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Woodbury-Middlebury SportsBeat: Not Picture Perfect

Lisa Lindley isn't the only coach to be photographed in a bad position. So why is she being vilified while others aren't?

 

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Most of us have seen the picture of getting in the face of one of her players, we've read about her suspension and expressed a strong opinion about whether or not the coach should be fired. Lindley may get to keep her job in the long run, but the collection of photographs of the incident are surely to haunt her for the rest of her career. No matter how many more state titles she wins, the picture of her appearing in a near crazed state and yelling at a teenager, will never go away. The Internet is forever and that picture is never going away.

To think that Lindley is the only coach that is fiery, aggressive, or uses intimidation or harsh words to motivate a player is truly ignorant. I'm sure a lot of coaches who saw what happened to Lindley said to themselves, "That could've been me." There are more than a handful of coaches who get emotional and drive their players in the heat of the battle and if a camera was trained on their every move and the pictures downloaded on the Internet, they could've suffered the same fate as Lindley.

Last November, Mark Ivey didn't get suspended like Lindley, but he'll never be able to escape the photo of him violently pulling on the facemask of one of his players. Ivey didn't even get reprimanded for his actions which clearly crossed the line. A highly-successful coach at Barron Collier High School in Naples, Florida, Ivey went so far as to ask the paper to remove the photos from the website. They obliged, but the damage had been done because the Internet is forever.

Photos of coaches going ballistic are snapped by the thousands and splashed all over the Internet. I'm just curious why football, basketball, and even boys lacrosse coaches in high school and college always seem to get a free pass, while Lindley was vilified for her actions. Is it because they are coaching boys and men and not girls lacrosse? Is it because yelling and screaming is readily accepted in more physical sports and at the college level?

Brian Kelley, the head football coach at Notre Dame, is known for yelling at his players and dressing them down in front of millions of people on television. Don't believe me? Just look at the pictures within this article. James Franklin of Vanderbilt was photographed yanking on the shirt of one of his players and screaming in his face. I really haven't heard much about him getting fired or losing his job. Oh, that's right, they coach major college football and not girls lacrosse. Those men berate, intimidate, and abuse their players and nothing is said. Why? Because those kids had to be toughened up and motivated, right? Yet, Lindley is made out to be the worst person on earth by many, all because of that picture.

Jim Calhoun of UConn has been known to get in the face of his players, same goes for Mike Krzyzewski of Duke and Frank Martin of South Carolina. Oh, and please don't tell me that it's OK because it's college and not girls high school lacrosse.

Why should that matter? Like those coaches, Lindley is a highly successful, having built a dominate lacrosse program from the ground up. Please don't give me the, "Yeah, but it's only high school," thing. It also seems that when a male coach yells or gets in the ear of one of his players, he's a leader or tough. Yet, when a woman like Lindley does it, she's "out of control."

The fact is, coaches yell and scream to try to motivate their players. Do some go overboard? Absolutely. Do they teeter on crossing the line? Yes. I played major college baseball and a few years at the professional level. I was yelled at. I was screamed at. I was told I was the worst player on earth. It happens. That's never going to change. Not in high school, college, or the pros. I have covered hundreds of games from the sidelines and have seen and heard things that shouldn't and couldn't be published.

I'm sure if reporters and photographers were allowed in the homes of the people who are calling for Lindley's head  and got to watch things play out in the 'heat of the battle', there would be some high-voltage yelling and screaming. I'm sure there would be some pretty revealing and unflattering photos captured, as well. It's life and it's sports. Both can be harsh, neither can be very fair. That's just the way it is.

I'm not condoning the actions of , but she shouldn't lose her job over that incident and be condemned forever because of that picture. She built a strong program and gained the respect of the people that truly matter, her players. Those from the past and those from the present have stood by her, and that means something.

And what about the goalie whom Lindley grabbed by the helmet? Did she wilt after the incident? Did she pack it in and let in a flurry of goals? No, she stood strong for the Blue Wave. Caylee Waters is a star who has already committed to North Carolina, where the pressure will be more intense and the competition much greater. I'm sure she'll admit that Lindley has made her a better player and has prepared her for the next level. I commend Darien school officials for not rushing to judgment and getting swayed by the court of public opinion and let the ax fall quickly on Lindley.

Lindley is a part-time employee of and has given the school and town far more than it will ever be able to give to her. She has helped many of her players get into better colleges and succeed in a dog-eat-dog sports world. Lindley will never be able to live that moment down, the split-second one that's caused so many people to judge and define here. That photo has been seared into our consciousness and will last forever, thanks to the Internet. But if Lindley eventually does lose her job, a lot of other coaches should lose theirs, too.

Just look at the pictures.

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