The Coach and the Cop

Posted: May 9, 2020 in Humor, Memories, Sports

I was talking with some friends today and we were talking about high school basketball and how much it’s changed. The subject came up regarding how many times the police actually became involved back in the day, whether it be to remove fans from the gym or to escort teams to their bus. Believe it or not, I know of at least three instances of policemen actually interacting with coaches during a game. Crazy but true, and you probably won’t be surprised to hear that one of those coaches was me. Here’s my story . . .

It was the early 90s, and my team was in a particularly tense battle with a team from a neighboring county. It was a non-league game and our opponent was a bigger school, I believe Division 2 while we were Division 4. The game was back and forth with several lead changes. Of course I was being pretty active on the sidelines, trying to urge my team on and dealing with the officials. And then, near the beginning of the fourth quarter, as I was standing a few feet in front of our bench shouting out instructions to my guys or giving some constructive criticism to the officials, it happened.

Suddenly, I felt someone tapping rather aggresively on my shoulder. I turned around expecting to see an assistant coach or one of my players, but to my surprise I found myself starting into the eyes of an angry policeman.

What the hell?

The next thing I knew he was in my face, pointing to our bench and yelling, “You need to sit down.

What? Sit down? I hadn’t even received a technical! The cop was a young guy, so maybe he was confused? I know I was.

Anyway, I then rather forcefully informed him that I would not be sitting down, that it wasn’t his job to tell me to do so, that it was the job of those three men in striped shirts on the court. Keep in mind that all this was happening with the game in progress, so although the officials may have seen what was happening they were busy doing what they were supposed to be doing, which was officiating the damn game.

The little Barney Fife dude was having none of it and again ordered me to have a seat. It was then that I said this:

“You’re out of line here. You’ll soon learn that you’ve made a mistake. Now you have two choices. 1,600 people in the stands are watching. Your first choice is to pat me on back, smile and act as if we’ve worked this out, I’ll smile and do the same, and you can walk back over to that wall where you were standing. Your second choice is to arrest me, put me in handcuffs, and take me to jail. Your call.”

At that point there was a bit of a pause where we stared at each other, and then he actually patted me on the back and walked away. And although I was tempted to pat him on the ass, I slapped him on the back, smiled, and did the same.

Thank God he listened to reason and common sense prevailed. That would have been a bad night for both of us.





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