Everyone Is Entitled To My Opinion On Sportsmanship

Dear Friends,
       It is hard to believe that this week marks one hundred columns how time does go by. When I started writing this weekly message I felt I had something worth saying and I needed something to occupy my time during what I thought would be a few months of shut down due to COVID19. I wanted to write something that would be of interest, informative, and fun, not tell anyone what to think, what to do, or how it should be message. I wanted to write something with facts and ideas that were true and worth presenting for thought, for readers to form their own opinions. Response has been positive, thank you.
       This morning as my wife and I sipped our morning coffee and watched the news they covered a story that has become far too familiar; violence at a teen sporting event 171 such incidents in a year. This time it was a high school basketball game. I grew up playing sports, baseball, football, basketball, tennis, boxing, and eventually martial arts. I was able to swim nearly every day, hike in the woods, ride my bike, chop wood, and lift weights. As my body grew and became stronger I developed a discipline; work hard, play hard and fair, humble in victory and gracious in losing. You played to win because that was the object of the game, learning sportsmanship conduct was the lesson, the reason you played was your love of the sport, the competition, the camaraderie, and the satisfaction of always giving it your best and seeing the task through to an honorable finish. “Play hard, study hard, and be the best you can” were the words we grew up hearing, words to live by. “Truth, honor, the American way” Sadly these words have been replaced by words like “Coming in second is the first to lose” and “Win by any means.” The use of strength and body enhancing drugs, steroids, became wide spread. Betting on games and altering the outcome of competition for monetary gain cheapened the competition. Today the love of competition has been replaced by greed, to the victor goes the spoils. Scholarships are offered to children who show talents in grade school groom them to win with the lure of great wealth. Million dollar contracts come with guarantees, endorsement deals of athletic shoes, sweat shirts bearing top players names, number, and their team name. The days of a father comforting his son after a game lost with understanding, love, and a lifesaver are no more. If this has meaning for you, you may remember those “Happy Days” Mr. C.


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