Unwritten rules also a part of football

Published 12:08 am Sunday, September 12, 2010

Each sport has a rulebook that players and coaches must follow in order to play fairly.

But in addition to the pages and pages of rules contained in each sport’s rule book, there are a series of so-called unwritten rules that players and coaches better abide by.

Baseball is the sport that has the most unwritten rules, and if you break one of those codes, you’d better beware of a fastball to the ribs in your next at bat.

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Some of those unwritten rules say that you don’t pose after a home run, you don’t do a choreographed celebration at home plate after a home run, you don’t slide into a base with your spikes high, and you don’t steal bases when your team is trailing by more than 10 runs.

But baseball isn’t the only sport that has unwritten rules.

Football also has its set of them, and there is one unwritten rule that some high school coaches hold in high regard.

That rule states that if the game is a blowout and the team that is leading removes its starters from the game and inserts young players, it is courteous for the coach of the losing team to do the same.

I’ve obviously never been a coach, but it seems like a pretty logical thing to do.

First of all, both teams have freshmen and sophomore players who would never see the field unless they get on in the late stages of a blowout.

If one team calls off the dogs and puts its young players in, it would seem the coach of the losing team would be fair to his young players by letting them get some game action as well.

Secondly, many freshmen and sophomore second- and third-string players aren’t going to be as physically strong or talented as the junior and senior starters of the other team.

And last Friday night, there were two instances of the unwritten rule coming into play.

In one game, both coaches followed the rule, and in the other, the coach of the losing team decided not to follow the unwritten rulebook.

In Vidalia’s game against Ouachita Christian, the game got out of hand in the second half, with the Eagles leading by over 40 points.

Both teams inserted their backups and the clock ran continuously in the fourth quarter.

Ouachita Christian got a 56-10 win, and both teams got to give their young players some game experience.

However, in Cathedral’s game against Enterprise, the Yellowjackets coach decided he didn’t want to play by the rules.

With Cathedral up 52-7 early in the fourth quarter, Green Wave coach Ron Rushing took his starters out and put in basically his junior varsity team.

Enterprise chose not to do the same, and kept their starters in the entire game, and ran numerous long pass plays against the JV secondary.

The result was 43 meaningless points in the second half of the game, in what turned out to be a farcical 76-50 final score.

I have no idea why Enterprise chose to leave their starters in, but nobody came out a winner due to that decision.

Enterprise did score 50 points, but can they really be proud of that? I mean, 43 of them came against JV players.

Also, the Enterprise youngsters didn’t get a chance to play in one of the few games in which they might have another chance to see action.

And several of Cathedral’s young players got banged up due to some hard late hits by the bigger and stronger Enterprise starters.

So while some unwritten rules seem to be a bit silly, obeying this particular one just makes sense.

I just hope that in the future, coaches will try to abide by that.