On the TUNNEYSIDE of SPORTS February 23, 2015 #529 Up Next…Trust…Lost?

After further review…The word trust figures prominently in any examination of our society’s ethics in recent times. Parents, for example, trust teachers to help their children learn, and educators assume the principle of“in loco parentis,” providing guidance in the absence of the legal guardians. So much of what happens in sports hinges on making the right choice, doing the right thing.  Where our children are concerned we trust coaches and trainers as well.

Cut to Chicago, who had one of the most bitterly cold and snowbound winters in history. Yet the devastation of this brutal winter pales next to this humiliation: stripping the Jackie Robinson West team of its 2014 Little League U.S. Championship. JRW, the pride of Chicago’s South Side, who lost the World Championship to South Korea in the Little League World Series at Williamsport, PA., had won their playoff games ‘til then.

The cause of this removal was the fact that JRW team officials “knowingly fielded players who lived outside their team’s established boundaries”. Then, those same adult leaders (?) tried to “cover-up” their deception. A couple of neighboring districts weren’t fielding a team, so the JRW manager, Darold Butler (the Butler did it?) recruited players he knew did not live in his district. Butler has been suspended and the District 4 supervisor, Michael Kelley, was also removed from his position. (By the way, officials from those neighboring districts were aware of the falsifications, but didn’t speak up.)

And what about those thirteen 11-and-12-year-old kids who according to one mother “played their hearts out”? Of course it’s not fair to them. But the comment of another parent–“Little League says they teach character and courage and this isn’t an act of either”—misses the mark. Sorry, but responsibility for one’s action (i.e., character) is exactly what is being taught and hopefully learned. While these 13 kids are blameless, they are subject to the consequences of choices made on their behalf. These lessons can serve them well in their personal and professional lives.

Are rules made simply to be broken or artfully bent? Haven’t we seen enough of that, in sports and business? Yes, I’m sorry for these JRW kids, but they’ll be OK. Resilience is the mantra of youth.

Will you use just do the right thing as your mantra?

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