Just some random thoughts to myself after watching the state basketball tournament last week. Got me thinking about bigger topics about what I saw.
Q: You said that the high school basketball tournament was one of the great events in the state of Ohio. Still stand by that?….. I do. It’s a wonderful event. It isn’t as good as when it was at St. John Arena, but it was still great. Great teams, great players, and great games.
Q: Sounds like something is bothering you….. Yeah, a trend that I am not too proud of, but I am seeing more and more
Q: You gonna fill us in, or do we have to guess?…. Sure, it’s about what I hear during these post game interviews with primarily players. Not so much the coaches, but the players. It’s an epidemic
Q: You have a problem with what teenagers say? They are KIDS, they aren’t supposed to be media savvy….. I realize that, but it isn’t that hard to do. It’s something they should have been taught much, much earlier. Everyone is crying about “They don’t respect us”, “We have to get them to respect us”, “We feel disrespected”…blah, blah, blah….It’s never about the other team, it’s always about “US”.
Q: Give me an example….. Players (and some cases coaches) saying things like “We knew we were the better team” and “We knew could take advantage of them here” and “No team was going to stand in my way of winning”……Things like that. No mention of the fact that the other team probably wanted to win as much as they did, played as hard as they did, and probably had a game plan similar to yours.
Q: What do you want them to say? Couldn’t it just be chalked up to the heat of the moment?…. Maybe so, however it would be nice to hear them say the RIGHT things. I mean, aren’t kids taught to respect their opponents from the time they start playing? I mean, the “disrespect card” has been played out years ago. What I would like them to say is something like “We knew it was going to be a tough game because (Team A) is very good, and we knew we had to play are best game to beat them”. Or something to the effect of “We knew we were going to get THEIR best game, so we knew we had to play as hard and as smart as them”. It would be as least refreshing to hear stuff like that.
Q: OK, I’ll bite. Why is this happening then?…. In my opinion, it’s the new “ME” mentality. Kids listen to their favorite players in the NBA, NCAA, MLB and others. Those guys say the same things. It has trickled down to high school sports. Let me explain the hypocrisy. You will hear players from those major sports say “I just want to win”. Of course they will say that, despite the fact that they just signed with a team that may have won four football games, 30 basketball games, or 70 baseball games. I suppose the multi-million dollar contracts had nothing to do with their decisions either does it? Gimme a break.
Q: So, are you saying that high school athletes shouldn’t respect those people that do that?…. I say respect them for the right reasons. Respect them for doing what they say. Respect them for speaking the truth, not the truth for the moment. The more high school athletes hear about this crap, the more likely they are to actually believe it. Believe me, potential high school athletes, and high school athletes in general have been coddled since they started playing sports.
Q: Coddled? How so? Youth sports shouldn’t be ultra-competitive you know. What’s wrong with just having fun?…. Nothing is wrong with just having fun, and I agree with you about the competitiveness of youth sports. However, where youth and high school sports is lacking is a HUGE life lesson that is being glossed over.
Q: A life lesson? What could that be?…. The development of character. You see, most kids of today are worried about what people think of them, and that is reputation. Character is what these kids know they are. It’s a huge difference, and character is much more important to have. How is character developed when everyone gets trophies? How is character developed when coaches and state rules and regulations try to avoid athletes from facing any adversity? Why is it, that when a team gets beat, they always got screwed, and when they win, its all about them? I mean, is it that hard to acknowledge how well the other team played? Sometimes, you just get beat by a better team. Is it that hard to admit it?
Q: That would mean that you are against so-called “Mercy Rules”?….. Not at all. When used in the right situation. Five innings in baseball is fine, 30 point deficit in football where they keep the clock running in the state of Ohio isn’t the greatest, but it seems to be the way they want to do things. Facing adversity is important, being totally demoralized isn’t good either. The “Mercy Rules” have to find a happy medium. Some coaches are against them, and that is their prerogative. It is ironic however, that most coaches that are against them are the ones that are usually up by 30, and not down by 30. Wonder how they would feel if the shoe was on the other foot? I think we know the answer to that one, don’t we? Again, a great teaching moment for both teams in this situation.
Q: How is developing character linked to this respect you keep talking about?…. Easy. When you build character, it will always be easy to do the RIGHT thing, not the thing that you may WANT to do. People may respect your words, but they WILL respect your actions. Respect is earned. Not by beating a team, scoring a ton of touchdowns, or hitting a bunch of homeruns. It’s earned by your behavior while you are doing those things. Deflecting the credit, and passing it on to teammates, honoring the other team you are playing, and speaking in the “TEAM” mentality, and not the “I” mentality. There are many examples in the Cleveland area alone where teams and programs claim to be well-respected. It’s a scam. Just read some of their bio’s on the team or program. Nothing about strength of competition. Nothing about doing it the right way. Only about the results. That isn’t respect. It’s bragging and arrogance. Huge difference.
Q: So, getting respect is linked to character and doing the right thing?….. Exactly. People will respect you if you respect other teams, players, etc….It isn’t about “I scored 30 points. Respect me!!” “We just beat you by 20 points. Respect us!!”. Again, all about me or us and what we want in those statements. Not a formula for respect at all. People may respect your ability, but they won’t respect you as a person or a team. I can’t think of anything more gratifying to hear than from an opponents coaches, fans, and players than a compliment on how we conducted ourselves win or lose.
Q: Do you think this changing of behaviors and developing of character will take hold?….. I surely hope so. It would make a greater experience, and develop better PEOPLE, not just better ATHLETES.