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October 19, 2004

When Little League Parents Go To College


FROM HORROR STORIES ABOUT LITTLE LEAGUE PARENTS that we’ve all seen, been or dealt with, comes an examination of various parental “inputs” that seem to have become more and more of college football.

First, a story from Tennessee in 1994.

Freshman quarterback Branndon Stewart was battling for PT with fellow freshman Peyton Manning (son All-American QB Archie Manning). Stewart's parents were convinced it was because of Manning's name. Stewart's mother once banged on the locker room door of the Vols during a game day and cried, "I know Archie Manning's in there, so let us in there, too.”

Branndon Stewart transferred to Texas A&M; the next year and became a starter.

Hmm.

This season, LSU Coach Nick Saban has been juggling the quarterback position between fifth-year senior Marcus Randall and redshirt freshman JaMarcus Russell.

Randall's mama called Saban to say her piece after the season’s first game.

The take-charge Linda Randall later said, “I'm the person to handle things with other adults when Marcus is involved.”

Randall started LSU's first five games, but Russell played in more critical moments and eventually started at Florida last week. Randall came in for Russell after two interceptions in the first quarter.

Randall had his best game, completing 18-of-27 passes for 198 yards and two touchdowns, LSU beat the Gators 24-21. Randall has won the starting QB role.

But Russell will still play and Saban is considering starting Russell but bringing in Randall early because Randall has thrived off the bench.

Hmm.

Saban said a mouthful about parental inputs, “Everybody’s a little self-centered when it comes to their kids.”

Sadly there are thousands of incidents at all levels of all sports in which overactive parents have engaged in completely inappropriate verbal and physical behavior. If such boorish behavior has been tolerated at the lower levels of sports, then there’s no reason to expect things to calm down when cute little Kennie becomes a quarterback at State U.

Further from Saban, who made the point that pressure on coaches does not stop when they reach the pros. “You don’t hear from parents there. You hear from the agents.”

Amen.


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(this 351 word excerpt—with accompanying commentary—was distilled from a 1634 word article from the Louisiana Gannett News of 10-17-04)