Someone had the good sense to place the sign above at the McCracken County soccer complex with its wise, cautionary words for the demographic that needs them most at youth sporting events.


The sign's message, located approximately between Coleman Road and the Van Newberry Trail, is all-too-often necessary in setting expectations of clean conduct and proper perspective for spectators.

Similar signs ought to be posted at every field, court and course there is in our community, wherever children compete in what are, essentially, the no-stakes games of children, the editorial board believes.

Most adults don't need the coaching in sideline and bleacher etiquette.

But there are always outliers, usually hotheaded adults who are living vicariously through youth, ignoring the sentiments above, exhibiting abhorrent behavior.

An extreme example, one that reached into criminality, occurred in our community not long ago.

In April, 40-year-old Keyon Menifield, the coach of a Flint, Michigan, youth basketball team, became so enraged during his team's game at the Paducah Sports Plex that he decked the referee, 61-year-old Kenny Culp of Paducah, hospitalizing the well-respected official.

A day after the incident, Menifield bragged on social media that he "knocked the ref out." He was in a less boastful mood in the presence of a McCracken County Sheriff's Department deputy, according to court documents.

Menifield told the deputy, according to reports, that he "lost control," that Culp did nothing to provoke the attack, and he regretted what happened. Arrests tend to provide clarity.

The ugly episode got uglier where it always does -- on social media -- as Menifield and Culp supporters traded derogatory remarks and half-baked threats.

Thankfully, the case has moved to its appropriate venue -- the local court system -- for a just resolution.

But it's undeniable the situation was avoidable, and a lesson in the drastic differences between response and reaction.

The editorial board cites the soccer complex sign and the Menifield/Culp assault because summer is upon us and with it, a busy slate of baseball and softball games and tournaments.

While the games usually result in their intended ways -- fun and expression for players, bonding among teammates, memories for families -- they can be marred in a hurry by someone with the wrong intentions.

Let's keep it clean this summer.

Fun. Competitive but fair. Rivals not enemies.

The editorial board appreciates signs like the one at the soccer complex, and we'll leave you with another we've seen at ballparks from time to time, topical for the coming days on the diamond.

He stands at the plate with his heart pounding fast.

The bases are loaded, the die has been cast.

Mom and Dad cannot help him, he stands all alone.

A hit at this moment would send his team home.

The ball meets the plate, he swings and he misses.

There's a groan from the crowd, with some

boos and hisses.

A thoughtless voice cries, "Strike out the bum."

Tears fill his eyes, the game's no longer fun.

So open your heart and give him a break,

for it's moments like this, a man you can make.

Keep this in mind when you hear someone forget,

He is just a little boy, and not a man yet.

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