I sent a Facebook friend request to a guy named Tom and woman named Leigh last week, but I am pretty sure they will be ignored.
That is because those two people do not actually exist.
Those were bogus names for actual Facebook accounts made up for the sole purpose of anonymously blasting Butte High coaches. Tom has been hacking on the football coaches, while Leigh really seems to have out for the volleyball coaches.
Together, the trolls named Tom and Leigh have taken cowardice to a Hall of Fame level.
Leigh seemed super mad after Butte High’s volleyball team won its first match of the season. The knucklehead coaches somehow managed to win the match while using the wrong players — which is really kind of impressive if you think about it.
When it comes to Bulldog football, Tom thinks the only boys getting real playing time are the ones who are the favorite of head coach Arie Grey.
Without delving too deeply into the foolishness of those claims, I simply ask you to think about Tom’s accusation for a minute.
Would a coach whose job security depends on the performance of 14- to 18-year-old boys really leave a potential All-State receiver on the bench because that receiver does not put an apple on his desk? Or, in Arie’s case, a doughnut?
Of course not. Too many parents, though, would rather see their son or daughter play a lot on a losing team than not play enough on a winner.
While most parents who complain about coaches should be banished to Bozeman, most of them at least have the sack to put their name on their comments about the coaches.
That is not the case with Tom and Leigh. Not only do they not put their name on their mean-spirited remarks, they put somebody else’s name behind them.
You really have to wonder how a guy like Tom expresses himself on an important issue if he cannot find the courage to attach his name to his outlandish opinion that the high school football coaches could be doing a better job.
You know, those idiots with Tiki Torches in Charlottesville are probably worse people than those who send anonymous notes to coaches. But at least for that one time, those snowflake nosebleeds were brave enough to not hide behind a screen name.
Parents, especially the sneaky, underhanded ones, can bring down a high school sports program a heck of a lot faster than a coach who called for a run when he clearly should have passed.
Those parents can derail a championship team, and they can make a .500 team seem like 2008 Detroit Lions. They leave good coaches in their wake year after year.
About a decade ago, I watched a local basketball team that easily had the talent to bring home a state title derailed by wacko parents.
As the sportswriter who covered the team for the local paper, I was unlucky enough to be thrown in the middle of it, too.
Whenever I wrote a story quoting one player in particular — or pointed out that he led the team in scoring or blocked shots a game — I would get an email praising my greatness as a writer and a reporter.
Sports Illustrated really was missing out by not discovering me in this old mining camp and giving me a spot on its prized back page.
However, when I quoted a certain other player or mention that he led the team in scoring that night, I would get publically undressed on ButteRats.com, the former message board of The Montana Standard, by two anonymous people.
Thanks to the computer whiz at the paper, I knew that both those nameless cowards were using the same computer, and one of them was signed in with the same email that was praising me on other nights.
You can only imagine the hell they were putting the coaches and players through if they were willing to schizophrenically target a sportswriter.
The good news is that the husband and wife were truly sole mates. The even better news was that the family moved out of town before their younger children played for our coaches.
ButteRats.com was a coward’s paradise before it went away. Searching for an outlet for their rage, these pee-pee pants parents turned to unsigned letters and fake email accounts.
Now, they have reached a new low by turning to the same tactic that the 400-pound man in his basement used to spread fake news on Facebook to — allegedly — influence the 2016 presidential election.
How sad is it that we have cheapened a once-great site where we could share pictures of our kids and exchange political insults with “friends” we have never met before?
Of course, the obvious solution is to just ignore these anonymous fools. If you do not put your name on your opinion, then your opinion just does not matter.
It never does any good to argue with these people because that only empowers them and makes them multiply.
We definitely do not want more of these people because coaches who dedicate so much of their time for other people’s children deserve better.
Coaches are there to help the development of young men and women who learn so many valuable lessons — good and bad — while playing high school sports. They are also there to win.
Seriously, there are not many coaches out there who would choose losing with players they like over of winning with players they do not.
So, I reached out to Tom and Leigh, who do not have any “friends” on Facebook. I really hope they eventually accept my requests because I have so many questions for them.
It would be nice to actually have a real conversation with a person who thinks creating a fake Facebook page to publicly call out a coach is the right thing to do.
It would be good to see what is making these people tick.
Maybe if we engage in meaningful dialog with such a person we can begin to understand them and look for ways to limit their kind in the future.
Plus, I can always use new people to argue politics with on Facebook.
— Bill Foley, who has never lost a Facebook argument, writes a column that appears Tuesday on ButteSports.com. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him at twitter.com/Foles74