minnesota players (Sean Pollock, who had been ejected early in the game) in the hallway near the Toronto dressing room. Pollock apparently made some comments about the game which Clark disagreed with, and Clark ended up punching him in the face a couple of times. Clark has now been charged with assault by Toronto Police. The NLL is also investigating and will announce the results of their investigation (likely a lengthy suspension for Clark) later this week. So not only is Clark not likely to be behind the bench again anytime soon, but he may get fired by the Rock entirely, and what’s worse, his day job may be at risk as well. When not coaching the Rock, Clark is a teacher, but if he’s convicted and ends up with a criminal record, his teaching career is over as well. Hopefully it doesn’t come to that.

Clark played for the Rock for a number of years — he was a great defenseman and I was a big fan of his (I even created his Wikipedia page). Then he got injured one year and missed over half the season, and when he came back the next season, he just wasn’t the same. He played another year or two in Toronto, but was never as effective as before the injury. He signed as a free agent with Philadelphia and played a year there before retiring to take the head coach job with the Rock. He was never afraid to drop the gloves, and always played with passion, but he rarely did blatantly stupid things. However, during one game last year, he (as a coach) had to be physically restrained by one of his players because he was irate at one of the refs. There are other coaches in the league who get all riled up and yell and swear and throw things and stuff, but I’ve never heard of Darris Kilgour or Troy Cordingley hitting a player. If Clark is less composed than Darris Kilgour, well, that’s bad.

I think he should be suspended for at least half the season, if not the remainder of the season, and should be fired by the Rock. (Some have suggested a lifetime ban, but I think that’s a bit harsh.) There’s no place in lacrosse, or any sport, for stuff like that. It’s one thing for players to lose control like that, but Clark is the Head Coach. Even if some of the players on his team are older than he is (he’s 38 — several months younger than me), he still has to be held to a higher standard. Maybe he can take the time away from lacrosse to take an anger management course.

Having said that, I don’t think there was any need for police involvement. As bad as this incident was in the world of lacrosse (or sport in general), it was right after a high-intensity game that saw numerous lead changes, went to overtime, and saw a number of players penalized and ejected. This took place during a professional sporting event, not a floor hockey game during gym class. Clark is very passionate about lacrosse, and obviously needs to learn to control that passion. I’m not defending him — he did a stupid thing and deserves to be punished for it — but I don’t think there’s any need to jeopardize his teaching career because of it. I don’t think there’s any danger of some 11th grader talking back to Clark in class and getting socked.

OK, that second one wasn’t as much of a quickie as I originally intended…


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