Thursday, March 01, 2007

Cup Check?

This is the 2nd time in as many weeks that I've read about the concept of the "cup check", wherein one (adolescent) boy smacks the groin area of another.

When I was at West Point, I recall that "fad" and it lasted all of a day or two. Back then we called it Bag Tag, it's not cool, and no one uninvited needs to be touching your stuff.

Well, one boy may be up for felony assault charges for participating in this:

A locker room prank as common as the snapped towel has one Ponderosa High School student in danger of felony assault charges and another in danger of losing his testicles...

A common sports gag, a cup check involves striking a teammate's groin, ostensibly to determine if he is wearing a protective cup.

In this case, the freshman was not and, according to the sheriff's report, fell to his knees in pain.

A coach reprimanded the junior, who is not being identified because of his age, and told the team not to conduct any further cup checks. Because the injuries did not appear severe, the coach did not seek medical assistance, said House.

Sometime later, the boy complained to his mother of pain, House said. On Feb. 19, after she noticed her son wincing when he sneezed, she took him to a doctor, who sent him to the emergency room.

There, according to investigators, he was told he had internal bleeding and an infection, and that he could lose one or both of his testicles...

If the student has his testicles removed, he'll need a lifetime of testosterone replacement shots, especially now that he's going through puberty, Kurzrock said. Any viable sperm in the testicles would need to be frozen if he hopes to reproduce.

It could be humorous if it weren't so sad. That last sentence quoted above is the clincher.


Anonymous said...

One of the truly sad things about this story is that this kind of assault masquerading as horseplay is tacitly allowed by coaches throughout the country. It is apparently considered merely harmless hazing or part of moronic initiation rituals. Though it was not apparently covered up by the adults involved in this situation, injuries are commonly covered up by adults and administrators elsewhere.

Anonymous said...

I couldn't be happier to see this kid face criminal charges. For too long, these kinds of crimes have been overlooked in school hallways as if they were mere child's play.

Only in America's public school is behavior tolerated that would be prosecuted in the court's if it happened in any other context.

The reason seems obvious to me. Many teachers, perhaps especially coaches and phys. ed. teachers, find the physical suffering of those smaller than they are amusing. They imagine this kind of abuse to be acceptable because they themselves are so comfortable watching it perpetrated.

Take the coach in this story for example. He had knowledge of the event and let the whole thing go with a verbal warning. This is the equivalent of a law enforcement officer watching a group of young thugs clock an old woman in the street and telling them they should really cut that out.

In every setting but the public school we find such an egregious lack of response outrageous. Would that our outrage were evenly applied.

Darren said...

There's the criminal side, and also the civil side. If the boy loses his testicles, needs hormone therapy the rest of his life, and may not be able to have children of his own, I'd say that's a rather large tort claim.

Mrs. Bluebird said...

From a female perspective I simply don't understand this behavior at all...unfortunately it's all the rage with my goofball middle schoolers the past week. Thanks, Darren, for the link. I read it to my classes today and some of the boys turned interesting shades of red and green. The girls just looked plain disgusted.

Ellen K said...

Both my sons were the victims of this kind of abusive behavior with the tacit approval of the coaches. Being smaller than their peers at that age due to their late birthdays, they were pushed around, verbally abused by coaches and other players and in one son's case, punched in the mouth by a "star athlete" resulting in stitches but in no missed games or suspension for the culprit. In high school my son was targeted by others in the band to have critical and expensive components stolen and forced to sleep on the floor during the trip. These people got away with it because the adults in charge allowed it to happen time and again. Labeling a "rite of passage" they permitted bullying on a widespread scale. I am not talking of the general messing around boys do, but of aggressive out of control violent behavior designed to demoralize and demean others. I have seen this attitude largely on the part of our most aggressive and obnoxious athletes of both genders. I have heard similar and worse issues from the cheerleaders and drill team girls. When society gets to the point that we accept as art behavior that is abhorrent, then should we be shocked when our children take up the cause. Especially when if they are stars they can do it with impunity? Locally, we had a wrestling coach lose his job for failing to stem behavior he saw as horseplay but was really molestation. I think maybe we need to go back and make sure that some coaches and athletic directors are trained to recognized this behavior for what it is.

Darren said...

Ellen K, what you describe sounds right out of Lord of the Flies.

Ellen K said...

Frankly if you asked in many locker rooms if such things happened, off the record you would get more affirmative responses than negative. Even some of my nicest most decent kids who are athletes admit that there are those within their ranks who bully other kids and get away with it simply because the adults in charge don't care to stop it. I don't care if it's wrestling or band or cheerleading, adults have the responsibility to step in. And this nonsense of saying it's "building character" or "shaping leadership" is simply a dodge to avoid calling it what it is.