Ridiculous high school rule has no teeth to it

Ridiculous high school rule has no teeth to it

Putting a roundabout at the I-90 exit in Rocker is incredibly dumb.

The decision makers in charge having truck drivers aimlessly spinning around in circles should really should be sentenced to some serious prison time.

When it comes to things that are dumb, however, the unnecessary roundabout takes a back seat to a certain rule in Montana high school football.

Did you know that it is illegal for a player to wear a mouthpiece with fake teeth painted on the outside? It’s crazy, but it’s true.

Of course, it is silly that there is such a thing as mouthguards with fake teeth painted on the outside in the first place, but that is what the kids seem to like these days.

Players can buy all kinds of mouthpieces. The can buy mouthguards to make it look like you have gold teeth. They can even buy mouthguards with an American flag on it, because nothing says “’Merica” like a device made to protect your teeth.

Players can also buy black stickers to put under their eye in place of eye black. They come with a white pencil so you can write your initials or some kind of inspirational saying.

One time when he was 9, my son wrote “Beast” on a sticker and “Mode” on the other. He thought he was pretty cool for that baseball game.

He could never feel that cool when he is old enough to play in a high school football game because such writing is against the rules, even though a fan with binoculars could not even read it.

You cannot have any kind of message on your stickers, and your eye black has to be one stripe below each eye like the Good Lord intended. Players cannot just put eye black all over their face like almost every kid playing baseball did this summer.

Why? Apparently that kind of stuff matters to those who have the power to make unnecessary decisions.

These rules are enforced, too, by officials who feel just as silly as they should for enforcing such rules.

During Butte High’s scrimmage game a week before the start of the season, the practice game was stopped because an official spotted a player with teeth on his mouthguard.

They were not real teeth, mind you. The teeth were merely painted on his mouthguard.

There on the field at Naranche Stadium, we had a group of grown men stopping a practice football game for a long discussion because a high school boy had teeth painted on his mouthpiece.

Seriously.

It does not matter what style of mouthguard the player uses, the rule says, as long as it is all one solid color. When the mouthguard rule became an “emphasis” a few years ago, coaches were told it was a safety issue.

You read that right. It is a “safety issue.”

What possible safety concern could arise from wearing a mouthguard with some fake teeth painted on it?

The only possible answer is that a lineman might suffer a fatal heart attack because he sees the crazy fangs on the player across from him and thinks Friday Night Lights suddenly turned into Sharknado 7.

Or maybe he thinks that linebacker turned into a werewolf. That would give me a heart attack.

Look, every player in every sport wants to look good. Even the officials want to look good.

While he insists it is about comfort and safety, looking good is likely the true reason behind Raiders receiver Antonio Brown’s squabble over his helmet, and that’s OK.

Who doesn’t walk into the party like you are walking on a yacht?

Unfortunately for Brown, his helmet style has suddenly been deemed not safe by the NFL after the receiver wore it for nearly a decade playing for the Steelers.

At least with Brown’s helmet, the league is actually enforcing a real safety issue. The helmet style he used does not live up to current standards.

When it comes to mouthguards and eye black, though, it is just adults fulfilling their need to control the thoughts and actions of high school students.

When it comes to free spirits in high school sports, every administrator somehow turns into John Lithgow in Footloose.

For the love of Kevin Bacon, it is time for these educators to finally heed the advice of Pink Floyd and leave them kids alone.

Football is the ultimate team sport, but that does not mean the stuffed shirts have to work overtime to completely kill the individual spirit of all the players.

And why is it that these rule makers seem pick on the boys having fun?

If a football player makes a nice catch for a first down, he cannot stand up and point first down like every player in the NFL does.

Of course, I would never advocate such behavior, but I would also never mandate against it.

A player pointing for a first down or standing over the receiver he just tackled for a split second too long is considered taunting, and that comes with a 15-yard penalty.

Have you ever watched the girls and women play volleyball?

The players on both sides celebrate every single point like it is a walk-off home run. There is more taunting in the first set of an average high school volleyball match than there is in a season’s worth of games for every high school football team in America combined.

It is worth noting, too, that nobody is offended by the volleyball taunting. Both sides really seem to enjoy themselves throughout a match.

In volleyball, the girls get to have fun and show off some free spirit, and that is probably one of the reasons why you do not hear about a shortage of high school volleyball players.

With concussion awareness higher than ever, high school football is safer than it has ever been. Yet, the number of those playing prep football continues to fall faster than your jaw when you found out about the heavy regulation on the eyes and mouths of high school football players.

Soon we might have to put the high school football on the endangered species list.

Maybe if the adults stopped focusing on silly rules, coaches would not be aimlessly spinning around in circles trying to figure out how to get more boys to play football.

— Bill Foley, who keeps one on the mirror and watches himself gavotte, writes a column that appears Tuesdays on ButteSports.com. Email him at foley@buttesports.com. Follow him at twitter.com/Foles74. Check out his NFL picks every Thursday.



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