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An Analy View on the Gauchos-Analy Football Game

The post-game handshakes didn't happen after a notable amount of "trash-talking" in El Cerrito High's Nov. 23 victory over Analy High. But one Analy player made a special post-game effort to show consideration to the winning team.

[Editor's note: This letter from the father of the Analy High School quarterback follows controversy over the Nov. 23 football game in which El Cerrito High defeated Analy of Sebastopol in the semifinals for the championship of Division III in the North Coast Section. A sports columnist for the Santa Rosa Press Democrat accused the El Cerrito team of unsportsmanlike conduct, and the athletic director of El Cerrito High, George Austin, wrote a response that mentioned the Analy quaterback paying a post-game visit to the El Cerrito locker room. This letter provides more detail about that gesture.] 

To the Editor:

I was at the Analy-El Cerrito game. (My son, Darin, played quarterback for Analy this year.)  After the game, as Darin exited the visitors locker room, he told me that he had not had a chance to congratulate the other team and that it was important to him to do so before leaving.

He noticed the first El Cerrito player had just emerged from their locker room. He asked me to hold his gear and he walked 30 yards towards that player, extending his arm in hand-shake mode. The El Cerrito player looked surprised and cautious and did not immediately extend his hand. Brief words were exchanged, then a hand-shake.

I returned to conversation with my daughter and her friends. We looked back for Darin a few seconds later but we could not see him anywhere. Five to ten minutes passed and Darin re-emerged from the El Cerrito locker-room, chatting with their quarterback and then the entire Benjamin family. They exchanged phone numbers in case the opportunity arises to get together for a work-out.

Later on, Darin called me from the team bus while they were driving home. I asked him what he was doing while in the El Cerrito locker-room. He told me he simply had a nice chat with a few players and a coach. He also mentioned that before boarding the bus, a policeman strongly reprimanded him for having gone to the El Cerrito locker room.

It was clear to me that congratulating the other team had helped Darin process the emotions of the season-ending (perhaps career-ending) loss.

My personal take is that you find what you look for... Those looking for a fight (a few kids on both teams, a coach or two, the police) can find one. Those looking for a story (one journalist) can find that too. My son went looking to win a football game, but found that the El Cerrito secondary/defense (and some of their offensive play-makers) played faster and better, and were more than worthy of a tip of his cap.

– Eric Newman
   Sebastopol, CA


El Cerrito Patch welcomes Letters to the Editor of up to 450 words from readers. Send them to elcerrito@patch.com. You can see past Letters to the Editor here.

Robert Marshall December 01, 2012 at 05:02 PM
Congrats to Darin who saw the importance for good sportsmanship to outweigh political rumblings from non-player players!!
janet enos December 01, 2012 at 07:21 PM
Mr. Newman, Darin and daughter, Thank-you for all being brave. Especially Darin, who will no doubt go far in life with his manners and his gumption. El Cerrito owes you a debt of gratitude. Best of luck to you!
Al Miller December 01, 2012 at 08:28 PM
Mr. Newman; Thank you for sharing this with us. And please thank Darin for his actions and compliment him on his and his team's success this year. Darin displayed what all parents, players and coaches would hope for in our school athletics programs. I hope both coaches will use Darin's act of courage and sportsmanship as a "teaching moment" in their season ending programs. Wouldn't it be nice if both teams' coaches, school administrators and parents could arrange some sort of combined event for both teams to give everybody a chance to learn from Darin's example. I would be happy to contribute to fund such an event.
Mary Ghidella December 01, 2012 at 11:59 PM
So glad Darin took the high road!
Barbara Hill December 02, 2012 at 03:41 AM
THAT was a class act. The entire Newman family should be proud, not only of their son, but of the way they have brought him up. Our great-niece was born in a house less than a block from El Cerrito High School, but years later she graduated from Analy. It is a small world. We should all be on our best behaviors with one another because we may meet again some day. Best wishes to everyone on both teams.
Kath December 02, 2012 at 04:31 AM
I'm sorry but first of all I have to disagree with the use of the word "brave" in Janet Enos's comment. From what I've heard, the emotions were running high on both sides but it doesnt sound like there was any real worry about either side causing harm to the other, at least from the players perspective. To say that family was "brave" implies that they ventured into an area where they felt their safety was in danger & I really dont get that impression from the letter Mr. Newman wrote. Thats obviously only my opinion but I just had to get it off my chest. I absolutely agree with Mr. Newmans personal "take" on the game & I commend his son on taking it upon himself to congratulate the EC players on a well fought game. Smack talk has always been a part of any sport, & the players use it during the game to "fire up their teams" . The players know what it is--"JUST TALK" & they also know to leave it on the field. It always seems to be the adults &/or bystanders who blow things out of proportion. I dont know what the police officers were so worried about happening if they let the players shake hands, I'm fairly certain none of the players had weapons hidden in their pads so had a "brawl" broken out the worse injury I can think of would be someone hurting their hands by punching the other teams helmets.
Susan December 03, 2012 at 07:38 PM
I think that we can be brave in social terms, not in fear of physical harm but social rejection. Any time we cross a social barrier or cross expectations it is scary and we need to be brave and extend ourselves. Clearly this young man did this!


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