Blame it on LeBron.
The pregame routine that everyone’s favorite (or hated, depending on your view) basketball phenom turned superstar made popular has since spread far and wide. And unlike the traditional white talcum powder originally used by King James, high school crowds across the country are using all kinds of difference substances to maximize the glorious photo ops, with colored chalk, baby powder and even flour floating into the air above stadiums at the start of game, second half kickoffs and even the onset of the fourth quarter.
Ladies and gentlemen, the coaches of your team would politely request you cut it out.
As noted in this terrific piece from the Cleveland Plain-Dealer, a number of different Ohio coaches have spoken anonymously with Plain-Dealer reporter Joe Noga to complain about the chalk tosses at their own stadiums, or on the road when their loyal fans travel along with them. According to the coaches in question, the chalk invariably floats down to the field, adding a slick layer of powder on some players’ equipment and occasionally even making it more slick when players attempt to handle the ball.
“We hate it,” one local coach told the Plain-Dealer. “It looks nice for the cameras for about two seconds and then we have to deal with it the rest of the game.”
Some schools have gone so far as to attempt to physically ban the chalk toss altogether. It hasn’t worked. Or, worse yet, it’s been banned, and players have gone forward with it anyway.
That’s why they’re speaking out now, hoping the fans may take notice when it isn’t game day, and adjust their behavior when the teams are suited up and ready to play.
“They don’t even realize what they’re doing, and by the end of the game, it’s already forgotten,” said one assistant coach. “Once they toss that stuff in the air, it’s somebody else’s problem, not theirs.”