Today: Feb 29, 2024

Bobby Valentine heads panel that speaks to students

Bobby Valentine speaking to the students before the panel began.

Pete Paguaga, Sports Editor:
It all started with a cup of coffee when Sports Management professor Dr. Joe Panza met fellow professor Dr. Dave
Pettigrew and it turned into the “First Annual Spring Event of the Sports Management in Recreation and Leisure.”
Pettigrew, whose son helped direct the ESPN film “The Zen of Bobby V,” and his other son Ian, who is a New Haven transitional student intern, spent a year in Japan and built a friendship with former Major League Baseball player and manager Bobby Valentine.
With the help of the Pettigrews, Panza was able to get Valentine to come and speak to students and the public about
whether or not participation in sports build character or reveals character flaws. ESPN radio voice and play-by-play
announcer for UConn Women’s Basketball, Bob Picozzi joined Valentine. Julie Greenwood, the executive director Squash Haven, an organization that helps out kids academically and teaches them teamwork through the game of squash, and Karreem Mebane, an ethics professor at Albertus Magnus College and a former minor league and major league umpire rounded out the panel.
Valentine kicked off the event as the keynote speaker.
“I am the only guy to coach in the championship series in both in the MLB and the Japan League, also the only
guy to coach in the American, National League and the Japan League,” said Valentine. “And also the only guy
to coach in the American, National League and Japan League to be fired in all three leagues.”
The panelists talked a lot about the professional level as Valentine and Mebane joked back and forth, talking
from both a player and manager perspective as well as the umpire point of view, as they joked back and forth about
how managers discipline players and umpires discipline players.
Valentine talked about the way he would discipline players and what they would have to do to be disciplined.
“You’re always in trouble if you embarrass me, the organization or yourself,” said Valentine.
“There are three stages of discipline, first a private setting in my office, then in front of the clubhouse and then a
public reprimand where I take it out to the world.”
Greenwood said that she makes a set of rules clear before the season begins and then she reinforces the rules
through the middle of the season. She also tells her students to be the same people on and off the field.
Picozzi said that when he was on the high school soccer team, his coach came up to him and told him to stop fooling
around in one of his classes, but his coach didn’t specify which class. That week he got detention for fooling around in class on the detention was on the day of a game. He said that he asked his coach if he could help him switch his detention so that he wouldn’t miss the game and the coach told him that he warned him to stop fooling around
in class and that he would have to miss the game even though he doesn’t  discipline people in his job that was his experience of being disciplined.
“It was the best thing I had learned from him in the four years that he was my coach,” said Picozzi.
The involvement of parents in sports was a big topic that each panelist had a comment on.
“The ideal parent supports the game and supports their kids,” said Greenwood, “the not ideal parents want success
for their children over the success for the team.”
Valentine agreed with Greenwood saying that kids put unnecessary pressure on themselves to succeed.
“Most of the pressure comes from the desire to make other people happy,” said Valentine, “everyone needs to know that the joy during the game is better than any other joy, those are the special moments.”
Mebane talked about a personal experience, of having his father coach him in little league and how it wasn’t fun at all and how even his mother got on him.
“I would go home to my mother and she would be like you didn’t hustle today,” said Mebane.
The panel finished talking on the topic about the media knowing too much about players off the field can affect kids.
“Seeing Keith Hernandez smoking in the dugout broke my heart when I was a kid,” said Mebane, after seeing it on
television.
Valentine disagreed with Mebane saying that more access is good access, and that the media shows the viewer what is
entertaining.
Mebane said “I don’t promote yellow journalism and stalking players.”

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