CONTACT SPORTS: Cooling the fire

Published 12:00 am Saturday, July 20, 2002


Two of the biggest rival teams, U.L. Lafayette and LSU, will not play each other on the baseball or softball diamonds next season.

Among the immensely heated rivalries both schools have on their minds in all sports, the baseball and softball matchups have garnered just a little too much flaming attention.

LSU’s head baseball and softball coaches feel if the line hasn’t been crossed yet by both teams, it would have been very quickly. To ease some of the tension and give both teams a chance to calm their avalanche of emotions, LSU’s Smoke Laval and Yvette Girouard canceled the Cajuns’ and Tigers’ baseball game and the softball double header for the upcoming season.

No one in the state wants to see such rival and competitive games stricken from the schedules, especially when the two teams’ talent seems to be peaking. But everyone should admit that things were getting out of hand.

Respect, sportsmanship and the idea of what the game is really about was thrown out the game, along with the ULL head coach and a player from each team.

Still alive in my mind was watching the melee at Alex Box Stadium, with players taunting each other on the way from third base to home plate, bats flying into the dugouts all of a sudden and pitchers aiming for the ribs. No one would have been left standing if the playoff game would have been a double header instead.

I’m not sure of the details, but I honestly believe the violent competitiveness, or childish behavior, spread to the fans during the softball regional between the teams in Lafayette. A plaque honoring Girouard, who coached a few seasons at ULL, was torn from the school’s Wall of Honor, not for cleaning.

It’s a shame when you have to worry about your campus being vandalized by visiting fans, but it’s purely pitiful when home team fans will rip down parts of their own school. The last time I checked, both schools were colleges, not high schools.

I was looking forward to attending these games next season and cheering my lungs out no matter which field it would have been on. But if the two teams, and some of their fans for that matter, need a timeout, then it has to be done. I guess this situation will have to be handled like an excerpt from grade school where every player or fan participating for the game itself, will have to take the punishment too.

ROBERT L. LEE is the sports editor, he can be reached at 985-652-9545.