Monday, February 8, 2016

Manic Monday - It's Just A Game & Role Models

After every big game, such as the Super Bowl, NBA Championships, or World Series, I know there are dozens more I could name, but that's not the point, there's a flurry of people commenting on the behavior of the athletes, and teams.
This year's Super Bowl 50 was no exception. And with Social Media, the haters were out in force. Poor Cam Newton is being strung up in the public square for not handling his loss like people think he should have. (Lest we forget, Richard Sherman's poor sportsmanship in winning.)
Here's my take. You don't have to like it, but I'm going to share it. The reason I'm sharing it is because this morning on Facebook I posted that even though I thought Cam Newton could have handled himself more appropriately, I wasn't going to judge him. Why? Because I've never played any sport at that level. I've never put my all into anything at that level, or known that kind of pressure, and no way was I going to judge anyone for their reaction to such a defeat. And then to have to listen to that team go on and on about how they owned you, while you tried to answer questions from the press? Yes, the Broncos were on the other side of the wall from the Panthers.

For my response, I was chastised for defending Newton. Defending? No, I was choosing not to judge. And to call him a poor sport, fine, but then call a spade a spade. At least he stayed on the field to congratulate the other team. When Peyton Manning lost to the Saints, he didn't even bother to shake Drew Brees' hand (and he wasn't a kid of 20-something at the time). Oh yeah, he said he'd call him later. (Really? Later? After you've had time to compose yourself, lick your wounds, and get your thoughts together? That's not sportsmanship either.) And yet some woman on Facebook chose to defend Manning, saying he was giving the Saints their time in the limelight. Oh, please!!! What a crock of shit! That was poor sportsmanship to the Nth degree. 

Which brings me to my points. The first being that unless you were on the field or a part of the teams, it's just a game. Entertainment for the masses. No different than a movie or television show. Wait! It is a television show, only we get to cheer for one side or the other. Wheeeeeeee! Unless you had a bet on the game, then maybe it's a bit more. These people are paid huge money to entertain us. That's it. The game is for our entertainment. When it's over, it's over, and they go home to their multimillion dollar lives, while we go on with ours. And yet somehow we think it's more than that. Maybe it makes us feel better to defend old Peyton, and forget that he too was a poor sport when he was younger and less composed. Or we don't like to think what he would have done if the Broncos had lost.

And to those who say these athletes are role models for their kids, I feel sorry for you. I feel bad that you think these people are who your kids aspire to be. Why? Because I used to be an athletic trainer (prevention and care of sports injuries, for those who don't know what that is). I worked with these athletes for years, and I can tell you, other than the amount of time they put into their sport, there is no way on Earth I'd want my kid to aspire to be any of those people, EVER! There are very few, if you saw them away from their public personas, the one spun by their PR people, that you'd ever want your kid to be like. Sure, you want your kid to work hard and go to college, but do you want them to do what it really takes to get to that level? Or treat people the way many of these people do? If you only knew, you'd keep your role models closer to home, and hope your kids emulated you. So why not be a better role model yourself, so your kids can look up to you, and aspire to something. Show them good values, and give them the right rules and motivation to look within themselves to be the best they can be, instead of aspiring to be like someone else?

The only person a kid should be trying to be like or better than, is the person they were yesterday. They can learn the athletics, and physical fitness from professionals, but when it comes to sportsmanship, respect, and self-esteem, that starts and ends within themselves and from their parents. Not from some TV, PR spun oversized sports figure on TV.

When I hear a parent say, "He's a role model, he should know better," I want to slap them silly. He's not a role model, he's a highly paid entertainer. YOU are a role model, and to let your kids think a football player is in any way a role model is scary. And sad.

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