Change

Change
Turning Over New Leaf

Sunday, January 20, 2013

As Long as You Don’t Get Caught


Ace of hearts

Ted Williams is one of my all-time favorite sports characters for one simple reason. Those of you who are not baseball fans might not know that hitting .400 for a season is a tremendous feat, only achieved by superstars. By the time 1941 rolled around, it had been accomplished in the past, but not often, and not for quite a while.
 
Enter Ted Williams. He had a tremendous season, and as a die-hard Red Sox fan, I think about his accomplishment quite often, and it motivates me.
 
It was before my time, but Williams had achieved the ultimate that season. He batted .400, with one game to go. Nearly everyone including his teammates and manager told him to sit out the last game so he could enter the record books as one of baseball’s elites. Williams refused, claiming if he sat out the last game, he really would not deserve the honor. He got six hits that day, ended with an average of .406, and became a hero to millions of American kids to this day.
 
What happened to honor in sports?
 
Tiger Woods was the best golfer in the world, had a gorgeous wife, and gave it up to sleep around, all to the dismay of his fans. Barry Bonds thrilled kids everywhere, until his performance enhancing drug scandal. He joined the likes of Mark McGwire and Olympian Marion Jones. Boxing’s Mike Tyson had it all. He was the ultimate athlete, until he chose to throw it away. And now we are hearing about Lance Armstrong, the latest weasel to lie to the American youth who idolized him for his athletic accomplishments.
 
Where have our heroes gone? We could all rattle off the names of hundreds of sports figures over the last fifteen years, who like other public figures, have taught our children that lying, cheating, and lack of integrity are okay, unless one gets caught, and then only an apology is required to regain national favor and long-lasting fame. What happened to honor?
 
I do grow tired of those who belittle, mock, insult, and berate others who recognize our cultural problem. Let me join the ranks of the wrongfully scorned. Our nation is in moral decline.
 

25 comments:

  1. I was just thinking about a post on Lance Armstrong. Hmmm. Like minds. Our nation is in moral decline.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Robin: Like minds? Boy, are you in trouble!

      Delete
  2. I think this starts young. My daughter played in two basketball leagues. In one of them, good sportsmanship was a priority. The kids worked hard and had fun. Parents were well behaved and cheered both teams. No one yelled at the refs. The girls themselves were good sports because that's what they saw modeled.

    The other league was all about winning, beginning with the coach. I was appalled by how the coach behaved, earning penalties herself. Parents yelled at the refs. Mia loved the game and wanted to play year round, so I let her stay in this league, but at home, I made it clear what I expected from her in terms of being a good sport.

    The same thing happens in the classroom. Cheating was rampant and blatant. That was hard for my kids because when they saw kids cheating and making good grades. I told them I was much more proud of an honest C than I would be of an A obtained through cheating.

    So we don't need to look much further than the mirror to explain the bad behavior by professional athletes.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Galen: "The same thing happens in the classroom." This is scary, and TRUE!

      Delete
  3. Amen! No one has any integrity anymore. Armstrong only confessed because he was caught finally.

    ReplyDelete
  4. THis is not an excuse, but those old timers did not have the temptation of incredibly huge sums of money.

    It would be nice to see some of the old high standards come back.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. joeh: I agree. They ruined all my favorite sports about forty years ago.

      Delete
  5. I do think it's a shame that the very best of our athletes seem to have no sense of honor. Maybe it's time for America's youth to look some place other than sports for their heroes.

    How about the business world? Um, no.
    Politics? Okay, now I'm being silly.
    Science? Dare we still hold scientists in some regard? I'm not sure. Their research depends on the Almighty Dollar.

    Suffice it to say, I agree. This moral decline is disturbing, most especially in the idea that all it take is an apology to set things right.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dianne: You are so right. It permeates our society.

      Delete
  6. I couldn't say anything more or better- then what you posted right here. Heaven help us all.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Karen: I remain positive, but it will take a while before many Americans see the error of thier ways and begin to change for the better. No matter what anyone says, if you drop a brick off a building, it does not fall up, and no amount of rhetoric will change that.

      Delete
  7. Overall, cheating seems to be almost "acceptable" these days, or at least, it doesn't carry as much as a stigma as it used to. But I don't think integrity is gone. It's still there in a lot of people you may see everyday. But perhaps, we shouldn't look to the sports world to find our heroes and role models.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Susan: I agree wholeheartedly. What is scary to me is that you are right. It is almost "acceptable."

      Delete
  8. NO IT ISN'T! If it was, we wouldn't be reading about this in the paper and feeling the disappointment we do--or would we? We do love scandal and when people in high places fall from grace.

    Sports arenas are tough places to say the least. I can see where the stress placed on winning could push kids who have been trained to win, from little league up through the ranks to where the dark side of morality looms. Stadiums filled with people chanting your name,scholarships, huge salaries, endorsements, halls of fame, --riches and immortality are very attractive and inviting. Fame is quite the mistress, she's yours for a dreadful price, and costly to keep.

    I find it interesting that Lance did the Oprah interview. I think he's clearing his conscience, making peace with himself--like one of the 12 steps in AA dictates. He didn't have to be interviewed; he chose to. That's pretty brave in my book--even heroic--however he won't be applauded for telling the whole truth. We ARE an unforgiving country. According to the Good Book, that's immoral too. This is a whopper of a topic JJ! Good thinking. Good post.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Linda: I love the diversity of opinions, and I respect everyone's positions on just about everything, because that is how we learn. The problem is we don't get much opportunity to exchange ideas today.

      Delete
  9. Integrity? Haven't seen that too often .... and hardly EVER in sports. But one thing I can honestly say.... Many of us writers have it... so it's not lost.... I won't hold my breathe to see it again in any "Job" where people are paid RIDICULOUS amounts of money just to hit a ball, make a touchdown, or sink a basket. Sorry. I can't imagine anyone getting paid seven plus figures for this. NO one is worth that kind of money in ANY job.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Michael: I agree, and I am so glad you mentioned
      "writers," and not journalists.

      Delete
  10. I never understood why American's cared about Lance Armstrong in the first place. He was an American sports hero in a sport Americans didn't watch.
    As for the topic of honor, the administration at my high school does not allow teachers to penalize students for cheating. If a student is caught, teachers are expected to notify parents, rewrite the test and allow the cheater to retake it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. #167 Dad: You know my mindset. I taught in high school, and I felt like I was witnessing the Fall of the Roman Empire.

      Delete
  11. One of the reasons I'm pursuing a career in film making is because I'm tired of not being able to watch movies without finding something repulsive in it. I love movies, but only ever watch a handful of new films a year.

    ReplyDelete
  12. It is sad that kids don't have the role models that we looked up to when we were growing up. Though many athletes have shone a negative light on their sports, I still believe that integrity still exists. Unfortunately, many players had the "as long as I don't get caught" mentality long before all of the steroid scandals. We just didn't know about it.
    Julie

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Julie: I agree that integrity still exists, and scandals occurred long ago. However, I blame the modern media, because in times past, they did not parade those without integrity in front of our children, and did not portray them as heroes.

      Delete
  13. By the time I heard about the Manti T'eo thing I just couldn't help but think that a lot of the issues we see with our sports heroes may have much to do with the way the media goes along blindly with the undying worship of these people and doesn't bother to check the back stories at all anymore. It's amazing what we've lost when we lost the integrity of our 'investigative reporters' and real journalists.

    That's not to excuse the behavior completely. I know that I personally still have integrity even when nobody's watching. My aunt once asked me about that quality and how to instill it in her own daughter. Since I can't say that it's learned for me (you know I had just about the worst examples of behavior there could be) I didn't know how to answer that. I still wonder what makes one person have character and integrity and another not, even when they've come from the same home. All I DO know is that I don't buy the excuses. I think we are ALL capable of being good citizens if we want to, even in the face of lots of temptation. It's what makes the 'want' that is still the big mystery to me.

    ReplyDelete

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.