Saturday, November 04, 2006

Afterglow - It's more than a moment

Last night Siuslaw went undefeated in football. I’m not sure the last time that happened, I’m not sure it will ever happen again. What I am sure is that it couldn’t have happened to a nicer coach and team. A graduate of Siuslaw, just like I am, the coach has pride. Pride in his school, pride in his team. Pride in the parents and fans that help make it all happen, who stick by his team week after week, season after season. Each week after every game, the team gathers with fans and family in the middle of the field to sing the Alma Mater and share the afterglow.

Last night after the broadcast was over, the team, family, and fans shared their moment in the midst of a windy rain soaked field and shared. At which point I was watching Air Force drive Army into the ground more than a thousand miles away. Despite being opponents on the gird iron, following the game, both schools – players, family, and fans honored tradition and stood behind the other as their Alma Maters were sung. Gird Iron warriors united in something larger than themselves when the game is done. Even now the thought brings a tear to my eye, or maybe several to both.

Following the triumphs and losses of our youth, we met mid field and acknowledged each other: our worthy opponents, fellow lovers of the game, our friends and our rivals. Our Pee Wee, Pop Warner, Little League coaches taught us sportsmanship and respect. Our coaches in junior high, high school, and college continued the lesson. What happens after that has become a national disgrace.

Following most college games, and many pro football games you’ll see opposing players gather mid field in a circle and pray. They often shake hands, pat the backs of their rivals, and shake off the combat of the battle. Following each Oregon Football game, the Ducks thank their fans, especially those fans, which travel to see their beloved Ducks on the road. They shake hands, discuss the game, and say thank you, and even sign autographs. They remember their sportsmanship. I’m not saying my Ducks don’t do wrong, of course they do. But they don’t do it as a standard conduct, they are gentlemen, and being less is not tolerated. I am proud of them as people, individuals, and as a team.

But what has happened in the pros? Yes, following most games football players will meet and shake hands. But my other love is baseball. They don’t met on the field to shake hands like they did in little league. No, they meet on the field to congratulate each other, their own teammates. How utterly disgusting and ridiculous. It doesn’t even rank above my other disgust in pro sports, and that is celebrating in the end zone. Get real folks. These are professional athletes getting paid thousands, tens of thousands each game and they have thrown sportsmanship out the window. Meet mid field to unite in something bigger than them? You’d think it be possible, they have no problem clearing the benches and meeting mid field, mid game after some imagined or not offense, fist and words flying. These are grown men, paid exorbitant pay checks and sportsmanship has nothing to do with it.

We need to hold professional athletes to a higher standard, not just for our kids sakes, but for our own. We need to walk the walk, talk the talk, not just give the concept lip service to our children. Why is it so easy to tell them to play fair? To be sportsmanlike? To honor the integrity of the game? And then not hold our professional athletes to the same standard? Why is this double standard so easy for us to swallow, over look, embrace? Because yes, many do embraces it. Next time you’re watching baseball with your spouse or significant other and the pitcher from his team retaliates by hitting a batter, ask your beloved if they approved? I know what my husband’s answer will be.

© Cele


Bishop Rick said...


I know in Baseball that pitchers are often ordered to retaliate (by hitting the batter) by the team manager.

Recently a Pitcher (can't remember his name right now) refused to hit a batter after being ordered to by the manager. The pitcher was pulled from the game and then sent down to the minor leagues. This was all over the news this summer.

I agree with you regarding the arrogance of many professional athletes. I can't stand watching them, but I still love sports. I played in high school and watch local Utah sports all the time.

All we can do as parents is try to teach our kids good sportsmanship and hope that they choose to do the right thing when put in that situation.

Oregon might be playing my Alma Mater (BYU) in the Las Vegas Bowl. We might be on opposite sides of the field on that day (Dec 21)...but I promise to be a good sport after we beat your team.

Cele said...


It isn't a good comment on sports when a manager orders a hit. It isn't a good comment on adulthood when the manager and the owner of the team (and probably the pitcher's team mates) when the pitcher is sent down into minor league darkness. I've never seen retaliation at a minor league game. That's not to say it doesn't happen but I only make a few games a year.

The saying goes - I'm parapharsing here... When men get pissed the go to war, when women get pissed they go shopping.

Well then it should be an easy win for BYU. Oregon stated out the season strong, looking good, and then as the saying goes pride before the fall they fell flat on their faces. I love my team, but boy, they need to wake up.

Bishop Rick said...

Wager? You're on.

Sister Mary Lisa said...

So who won the wager?

Cele said...

Ha, ha BR won, the blog is written, now I just need to know where to send it.