Is it just me or does it seem harder and harder to explain the behavior of professional athletes to our kids these days? We have Michael Vick abusing animals but then going on to resume his regular status in the football world. Then we have Brett Farve who allegedly sent unwanted pornographic pictures of himself on his cell phone to a cheerleader. Now we have a NY Jets coach who tripped an opposing Miami Dolphins player during a game the Jets were losing yesterday.
It’s kind of difficult to tell our kids to be a good sport and accept defeat with grace when we have such low role models to look up to. (See my longer post specifically on the Jets story over at Strollerderby on Babble.com.) Athletes today seem to be able to get away with doing just about anything they feel like.
I just find it disturbing that athletes who make more money than most all of us in one year are allowed to get away with behavior that would get most of us fired. It is certainly nothing I would allow my child to do and I hope that the professional organizations come to their senses and stop rewarding athletes who compromise their integrity.
My son joined Little League baseball last year. One of the most difficult parts of the season was when his team lost. One boy would start to say it wasn’t fair, another would break into tears, and my son would get mad. So we tried our best to explain to him that he needed to realize that he wouldn’t win every time, sometimes he’d strike out, and even drop the ball. It was part of the game. He was there to have fun and improve his skills.
Isn’t that how the professionals learned so many years ago? It seems like maybe they didn’t, or maybe they just let the glory go to their heads and forgot about what sports is really about. In any case, we’ll keep teaching our children that they should strive to always do their best, even when no one is looking, that they can’t win all the time, and that they should treat everyone with respect and dignity. Hopefully, despite what they see many professional athletes do, they will learn the ability to tell right from wrong on the field, and gain the strength to make wise decisions.