On the TUNNEYSIDE of SPORTS April 21, 2014 #485 Up next…Treating others!
After further review…Major league baseball season has begun and once again, a few delusional fans have run onto the field flinging themselves into games. Problem is, they don’t have MLB contracts, and have no earthly business on those diamonds. This reminds me of a discussion my grandson and I had when he was playing on his high school baseball T*E*A*M. He was concerned, as a teenager, about the behavior of parents at his games. It bothered him that adults – from both sides – would loudly berate his teammates when mistakes were made.
When I played, coached, and officiated the thinking was that school games should be different from the pros. What we have witnessed in the last 20-plus years is that both the players and the fans at school games want to emulate those in the pro ranks. Can we trace the blame for this attitude to the “wanna-be” urge?
Sociologists note that society today is less respectful of authority than in the past. Has the emergence of individual rights (and an accompanying sense of self-entitlement) overridden respect for the rules that are there to benefit all? Booing in sporting events has always been the norm, but have we overcome the restraints that keep it in check? How do we insure the “rights” of the majority to practice decency and fairness?
Sports have always been the place to learn self-discipline, self-sacrifice, mental toughness and teamwork. There is a wealth of evidence suggesting lessons learned on the playing field translate directly to the home, the family and the workplace. Being on a T*E*A*M – whether it be sports, band, cheerleading, etc. – helps people treat others with respect. Yet it does require the courageous attention of parents, teachers, players, coaches and officials to enforce civility.
It also takes courage, when abuse is hurled your way, not to respond in kind. My experience in athletics brought that fully to my attention. Responding in kind only brought me down to that level. It was always my intention to treat others with respect, no matter how they treated me. By ignoring abuse and walking away, I had greater control over myself and the situation. Respecting others even when they act badly toward you is sportsmanship in its fullest form.
Will you maintain your dignity in spite of how you are being treated?
To contact Jim go to jimtunney.com or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Jim’s book “101 Best of Tunney Side of Sports” is available at tunneysideofsports.com/here