Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Inquirer: "Football Pads Don't Stop Bullets”

Philadelphia Inquirer chronicles football fallout

A clear Sunday morning in Burholme Park. Two teams of eager 5- and 6-year-olds gathered around learning to play football.

Instead, they received a lesson in life's ugliness: a coach and father fighting over a child's playing time, an angry loser wielding a .357 Magnum at a pee-wee football game.

The blowup between adults at the children's game occurred around 10:30 a.m. at the park in the 7300 block of Central Avenue in Northeast Philadelphia. Henwood and police gave the following version of events:

Parent Wayne Derkotch, 40, began arguing with the coach of the Northeast Outlaws because he felt his son wasn't getting enough playing time. The argument escalated into a physical fight. Derkotch pulled a .357 Magnum revolver from his waistband, an action witnessed by others at the game.

Daily News: Another “Never Again”

Philadelphia Daily News discusses youth football incident.

Here's what kids feel when parents misbehave at a game: embarrassment, disappointment, anger and fear, according to a 2001 survey of 3,000 children by Sports Illustrated for Kids. If Derkotch's finger had slipped on the trigger, we'd have to add "horror" to the list, too.

That's what the children at a Massachusetts ice rink felt in 2000, when single father Michael Costin got into a brutal fight with another parent who didn't like how Costin was supervising youth-hockey drills at the neighborhood ice rink. Costin died of brain injuries, the parent went to prison and the entire country vowed, "Never again!"

But, "a month later, a nearly identical incident happened somewhere else," says Fred Engh, president of the Florida-based National Alliance for Youth Sports, author of Why Johnny Hates Sports: Why Organized Youth Sports Are Failing Our Children and What We Can Do About It. "Nothing has changed."

Phillyburbs.com: Deliberate & Planned

Phillyburbs.com recounts Northeast robbery.

Two masked men robbed a northeast Philadelphia bank of several hundred thousand dollars, the biggest bank robbery in recent city history, the FBI said.

Investigators declined to say how much was taken from the PNC Bank on Monday, but FBI spokeswoman Jerri Williams said it was much more than the $250,000 taken in a large heist two years ago.