Frye sets the right example

October 14, 2003|LARRY VAUGHT

Sportsmanship seems like such a simple concept, one that athletes and coaches from junior high to the professional level of any sport should be able to comprehend.

Just ask Andy Frye.

The Centre College football coach demonstrated just how easy it is to have good sportsmanship Saturday. His Colonels built a 41-0 lead over Millsaps going into the fourth quarter and probably could have scored 70 or more points if Frye had wanted to run the score up.

Instead, he did the opposite. Rather than having his starters pad their statistics and embarrass an outmanned opponent, he went to his reserves. He didn't panic when MIllsaps scored. He didn't alter his thinking when Millsaps scored again.

Frye, unlike many coaches, understood that his reserves not only deserved a chance to play, but that they could not improve without game action. Maybe he had some second thoughts when Millsaps kept scoring, but he didn't panic and pull his reserves.


Eventually Millsaps scored 41 points in the fourth quarter, but Centre still won 51-41. More importantly, players on both sides had to leave feeling good about the game. Centre's starters dominated play for three quarters, Centre's reserves got to play the final quarter and Millsaps' starters salvaged some self-respect in period four.

It's just too bad there are so many other more publicized incidents of poor sportsmanship.

Start with Ohio State linebacker Robert Reynolds. He had a career-high 12 tackles for the defending national champions against Wisconsin Saturday. However, no one will remember that. What will be remembered is the way Reynolds attacked Wisconsin quarterback Jim Sorgi late in the third quarter after he was tackled. Reynolds, a Kentucky native, jabbed Sorgi's throat several times and then kneed the quarterback in the head when he was pulled off the pile.

Sorgi could not play again because he had trouble swallowing and breathing. Reynolds apologized, but only after the play was shown over and over on ESPN. He was given a one-game suspension by the Big Ten Monday and should consider himself lucky.

Football is a physical, violent sport and a lot goes on during a game that probably shouldn't. But Reynolds attacked a defenseless player by jabbing his throat repeatedly, and there's no doubt he was trying to hurt him.

Who would you want living next to you? Reynolds or Frye?

Then there was that display at Boston during Game 4 of the American League Championship Series. Boston pitcher Pedro Martinez threw at New York's Karim Garcia and hit him, and Garcia retaliated with a hard slide on Boston second baseman Todd Walker.

Next Boston's Manny Ramirez took exception to an inside pitch from Roger Clemens. Ramirez briefly acted like he was going to charge the mound, but he kept the bat in his hands. Of course, he was easily stopped and then let both benches clear. That led to 72-year-old New York coach Don Zimmer taking a wild swing at Martinez and Martinez pushing him to the ground.

It was childish behavior by a group of overpaid athletes who would have no concept of the compassion Frye showed Saturday.

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