Friday, May 23, 2008

Athletes Awful Behavior

What's wrong with this picture? I guess you could make the case that we are what's wrong. We the fans have excused bad behavior and demanded more superior athletic performance at any cost. It only takes a few bad apples to make the entire basket start to rot. I was never the rabid fan of any sport. I enjoyed watching a variety of events especially when it looked like the participants were giving their all and enjoying the sport. Now, with obscene salaries and purses in almost every sport, the face of athletic performance has changed. Some athletes are willing to sacrifice their health and mental well being for a few years of exceptional play. Sportsmanship is passe, and doing something for the team is rapidly becoming an attribute of the past. We began by dropping the rules so that some athletes who were less than gifted academically could participate for four years in high school, then college. Then we started ignoring the rules of the game and fair play to allow physically gifted athletes, who had never learned how to behave or follow the rules, a chance to "show-off." It is most easily seen in basketball where fouling, palming the ball, double dribbling, and taking four or five steps to the hoop without penalty have become the norm. Football beyond the high school level has deteriorated to a trash talking, unsportsman like, all about me, ghetto freak show. Boxing is abysmal with rare exception from whatever angle you care to look. Even golf is hurting when the really great performers will only play the major events. Drugs of every variety are widely used to enhance physical ability, mask pain, and increase alertness. I still like to cheer for the underdogs and overachievers who win without artificial help. I like coaches who demand discipline, and stress team play. I have stopped watching pro-athletics for the most part because the behavior of some ruins the game for everybody. I don't see it as a problem for our government to address. They have enough behavior problems to address withing the House and Senate to keep them occupied for the remainder of time. But, I do think as fans we could have an impact by refusing to watch, buy tickets, or attend games until changes are made. I think it could be brought back under control, but first we are going to need to exercise self-control.

It's never just a game when you're winning. - George Carlin