It’s Only a Game
Don’t kill the messenger … or the umpire


Since yesterday was the big party for the Titans, I thought I’d post this cautionary message about how sports (which are not in themselves evil) can be mis-guided when the wrong kinds of attitudes are involved. I’ve noticed a lot of tension on the sports boards when disagreements come into play. More animosity over different opinions concerning these games seems to boil over than in the politics board even.

As the sports’ writer Heywood Hale Broun said, “Sports do not build character. They reveal it.”

Athletics in the schools (especially the elementary and high school levels)is supposed to be there for the purpose of exposing our children to teamwork, and to help them build their character as in becoming good-sports whether they win or lose. This is seldom the case, and when it is the case, it is usually accidental.

There are a number of factors to this, zealous parents, coaches who want to maintain their jobs, hometown politics, the kids’ own vanity; but (in my opinion) the major contributing factor to the decline of sports as character developer is the improper emphasis growing children see in sports-hero worship.

Charles Barclay, Pete Rose, Triple H, most of the Dallas Cowboys; these people have questionable character at best, yet they get endorsement deals, movie offers, dates with the glamouratzi, and extremely lucrative binding contracts! If I were 13 again, I’d go out for the teams, even though I have never had any real interest in the games. But where else is a child of recession going to find adulation and support for outright bad behavior?

If you ask me, the kids who practice but never get off the bench are the lucky ones. Lucky because they get to observe the others from the bench. As they sees their teammates and the coaches and parents when the team wins versus when they lose, they may realize eventually that they were lucky not to have ever been a sports hero.

It doesn’t have to be that way. Require a solid GPA or don’t let your kids play. Tell the coaches that you don’t care that the team needs your kid on a particular day if that is the day that his sister is in her school play, he has to be THERE. When you see your kid foul another, point THAT out to the coach or the referee. If your daughter is a cheerleader, tell her she can date the team captain only if he can fill in ten blanks on a periodic table. If your son is the quarterback, ask his girlfriend to tell you six things she likes about him that don’t involve football.

I’m not saying that jocks are inherently vain or stupid, I’m saying that they aren’t special just because they’re jocks. Are they?

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