For Birdie, defining taunting proves daunting in Westmoreland County football

Wednesday, September 29, 2021 | 4:53 PM

Last week: 8-4 (66.7%)

Season: 40-20 (66.7%)


After descaling his Keurig a few days ago so he could make a fresh cup of pumpkin spiced coffee, the Birdie became flustered when the blinking light would not go off.

He shook the machine. It fell off the counter onto the kitchen floor in a crash, angering Mrs. Birdie.

“I stepped over the thing and called it a few select words,” Birdie said. “I gave it the business. It won’t mess with me again.”

The light is still blinking.

Mrs. Birdie, up to date on her football, put her man in his place.

“That’s 15 for taunting, pal,” she said. “Go take out the garbage and wash my car.”

Shaken by the surprise burn, the Westmoreland County football expert recalled a recent conversation he had with his wife about the “ridiculous” taunting rules that exist in football.

He was shocked that she was listening because she was watching The Ellen DeGeneres Show at the time.

“I’ve seen it called in WPIAL games, too” he said. “We need to do something about this, folks. Taunting is too subjective. I have even had readers and coaches taunt me over my picks. The nerve.

“If anything, coaches should be disciplined for ‘taunting’ referees. The stripes need more respect. And coaches also need to chill when it comes to taking shots at me. Remember, when I pick against your team, I am doing you a favor.”

The Birdie, a known hypocrite who lives in denial and shame, especially after a putrid 8-4 showing, went to play Knockerball at Westmoreland Mall to take out his frustrations. He wore his Devin Whitlock jersey.

“They told me to calm down because I ‘taunted’ a little kid after I ‘blew him up,’” Birdie said. “Can you believe this? When are we going to allow sports to be fun again?

“I need a coffee.”

Now, the Week 5 predictions:

Hempfield (2-3, 0-2) at Canon-McMillan (3-2, 1-1): The Birdie expects Hempfield to get its offense back in tune, but the Big Macs will get to the quarterback and force mistakes. Seneca Valley, 24-14

Norwin (2-3, 0-2) at Baldwin (0-5, 0-2): Norwin is behind a week after shutting things down due to covid protocols, but the Knights will move the ball early and handle the Highlanders for their second conference win. Norwin, 28-12

Franklin Regional (1-4, 0-0) at Connellsville (0-5, 0-0): Look for Franklin Regional to make some “splash” plays on defense and special teams. Franklin Regional, 26-7

Latrobe (2-3, 0-0) at Gateway (3-2, 0-0): Gateway might give up a few big plays here and there, but that won’t happen this week. The Gators will fling it around on the Wildcats in the conference opener. Gateway, 40-20

Penn-Trafford (3-2, 0-0) at Woodland Hills (1-4, 0-0): A tough road game following a rare Saturday matchup, Penn-Trafford will be challenged early, then get the ball moving. Penn-Trafford, 28-12

Laurel Highlands (5-0, 2-0) at Belle Vernon (4-0, 2-0): While the quarterbacks will get top billing, look for some unheralded players to shine, especially on defense. Belle Vernon, 42-14

Greensburg Salem (4-1, 2-0) at Hampton (5-0, 2-0): A sleeper game on the schedule will show who had the tougher nonconference slate. The Birdie gives that nod to the Talbots. Hampton, 24-21

Mt. Pleasant (3-2, 1-0) at Yough (0-5, 0-2): Mt. Pleasant has overcome injuries and returned to form, which spells trouble for the winless Cougars. Mt. Pleasant, 49-7

Derry (0-4, 0-1) at Southmoreland (3-2, 1-1): Southmoreland has its sights on a conference title. Derry has its sights on next season. Southmoreland, 32-6

Ligonier Valley (5-0, 0-0) at Steel Valley (4-0, 0-0): Ligonier Valley has been excellent at home, but the scene shifts to a tough road atmosphere, and an opponent to match. Injuries will come back to bite LV. Steel Valley, 24-19

Greensburg C.C. (3-2, 1-1) at Springdale (3-2, 0-2): The rare matchup of teams that still play on natural grass will go to the one that best holds on to the football. GCC wins if it can clean up the penalties. GCC, 16-13

Leechburg (4-1, 1-1) at Jeannette (1-4, 1-1): Leechburg ran wild on the Jayhawks last year. Look for more of the same — with some big pass plays, too. Leechburg, 46-12

Monessen (3-2, 2-0) at Mapletown (2-3, 0-2): Another win for Monessen? Sure looks that way, thanks to more big plays the Birdie didn’t think the ‘Hounds had in them. Monessen 20-9

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