Joe Volz: Young’s tirade not a model for youth, or gubernatorial candidates -- Gazette.Net







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There used to be a water commissioner on an old radio show called the “Great Gildersleeve,” who was a bumbling public official never in control of anything.

Throckmorton P. Gildersleeve did not control the water department very well, his own love life, or his rambunctious nephew, Leroy, who lived with him.

Gildersleeve was an amiable dunce.

Now no one can accuse Frederick County Board of Commissioners’ President Blaine R. Young (R) of possessing any of those qualities.

On the other hand, the boisterous Young has apparently been acting a bit like a dunce lately — over a basketball game.

By now, you probably have heard the purported details. Young reportedly blew up against the referee at a youth league basketball game. Young, 41, felt the league referee, 17, was tilting the game against his team.

Young coaches a team, appropriately called the Heat, which includes his son.

So, after the game, Young unloaded at the ref with a tirade of profanity. Just who said what and in what order is not clear. Young has apologized. The kid’s mother said Blaine started the brouhaha. It apparently began after the game ended.

In any event, the league suspended both Young and the teenager for a game.

My own feeling is that the ruling against Young was far too weak. After all, he is an adult, a community leader. He should be held to a higher standard than an immature teen.

And, although he was not acting in his role as a public official but just as coach, Young should have shown much more restraint. It’s only a game.

Before apologizing, Young supposedly blamed the kid for being immature. The league said things have been settled.

I don’t think so. Young should be suspended for the rest of the season and into half of next season.

And there is another thing to address. Some of Young’s supporters say the story never should have appeared because it was such a minor thing. There is an element of truth to that. Coaches and refs yell at each other all the time.

But, normally, the swearing doesn’t involve a tirade from the county’s most prominent public official who wants to be governor.

So it is worth reporting.

Sportsmanship does not, and should not, involve cussing out the ref.

Young, a former teacher, said it was a teaching experience. I don’t know exactly what he meant. He seemed to be referring to the kid’s behavior, not his own.

The learning experience, as I view it, should be that boorish behavior by a powerful official will not be tolerated. There is no room for bullies in the league or even at Winchester Hall, for that matter.

A few years ago, my son, Chris, played in a youth soccer league in Bowie, coached by a gung-ho Coast Guard captain whose day job was tracking down drug runners. The coach loved nothing better than shouting at the referees, who were adults, for every blown call — but without using obscenity.

I thought it was wrong then, and I still believe so now. What lessons are we teaching the kids?

Joe Volz, a former Pulitzer Prize finalist, has written for newspapers in New York and Washington. You can reach him at