Catcher's Lapse Of Judgment A Teachable Moment, Not Worthy Of Manufactured Outrage


By Jared Max
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The headline writers got it all wrong. But who cares since the video went viral, right?

“High School Catcher Takes Out Two Runners With Brutal Elbows”

“High School Softball Catcher Throws Wicked Elbows”

Judging by the headlines describing two incidents in a Texas high school state championship game last Saturday, I anticipated seeing a pair of seismic attacks by a catcher, in attempt to block runners from touching home plate. I expected a “brutal elbow” A “wicked elbow.” I did not see either.

What I see is another overreaction by the Nanny States of America.

If you have not seen this video of Saturday’s incident, please watch here before you continue reading.

While the catcher, Megan Crosby, threw a pair of cheap shots at opposing players, she did not ruffle the feathers of either girl — not to any degree near where some righteous neighbors want to make a federal case here. Crosby messed up, yes. But, neither elbow was thrown with great force. It was all about the science of the collisions that redirected both girls to the ground.

Think of a vehicle that bumps a guard rail at 75 mph, as opposed to 20 mph. At the faster speed, not only does the automobile ricochet off of the cement structure, it’s significantly more challenging to control. You remember this fig newton from high school, right? For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. This is why fastballs yield home runs that would not have been left the park on changeups, per se.

Regarding the prospect of this 2 million-hit YouTube video being stuffed down our throats in the sports pages, I have to gag. This is not an issue about sports. It is about parenting.

This is not a flavor-of-the-month teaching point, a la those godforsaken elementary safety tips we receive from (too many) members of the media. We do not need any more portrayals of all-knowing moms and dads trying to educate the public about the need to remain hydrated on humid, 100-degree days, or to dress in layers when it’s frigid outside.

We are in agreement that Megan Crosby acted improperly. Her violent actions should be addressed. This is about Megan and how her future can be improved through education by those who love her.

Hopefully, through parenting and effective teaching, Megan will recognize the similarity between her in-game anger and that of the NFL’s Ndamukong Suh and NASCAR’s Tony Stewart. This is the teaching point, and it’s a critical one.

In Megan’s “Scared Straight” course, I would create a chart that shows levels of potential danger that could result from violent, split-second reactions.

Considering that Crosby did not injure either girl who she jerked her elbow at, for this argument she scores a 1. Because Suh has lost his cool multiple times by stomping on other players, he should receive a 5. Because Kevin Ward, Jr. is not alive to read this, Stewart gets a 10.

From my perspective, a man died tragically because Stewart had a momentary lapse in judgment. I believe that Stewart had no intention to physically harm Ward. But, Stewart proved that knee-jerk reactions can be fatal.

Had Crosby’s elbow seriously injured either girl, this story might be about potential criminal charges, or lawsuits. It is not.

The first girl whose path to home plate was detoured by Crosby’s elbow was Demi Janek, who told KPRC-TV of the derailment, “She did what she wanted to do in order to try to keep us from scoring. But, it doesn’t matter to me because we won.”

If you watched the video, you saw both girls return to home plate after being elbowed to ensure that they scored. Then, they walked away.

Can we do the same and let Crosby’s parents and teachers make her understand what needs to be fixed?

Jared Max is a multi-award winning sportscaster. He hosted a No. 1 rated New York City sports talk show, “Maxed Out” — in addition to previously serving as longtime Sports Director at WCBS 880, where he currently anchors weekend sports. Follow and communicate with Jared on Twitter @jared_max.

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