(I worked as a Sports Editor from late 2004 until the summer of 2006. This is one of the many columns I was able to save that were originally published in The Sun-Times of Heber Springs, Arkansas.)
I could barely find the strength to write this column today. Something tragic happened in Kansas on Tuesday that shook me to my very core.
The world of sports has reached a new low. Just when you think you’ve seen it all with fighting in the stands and on the field, NASCAR drivers throwing helmets at each other, coaches threatening to kill one another and brutal mascot fights, along comes a story that makes me question everything I thought I knew about sports and life.
A brawl broke out during a dance-off between two drill teams, and our world will never be the same.
I’ll pause while we all weep for humanity.
It all started when the Dynamic Steppers from Wichita were practicing Saturday evening. They were minding their own business, going through their routines when the dastardly White Tigers showed up unannounced and challenged the Dynamic Steppers to a dance-off.
Apparently, Wichita isn’t big enough for two high profile drill teams, so the high-stakes game of competitive dancing began.
As the elbows, hips, jazz hands and sweat was flying, the White Tigers quickly found out that they were in over their heads. That’s when a woman – knowing she had to act quickly to even the odds for the White Tigers – struck one of the Dynamic Steppers’ drummers in the face with a drumstick.
The 17-year-old, who had defected from the White Tigers to become a Dynamic Stepper earlier in the year, retaliated by punching the 28-year-old woman in the face. Feeling that it was time to ease on down the road, the 17-year-old hopped in his SUV and tried to run over some spectators for good measure.
I can only assume the spectators were White Tiger fans.
The Dynamic Steppers coach (the 17-year-old’s mom) then picked up a box cutter and tried to exact revenge by slicing the 28-year-old’s arm bad enough to require eight stitches.
Then everyone came down with a case of dance fever and over 50 people turned the field into a discotheque/Ultimate Fighting arena. A member of the Wichita police was quoted as saying, “This is a whole new arena of crime”.
It is unknown at this time whom the better dancers are.
Although shocking, this horrible event isn’t entirely unprecedented. Not long after Justin Timberlake and Brittany Spears broke up, the two and their entourages showed up at the same L.A. club, and held a dance-off to see who was cooler.
There were also the events dramatized in West Side Story. And before the gang wars took over, rival groups settled their differences by break dancing, as seen in Breakin’ and Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo.
And who can forget the ‘Bad’ video when Michael Jackson and Wesley Snipes earned each other’s respect with choreographed dance numbers after Michael squealed to Wesley, “You ain’t bad, you ain’t nothin’!”
At one time I thought the whole world should solve our problems with dance-offs. But that was before the unspeakable events in Kansas this week.
I don’t think I’ll ever be ok again. Hopefully, one day, I can find my love of sports again and renew my faith in my fellow man. Only time will tell.
Right now, there’s only one thing I’m sure of. If I ever have to step to a drill team, I’m bringin’ it Dance Fever-style like Denny Terrio.