Varsity Letter

2009's wildest moments in high school sports

By Preston Williams
Thursday, December 31, 2009

Burying a snake under the pitcher's mound? Team baptisms? Urine-soaked tennis courts?

Why, it must be time for the annual spin around the country to ponder the wild and the wacky from the world of high school sports in 2009.

Portland, Ore. -- A father, allegedly unhappy with his son's playing time, hired a private investigator to tail the basketball coach, instructing her to call authorities if the coach was drinking and driving.

Needham, Mass. -- State athletic officials dispatched to observe fans' rowdy and unsportsmanlike behavior were greeted with student section chants of "Put your clipboards away."

Brewer, Maine -- A softball coach claimed she was fired because she is a lesbian; the school district said she was dismissed because of hazing allegations that included forcing team members to walk barefoot through sheep feces at a 2005 team picnic.

Kirkland, Ill. -- After only one person confessed, school officials canceled the remainder of a boys' basketball season because of urine the players had left on floors and toilet seats in another school's locker room.

Harned, Ky. -- A football coach, using a school bus, took about 20 of his players to his church to be baptized. One team member's mother said that the coach had told the players they were going to see a motivational speaker and eat a free steak dinner.

Poultney, Vt. -- A junior varsity basketball coach -- who had told referees they needed to take command of the game or he would take action -- received a life ban from coaching in Vermont after tripping an opposing player.

Orangevale, Calif. -- A cheerleading coach was fired after school officials learned she had posed for semi-nude photos and had been named Playboy's Cyber Girl of the Week.

Valparaiso, Ind. -- An upset fan who attacked a basketball referee after a game was arrested by the ref himself, a moonlighting Indiana State Police officer. "You can't arrest me; you're a referee!" the fan said in between shoves of the trooper-referee.

Fort Worth -- A volleyball player filed a Title IX complaint against her school, claiming she was benched for being pregnant.

Auburn, Mass. -- A player who had just thrown the final pitch of his team's state championship win survived a celebratory pileup but broke his leg when he landed awkwardly after a leaping chest-bump with his catcher. The pitcher held the trophy on the stretcher before the ambulance hauled him away.

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