When adults begin to take kids’ sports too seriously, bad things can happen. That was the case at a youth baseball game in Texas on Saturday.

The home plate umpire — identified as Sam Phelps by Peyton Yager of Fox4news.com in Dallas-Fort Worth — called a runner safe on a close play at the plate. The opposing coach came out to dispute the call and was quickly ejected. Seconds after the ejection, he shoved Phelps down to the ground.

According to the Fox4news report Phelps said the coach’s had grown increasingly frustrated throughout the course of the game.

“As the game went on, he didn’t like what happened,” Phelps said. “I didn’t know what was coming.”

A parent at an adjacent field — Ryan Walke — said that the coach went to his car and drove away.

The coach in question was also contacted and expressed some contrition.

“FOX 4 spoke to the coach by phone on Monday,” Yager reported. “He admitted his role in the confrontation and hopes he can one day shake Phelps’ hand and apologize.”

While Phelps did say that he doesn’t “want to destroy anyone’s life,” he is pressing charges. He noted that “I would like this to be a learning opportunity to get this out there” and that “If there are no consequences, this can continue.”

And unfortunately, this has become a growing issue. As bad as this one incident was — especially given that (according to the scoreboard), it was a 10 and under game — it would be one thing to not want overreact to an isolated incident. However, this seems to be anything but isolated in youth sports.

Recently, at the end of a youth basketball game in Georgia, players from one team ganged up on and assaulted the referee.

In 2020, a high school football player in Texas charged the field from the sideline and knocked a referee down after a penalty was called.

And unfortunately, even those represent only a small number of these incidents. An October report by Fox 43 in Pennsylvania noted that “Increasing violence toward school sports officials is contributing to a national and local referee shortage, according to industry officials.”

While physical attacks are still relatively rare, verbal attacks that cross the line are not. Certainly, it’s a trend that needs to be reversed immediately. If the numbers are down already, incidents like this aren’t going to help. Nobody in their right mind would see this and be encouraged to become an official.

[Peyton Yager, Fox4news.com]

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