Something’s Different…

You might have noticed that my blog has a new theme. The old one was getting on my nerves, so I thought I’d try somehting new. You like?

I know that I should have blogged by now. I think of tons of great things to jabber about, but I never have the drive to put them into words that aren’t just monotonous fact-stating word-a-thons. That being said, there have been some interesting things happening and I think I’ll wax a bit.

We watched the NCAA final the other night and saw Florida win back-to-back championships. We were happy for them. Great job Florida.

Too bad that I can’t hardly stand to watch basketball these days due to all the thuggish garbage that happens. The NBA is a gathering storm of all-out brawling like hockey used to be. The bigger issue here is that the college players see what the pro lifestyle entails and begin to parrot the behavior sonner rather than later. Now, I’m not saying that every basketball player is a thug. I’m saying that there are more thugs than there used to be.

I also realize that the NFL isn’t a bunch of angels all waiting to help their fellow man. It is interesting to note though, that with the Colts winning and the pictures of the team kneeling in prayer after the game, America got to see a side of professional sports that was not readily apparent. I recall hearing the commentators debating whether or not the gun-toting bear, who’s name escapes me, should be allowed to play due to having to get special permission from the courts to travel to the Super Bowl.

The commentators were split down moral lines, which is to be expected. The “sport is king” purists would say that his personal life has no impact on his job, in this case playing football. While the “moral highgrounders” would say that someone who broke the law shouldn’t be glorified with special treatment, thus sending the message that entertainment power trumps legality. I think I stand in the middle. I love the idea of players humbling themselves enough to realize that it is God’s grace that allowed them to be there in the first place, but I think forcing morality down people’s throat will always backfire.

Coming from Indiana, we had the two polarities of sports conduct. The Pacers, who shot people at strip clubs, and the Colts, who didn’t get yelled at by their coach in order to control the practices better. The Pacers management was continually pleading with the public to come to the games, the Colts didn’t have enough seats to sell to buyers.

I think back to the 80s with Bob Knight at the helm of the Hoosiers. I can tell you, with a high degree of certainty, that if one of Knights players decided to get in a fight with other people, he would’ve been choked. I don’t think choking solves all problems, but it was a deterrent that made those guys get in line and stay there. Love him or hate him, he had the medicine to make young men keep cool under pressure. His being such a hothead (throwing chairs, etc) let his team know that if outrage was commanded, he would take care of that. There was no need for his players to ever act against good sportsmanlike conduct.

Remember when Abdul-Jabaar got charged with rape? Or when Magic Johnson shot that guy for saying the Lakers suck? Or how about that time Michael Jordan got arrested for slapping a stripper?

You don’t? Of course not. It’s ridiculous to think about. I realize they all had their indiscretions, but they did a great job of keeping their image intact. Like it or not, successful people are role models. You can’t say, “I’m no role model”. That won’t cut it. In the eyes of many youths who want to be exactly where you are, they will mimic you from the get-go. I think it’s high time that professional sports thugs got their bells rung.

These high-school, college, and even little league thugs-in-training need to be shown that sports institutions will not tolerate personal indiscretions beyond a certain point. If a player is willing to slap a stripper, why would you think that he won’t slap a receptionist? If he will shoot at a fan in a nightclub, why not a fan after a game? Why not an opposing player? If he will verbally assault his own wife, why won’t he tell a coach off?

The pastor at our chuch talked about this very thing this last week, and he was dead on. Your personal behavior indicates all other behavior given enough time. Same goes for me, same goes for everyone else. The real issue is that we have let the high bar of excellence in behavior slip slowly downward to where we allow anyone to do anything, as long as they’re not “on the job”.

I hate to think about the status of sports when my daughter starts to get interested. Between the scantily-clad cheerleaders and the glorification of illicit behavior, we’ll probably have to get Cinemax to watch the All-Star game.

-Chris

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