It wasn't a starting pistol that a woman in Woodstock pulled last winter during her 11-year-old daughter's sporting event. The .38-caliber revolver that Julie Box brandished in a most unsportsmanlike way during a heated argument with another mom was the real deal, more than capable of taking a life.

Box pleaded no contest last week in Cherokee County court to a disorderly conduct charge. Besides paying a $250 fine, the 37-year-old sports mom must avoid contact with the victim of her gun-waving and miss her daughter's next basketball season.

Macon is taking steps to avoid such displays of bad behavior at children's ballgames.

Parents who want their kids to play city sports must take a 40-minute class and behave themselves at games, thanks to a measure approved last week by the Macon City Council.

Also, those adults who choose to act childish during kids' games may be prosecuted under existing disorderly conduct laws and be fined up to $500.

City leaders cited the need to keep youth sports clean and safe as the reason for the special orientation sessions. Moms and dads will have no excuse for not knowing what constitutes good sportsmanship.

Competition, naturally, is what drives sports. Emotions sometimes run hot even at games where hardly anything is at stake, like the match between 11-year-olds in Woodstock that almost turned deadly for one sports mom.

But there must be a check on public displays that escalate into violence. Macon's idea seems to be a good one. If common courtesy won't spur adults at sporting events to behave themselves, then perhaps an investment of their time in a sportsmanship class and subsequent threats of prosecution will.

The city leaders in Macon have a sound idea with their orientation sessions.

We should hope that we never have the need for such measures here in Winnersville.



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