Stordahl sends wrong message

High school football builds character, and the players benefit. In order to be on the team and suit up, the athletes have to be fair students, too. This is a good thing. While they are on the field, or on the sidelines, or after the game, they can learn a lot, especially from others reactions.

Ten or 20 years from now, when they get together, they can relive their memories. Eleven men from Lake Stevens will be able to say they were on the field when Ike Ditzenberger scored his touchdown. It wouldnt have happened without them. Thanks to YouTube, the world knows this.

Last week, players on many Washington fields saw officials with pink whistles, calling attention to breast cancer awareness month. The players likely heard that the same officials had donated their game paychecks on behalf of that cause. Clearly, this was another good example for the players having a purpose higher than themselves.

And, of course, the players have had the opportunity to learn from the actions of Washington Officials Association commissioner Todd Stordahl. Stordahl is upset that the referees didnt ask him for permission before replacing black whistles with pink ones, and threatens to keep the out of uniform officials from working playoff games as punishment. Todd has apparently made up the must be black color rule for whistles, and is sticking to it. What hes really mad about, though, is the appearance of rule breaking on the officials part: It sends the wrong message to kids that are playing the game.

Stordahl is right about a wrong message being sent, but doesnt seem to realize he is the sender. Football is only a game, and breast cancer isnt. The officials have shown the stuff theyre made of, and the commissioner has shown what he lacks.

Joel Niemi