An Amsterdam newspaper sports editor's criticism of the Glens Falls basketball team, about which I blogged last week, has prompted a well-written response from a Glens Falls student-athlete, Taylor Scarincio. In the spirit of fairness and letting the Glens Falls kids respond, it is pasted below. There are some big games coming up this week in the Foothills Conference and Adirondack League, hopefully the emphasis is on on-the-court stuff and not off-the-court antics.

-- Don Lehman

By Taylor Scarincio
Glens Falls High School Senior

An open letter to Recorder Sports Editor Paul Antonelli:

Dear Mr. Antonelli,
I’m sure you’ve hunkered over some of the numerous articles, and Facebook posts that concern the fight between the Glens Falls and Hudson Falls basketball teams that happened on January 12th. But we won’t go into that or who voiced their unwanted and unneeded opinion. “But what needs to be addressed is this is not the first time this has happened and if no changes are made, this certainly won’t be the last time,” Glens Falls athletics will be singled out.
The never-ending disdain and envy that has followed our program since last season, as a matter of fact for years needs to be stopped. There is a vocal MAJORITY in the Glens Falls community that praises our athletic accomplishments because that’s what they are, accomplishments. You’re supposed to report the games, get some postgame reactions and it’s on to the next game right? Then why are you so focused on a “melee” that involved two schools that handled the issue? All players involved received suspensions and both teams have moved on. This is troubling and signals something known as jealousy. Jealousy is such an ugly trait.

HUDSON FALLS VS. GLENS FALLS
“It was likely that the fight started after a Glens Falls player knocked the ball away from a Hudson Falls player, leading to words being exchanged and a second Glens Falls player becoming involved and having physical contact with a Hudson Falls player. Mr. Jenkins, you stated that you did not believe the school would be changing its security policies, as the district believed “our staff as well as the staff from Hudson Falls did a good job in diffusing the situation as quickly as possible.” Mr. Antonelli, why is the situation based solely on the actions of Glens Falls? Did you know that numerous students from the Hudson Falls student section became involved in the altercation? How can you guarantee that solely the actions of the Glens Falls players led to the altercation? The answer is you can’t. “Glens Falls head coach Rob Girard brushed the events aside as well, stating in a published report “that we are moving forward.” How can you continue to replay the events that occurred and continue stirring the pot even though the players and teams have suffered the consequences and both have moved on?

AMSTERDAM VS. GLENS FALLS
Mr. Antonelli- It was just over a year ago that the Amsterdam boys team suffered a loss to a weapon-filled Glens Falls team, a decision of 96-71.
It was a game that came to an abrupt end with 1:01 on the game clock.
Why?
Because, yes, another fight broke out.
That night never had a chance.
“In the previous game on that same night, the Amsterdam and Glens Falls girls squad played its Foothills Council title game with Amsterdam spectators sitting behind the Amsterdam bench and Glens Falls supporters residing behind the Glens Falls bench. The game flowed nicely without incident, but officials decided to switch team benches for the boys game. Spectators stayed put — meaning the Amsterdam spectators sat behind the Glens Falls bench and Glens Falls fans were right behind the Amsterdam bench.”
A total recipe for disaster and what followed was no surprise.
How is it that the blame is put on Glens Falls for the referees decisions? Amsterdam fans and players heckled the Glens Falls players throughout the game. Also, a mother of one of the Glens Falls players was continuously taunted throughout the game due to her sons talent and ability to score the basketball. Numerous Amsterdam students were ejected due to their taunting and baiting of both Glens Falls players, students and parents. I sat right in between the Glens Falls parents and Amsterdam students.
I saw and heard everything.
On the court there were some eye-catching examples of poor sportsmanship including an Amsterdam player continuously clapping into a Glens Falls players face, which was the beginning of a verbal altercation, which then turned into a physical altercation that followed with a punch being thrown by an Amsterdam player.
That poor sportsmanship carried over into the first meeting this year when a Glens Falls player was having a very good shooting night. Many Amsterdam parents continued to yell and mock the 17 year old for his talent and scoring ability; calling him names such as ball hog, overrated, and continued to boo him throughout the entire game.

GLENS FALLS VS. SCHUYLERVILLE
“Now, allow me to talk about one of your players, junior guard Joseph Girard III who will be celebrated tonight at Amsterdam High School if he breaks the New York State all-time scoring record. We remember Girard as a freshman erupting for 52 points — including a perfect 22-for-22 performance at the free throw line — in the Indians’ 87-82 victory over Amsterdam in December 2015. What I remember most about that night was the poise that your player showed after the game. Girard, a National Honor Society student, said all the right things that evening and displayed the ingredients of a bright future. Currently Girard, who continues to say all the right things, has 17 NCAA Division I college basketball scholarship offers – the latest from Michigan.” When he broke the Section 2 scoring record at Schuylerville on January 12th, not only did Schuylerville players boo him, but their parents and spectators as well. Reaching such a milestone should be admired by all, especially our surrounding communities. To see such hate towards such an incredible athlete during the game, and after on social media was completely and utterly disappointing.

Deep down, all Glens Falls athletes know that we have a target on our back. No matter what we do, or how we do it, we are subject to hate. To be frank, you do not know any of the Glens Falls athletes or coaches personally and therefore should not comment on their character. We do not go into games wanting to have altercations with others, we have a competitive spirit that stems from having the target painted on our backs. When teams play against Glens Falls, they compete with a certain chip on their shoulders that is not seen against any other team. Fast forward to this past week, Joe Girard reaches the milestone of beating the New York State all time scoring record. He receives numerous boos and negativity once again from the stands. But, somehow Glens Falls is always the bad guy.
I am among many students, athletes and community members that are beyond proud to wear Glens Falls across our chest. We wish for good competition and a healthy dose of sportsmanship as well.

Sincerely,
The Glens Falls Community

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