Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Enough Already!


It's that time of year! Time for my yearly rant about organized sports. I'm sure that if I trolled through over 5 years of archives I (and you if you've got nothing better to do) could find a dozen or so posts about bad officials and poor sportsmanship. Here is your "sports builds character" post for 2011.

My brother plays basketball. He is on a team with some very talented kids. For the most part, they are good students (honors classes and honor roll), mind their own business, and play hard. Granted, they're kids so there is a lot of lack of concentration, whining at officials on occasion, and the like, but find me a sports field where that doesn't happen.

My brother plays in all three games, two days a week. That's 6 games and 12 hours of very physical basketball if you're keeping track at home. He plays hard. He plays defense well. He isn't the scoring machine he'd like to be but my goodness, legs get tired, knees stop bending, and sometimes even when you know you should stay on your feet, you jump and foul.

The school my brother plays for has a "reputation" and often times, it isn't a good one. Regardless of the fact that these are good kids with good hearts, when it comes time to walk onto the court, or the field, there is a stigma present. As a teacher at the same school years ago, I never believed it. I thought, "These kids are just full of it - it's an excuse". But now, having sat through 2 months of basketball games I hate to say that I think those kids are right.

When the "brown" school plays the "white" school, the fouls are out of balance. The calls go in the favor of the other team and our kids get the crap generally knocked out of them. Lots of teams get "homered" on the court, and we joke about the opponent paying off the officials before the game starts, but what if in some sort of respect it's true.

What if there really is still prejudice out there? What if there are men and women who really want these kids to lose because of how they look? The thought absolutely sickens me, especially this week. On Monday, as most probably were just grateful for the day off, we were supposed to be honoring the memory of Dr. King and the Civil Rights Movement in America. Something that changed the face of our nation - and the nations of the world forever. The idea of equality isn't new, but by golly it sure took a lot of fighting to create a sense of it across this nation over 40 years ago. You would think that the legacy of Dr. King, Malcolm X, the Black Panthers, Rosa Parks, and many others would live on and inspire others to do better, to be kind, to grant the benefit of the doubt.

But, when a group of students in the stands is taunting another student on the court, from an opposing school making fun of his name, his origin, his history; that goes to far. Where were the adults to tell that group of students to shut up and cut the crap? Why didn't the officials give the kid hanging on the rim for the other team a technical foul? Was it because he was white and the kid that got dunked on wasn't?

Maybe I'm off my rocker. Maybe I'm full of crap. After all, I wasn't even at the varsity game. I'm just going off of what I saw in the two previous games and what my mom and sister told me happened. Honestly, I'm glad I wasn't there. It would have made me too angry.

Somethings got to give though. There is a lot to be said for judging someone by the content of their character - something that I don't think happens as often as it should and is supposed to.

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