Editor, Manteca Bulletin,
The Manteca Buffalo football program has forgotten that good sportsmanship is supposed to be a premise of high school athletics. This once highly respected program has fallen to new lows. As your Monday article detailed the Manteca varsity football captains refused to shake hands with their opponents prior to their game Friday night.
Clearly the lack of sportsmanship is a learned behavior from the coaching staff itself. How else could you explain four pass plays and a two point conversion attempt with a 21-point lead and just a minute left in the game. I’m sure they will say this was retaliation for some perceived slight or previous disrespect, because that has been their answer in the past.
Just a year ago at East Union’s senior night the EU senior parents were standing near the end zone at halftime of the junior varsity game. The Buffalo team jogged past at halftime swearing and screaming at the EU parents phrases they certainly didn’t learn at home. Thinking the Manteca coaching staff might take this as a teachable moment I waited a minute for the JV coaching staff to jog near and informed them what happened. To my shock one of the coaches immediately started ranting and raving that it should have been expected based on some sort of episode from 2015. I have no idea what he was referring to because frankly I stopped listening once he started to scream his defense of the players’ actions. Contrary to his belief there is no excuse. Just like there is no excuse for the behavior of Manteca last Friday night.
You don’t have to go far to find examples of good sportsmanship. I’ve seen Del Campo High School allow a touchdown in a playoff game just one year ago to make a dream come true for a disabled young student. I’ve seen East Union football hand the ball off to a young man a few years ago who needed leg braces to walk. The Manteca football coaches need to realize they are not Jim Harbaugh. They are not going to the pro level. Hopefully, with proper coaching their young charges can play at the next level. Perhaps even get an athletic scholarship if they work hard, are talented, and things fall in place. Leave it to the College level to determine if any of these young men may be able to make a career of football. From what I’ve seen I can only hope none these players go into coaching themselves only to continue the legacy of win at all costs. Nothing else matters. I hope Manteca finds a staff that learns how you win does matter. If they don’t want to look at cross town programs for inspiration – Oakdale and Central Catholic can provide some guidance I’m sure. Count me as someone who will no longer donate my time or money to Buffalo Athletics until they actually show some class in victory and defeat.