In light of two altercations at two separate sporting events in the past year, we certainly understand the concern expressed by members of the Hazard Board of Education and its superintendent. There is no room for physical altercations between the players or fans during these sporting events, and the two scenes witnessed at last season’s basketball game and this season’s soccer contest were inexcusable. Actions like these undermine the effort of the athletes on the field, and perhaps this move by the board will help to prevent future altercations as they have determined they will brook no future instances of violence.
But while concern for the safety of students and fans on both sides is warranted, we urge the board to revisit this decision in the near future and seek out the cooperation of the Perry County Board of Education in formulating a plan in which these contests are more about the thrill of competition rather than the right of bragging and the hard feelings that accompany it. For one reason or another there are groups on both sides that harbor ill feelings towards the other, and it needs to stop.
But there also needs to be a fundamental change in the way some of our older generations approach this rivalry. In many cases we have seen or heard, adults are sometimes more active in the rivalry than are the students, which in a way fuels the fire. Support for one’s school of choice is healthy for the school and its students and athletes, but there comes a time when adults need to act like adults and teach the youth of our area that fighting and physical confrontations are not a means to an end, and in this case have forced any future competition to be in jeopardy.
We do not seek to lay blame at the feet of any one person, as the situation is far beyond the blame game. The sporting rivalry between the city and county schools in Hazard and Perry County is truly the stuff of local lore. From the days of M.C. Napier and Dilce Combs to present day Perry Central, games between the county and city have always held a higher significance than any others, and we would like for that spirit and camaraderie to be felt again in the fanbase. But it will take the combined cooperation of both school districts, and most importantly the adults in the stands and the atheletes on the field, to make this happen.
It would be a shame if Hazard and Perry County Central never faced each other on the court or field again.