The high school tournaments are rolling and my only regret is that I can't be in two or three places at once.
Things got a little heated at Tunxis Mead today (Tuesday) when the Bridgeport Central boys soccer team was about a half-hour late for the scheduled 2 p.m. kickoff for its game against Farmington.
Naturally, you figure that the bus driver got lost. The Mead isn't real easy to find; it's not at the high school for those who have never visited the beautiful riverside soccer/baseball haven.
But the two Bridgeport coaches arrived in a car at least five minutes before the bus carrying the players. Was there a legitimate reason? Read on.
Farmington coach Steve Waters was understandably perturbed, and he isn't the kind of guy who keeps things to himself. He chided the Bridgeport coach before the game, before the players even arrived.
The Farmington players' pregame routine was upset. Before anybody says, "Oh, isn't that too bad," there is some legitimacy to the importance of the pregame. Was Bridgeport's late arrival gamesmanship?
The game began and the Bridgeport kids gave a good showing. Farmington created many more chances and filled the air with corner kicks but the Hilltoppers' goalkeeper Denardo Dixon was fabulously athletic and the Indians' attack wasn't crisp from a finishing standpoint.
Farmington had a 1-0 halftime lead but the Hilltoppers tied it early in the second half. They made two serious bids to take the lead in the two minutes that followed. But Farmington took a 2-1 lead and made it 3-1 shortly thereafter.
Bridgeport began playing more aggressively and one player was banished after receiving two cards. The Bridgeport coach screamed at the referees for not calling it both ways, a view that I felt was unsubstantiated. Farmington scored a fourth goal to win going away. Waters reacted angrily to a play in which he felt a Bridgeport player purposely tried to injure one of his players. I couldn't begin to tell you whether that was the intent or not.
When I tried to interview the Bridgeport coach after the game, he simply said, "Tell your coach to get some sportsmanship," and walked away. Again, was Bridgeport's late arrival legit or just a ploy to throw Farmington off its game? Chances are the Bridgeport coach (Jay Silverman) wasn't going to answer that question anyway, but I may have gotten a clue by hearing how he addressed it. I wasn't afforded that opportunity.
The Bridgeport kids played a solid game for group that came in as the 34th seed. They were playing a long way from home and I commend them for their effort.
I certainly understand Waters' anger. The rules must be followed. Teams need to get to games on time.
I understand that there may have been traffic. Going through Waterbury on I-84 these days poses problems, but going through there at about 1 p.m. shouldn't be too bad. Delays need to be taken into consideration when teams plan long trips for tournament games.
Regrettably, I'll never know why it happened, but I hope it never happens again. It detracts from a great event.