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This isn't a trivial pursuit

Morning Briefing

December 01, 2006|Mike Penner | Times Staff Writer

Youth sports are out of control, Exhibit A:

The Vancouver Whitecaps suspended their under-15 boys' soccer team indefinitely after two players and several spectators chased a referee off the field because he'd made a call they didn't like in a Super Y-League tournament game played in Tampa, Fla.

The melee broke out after the Whitecaps, trailing Los Angeles FC, 1-0, in a championship semifinal, were awarded a penalty kick at the end of the game. The kick was blocked by Los Angeles goalkeeper Erik Shannon, but the rebound spilled to a Caps player, who converted for the apparent equalizer -- only to have the referee wave off the goal because he'd whistled play dead immediately after the save.

Two Caps players ran over to the referee to challenge his decision, prompting the referee to run away. The players gave chase, and several adults joined in, but the referee apparently had good speed, escaping the ruckus without any physical contact from the mad Caps and their livid supporters.

Trivia time

Who was the last UCLA quarterback to defeat USC?

When in Rome ...

Youth sports are out of control, Exhibit B:

Putting a new spin on the old joke, they held a youth hockey game in Rome, N.Y., and a riot broke out in the stands -- resulting in the arrests of two women, and a man suffering a skull fracture.

The brawl began after a game between the Rome Grizzlies and the Whitesboro Wolfpack, featuring 13- and 14-year old players. During the game, two Whitesboro players and one Rome player were ejected for fighting. Afterward, two women were arrested for their roles in a fight that broke out in the stands, involving eight to 15 people, according to police.

Christin J. Wilbur, 34, and Diann M. Williams, 40, were arrested and charged with rioting, a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail.

Raymond Pink, 52, was treated for a fractured skull and released from Crouse Hospital in Syracuse.

"I'm appalled," Rome Youth Hockey Assn. President Chip Travis told the Associated Press. "This is going to give youth hockey, and to some extent youth sports in general, a black eye. I don't want Rome, New York, or Central New York to be an example of how not to act."

Pure Fantasyland

Ranked 29th among 30 teams in attendance last season, and desperate to improve that number, the Tampa Bay Devil Rays are considering moving a three-game series (May 15-17) against the Texas Rangers from Tropicana Field to Disney World in 2007.

It's probably worth a try. For most Devil Rays and Rangers next April and early May, they will finally get their only chance to jog off the field, smile into the television camera and say, "I'm going to Disney World!"

Trivia answer

Cade McNown, who passed for 146 yards and a touchdown in UCLA's 34-17 victory in 1998. With that game, McNown became the first player in the series' history to quarterback his team to four consecutive victories.

And finally

Albeit biased, former USC running back Petros Papadakis tried to put a different spin on the obvious prediction of the week -- that USC would defeat UCLA on Saturday.

"It's going to take a miracle for UCLA to beat USC in this football game," Papadakis said on "Best Damn Sports Show Period."

"I'm not talking about a miracle like raising-the-dead miracle. More of a water-into-wine kind of miracle."

mike.penner@latimes.com

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