For some time, Chesapeake's Earl Eckhardt has been one of the county's most respected coaches.
Eckhardt, the 10-year coach of the Cougars' undefeated boys soccer team, has that respect from his peers because he shows respect to his opponents. Such was the case Thursday in Chesapeake's 3-1 victory over South River in Lake Shore.
They say teams take on the character of their coach, and Eckhardt's class is reflected in his players, as evidenced by VTC senior goalie Phil Demske. Demske played peacemaker before the two teams went through the post-game ritual of shaking hands and his leadership and maturity were impressive.
The game matched the county's last two unbeaten boys soccer teams and it was hard-fought. With time running out and the result in favor of Chesapeake, players on both sides started getting overly aggressive.
As happens in such big games, some guys wanted to fight, but the officials stopped it before it started. Eckhardt and his counterpart, Greg Carroll, another class coach with 20 years experience, immediately got their players under control.
Both coaches got their players together and proceeded with the often hypocritical hand-shaking routine.
Standing at the front of the Cougar line, Demske, on his own, ordered his teammates to "say nothing but something positive; be positive or don't say anything at all."
Demske's teammates listened and responded accordingly. Eckhardt should be proud his influence has had such a positive impact on his players. It was a lesson in proper, competitive behavior.
Eckhardt also sought out a despondent Dave Summey of South River and gave him a pat on the back. Summey, the son of South River's football coach, Dave Summey Sr., is one of the Seahawks' top soccer players and Eckhardt's
acknowledgment had to make the athlete feel like a million dollars.
What's the answer?
Isn't it a crime when two great soccer teams, such as the No. 6 Severna Park (7-0-1) girls team and nationally ranked (12th) Bishop O'Connell (7-0-3) of Springfield, Va., go double overtime with nobody winning because neither team could score?
Why do soccer purists continue to accept such results and not consider ways to increase scoring?
Competition was designed to produce winners and losers, but not in soccer.
A great idea
It took the county and Teachers Association awhile, but they finally have wised up on the ridiculous practice of annual re-applying by coaches.
For too long coaches had to apply each year for the positions they had held, no matter if they had one year of service or 20 years. Under the new agreement, coaches' contracts roll over if the principal approves.
Think of all the wasted paperwork and time all these years with coaches such as Bernie Walter, John Brady, Linda Kilpatrick, Joyce Stefancik, etc. having to submit new applications each year to their principals.
Band on the run
It was mandatory for Severna Park football players to be part of the Falcons' Homecoming parade on Saturday, Sept. 30, but it wasn't for the school's marching band. Falcon music director R. Thomas Powell and his band, which definitely marches to its own drummer, instead went on a field trip.
"Whoever heard of a parade without a band?" asked one parent. "I can't believe they didn't show up."
Neagle not speaking
Arundel grad and Pittsburgh Pirates National League All-Star pitcher Denny Neagle had to back out as a guest speaker for the fifth Anne Arundel County Sports Hall of Fame induction on Oct. 26 because of a previous commitment.
Calling all Saints
The St. Mary's High School Athletic Hall of Fame fifth class of inductees is open to athletes from the classes of 1950-1985 and nominations should be mailed by Oct. 27 to: Hall of Fame Selections, 113 Duke of Gloucester St., Annapolis, Md. 21401.
For more information call Fred Kramer at (410) 263-7958.
Pasadena's Steve Matchuk, a right-handed pitcher from Mount St. Joseph who sparkled this summer for the Corrigan's 20-and-under team of Walter Youse, is impressing pro scouts this fall at Indian River (Fla.) Community College.
Matchuk is one of those pitchers who kept improving after high school.