Pickens' Perspective: Young athletes should beware before talking trash
Why talk trash?
What purpose does it serve? If you're confident enough to show the world how good you are at something, why not just let your performance -- whether on the job or on the field -- speak for itself.
I know Rex Ryan loves to showboat. Jets fans get pumped up by their coach's oversized bravado and bluster. Ryan figures that if you're talented and confident, what you say is ancillary and will be backed up by the scoreboard.
But boasting only incites your opponent, and when it catches up with you, you can end up with egg on your face.
Case in point: Fairfield Prep's boys soccer team walked into top-seeded Pomperaug in the Class LL state quarterfinal on Wednesday. The ninth-seeded Jesuits had reason for confidence -- they were undefeated and hadn't allowed a goal since Oct. 26, a span of five games.
So, a Prep player went on social media Tuesday, writing "Pomperaug is done" and declaring the team's quarterfinal counterpart "overrated." This despite the fact that the Panthers only loss this season was in the SWC tournament final.
Maybe if these words hadn't been uttered, the Jesuits could've lulled Pomperaug to sleep. The weather and Prep's defensive style were ideal circumstances for a Prep upset.
But it was the kind of thing that ignited Pomperaug's already rabid fan base. And when Nicholas Lasewicz potted the only goal in the Panthers' 1-0 win, their bleacher "bomb squad" burst into an "overrated!" chant that confused those not aware of the electronic, pre-game trash talking.
After Weston's football team mauled ND-Fairfield on Nov. 5, a Trojan player made a comment about his team's next opponent, Masuk, that may have woken a sleeping giant.
"Honestly, I don't see why we can't beat Masuk," Weston quarterback Tyler Hassett told our sister paper, the Westport-News. "If we play our perfect game we can beat them,"
The result when the teams played on Nov. 11? Masuk 56, Weston 14.
If fans want to talk trash, that's why they're at the game. If players want to talk trash on the field or in the arena, go nuts. But athletes-- especially young, impulsive ones-- need to be smarter.
The locker room and practice fields are fine for confidence, but "bulletin board" material is monitored by coaches around the state. It used to be us in the media who caused most of it by predicting winners over even with objective assessment of talent.
But today, the locker room bulletin board has gone digital and worldwide. Facebook profiles and Twitter have created perfect platforms for overzealous athletes to brag or boast.
And honestly, no matter what your privacy settings are -- as long as you have friends or followers -- other people have access to those comments. So unless you can back them up, leave them out.
My words are simply a suggestion, take them or leave them. But football players who have Thanksgiving rivalry games coming up should consider this: Good teams don't need extra fodder to get up for games, but they feed off it when they get it.