A conservatory of Ldotter blogs.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

The desire to win. . .

. . .at all costs manifests itself in the most sickening of ways at times. And just when you think you've heard the most sickening of all, along comes someone like Mark R. Downs, Jr., who paid one of the kids on his T-ball team -- yes, T-ball -- to injure a mentally disabled teammate so he wouldn't have to put him in the game and risk losing. What is truly sad is that this man had the great good fortune of being born in a place like the United States, with all its blessings, instead of some hell hole in the Middle East where they abduct mentally disabled children and fit them with suicide bomber vests. What kind of human being would sink to such a level of depravity? No kind. This requires a mindlessness seen only in sharks and jackals.

I have no children of my own, and far be it from me to tell others how to raise theirs. But, it seems to me that parents would do much better for their children if they picked their coaches based on what they can actually teach a child, rather than the number of wins they can put together over the course of a summer baseball season. Far too many coaches today seem to teach kids that losing is the greatest disgrace a person can endure in competition, and that it must be avoided by any means -- when, in truth, cheating is by far the greater disgrace. And cheating doesn't even begin to describe the subhuman conduct involved in this case.

But, even in cases where the lack of honor and dignity isn't as pronounced as it is in this one, the lesson many children learn is that losing is such a bad thing that one must fear it to such a degree that morality can be set aside in order to avoid it. Inevitably, this forces children to choose between victory and their own consciences, and a healthy child will always choose to follow his conscience. The end result is that a healthy child will have no interest in sports because the pursuit is beneath his sense of dignity, leaving competitive games to be played by children who turn out to be like, well, a great number of sports superstars playing today.

Is this something Congress needs to get involved in? No. Congress is not much different from the sports world in its lack of honor and dignity. But, there ought to at least be some kind of national agenda to promote good sportsmanship. One would think the various professional sports leagues would be anxious to back this kind of initiative with some percentage of the billions raked in every year through sporting events and licensing. While codifying it into law is a non-starter -- we don't need a House Subcommittee on Little League -- shaming the players organizations and owners into spreading around a little seed money to promote something that will, in the end, be in their best interests seems like a good place to start. That is, assuming the players and owners are in any way capable of experiencing shame -- an awfully big assumption given the evidence before us today.

A hat-tip in sadness to Lucianne.com.

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