Everybody is looking out for the kids these days.
Congress is holding hearings next week regarding steroid use in Major League Baseball. One of the stated reasons for the hearings (besides providing good publicity for the congressmen involved) is to deter kids from taking steroids and emulating professional baseball players.
The NFL recently enacted strict rules against what they called unnecessary celebrations. One of the stated reasons behind that decision (besides cultural disconnect between the old white men who make the rules and the young black men who play the game) was the NFL was receiving complains from youth coaches, saying their players were emulating the professionals.
Everybody is looking out for the kids. Except the ones who should be. The youth coaches. Too many youth coaches abdicate their primary job; developing teamwork and good sportsmanship in their charges. They become more interested in their secondary job; wins and losses.
I played little league baseball. One game, while playing shortstop, I was bored and flicked pebbles at the pitcher while in the field. I was taken out after three innings. After the game was over, the coach asked me if I knew why I was taken out (I was one of the better players on the team and rarely sat the bench). I knew. And I never did anything like that again.
While college and professional coaches aren’t absolved from providing this type of guidance, they are dealing with young adults whose personalities have been formed for the most part. Plus, coaches on that level are hired and fired for wins and losses. Ask Tyronne Willingham why he isn’t the coach of Notre Dame. Or Bill Curry why he isn’t the coach of Alabama.
If more youth coaches, from tee ball all the way to high school, worried as much about the sportsmanship of their players and they did about wins and losses, kids wouldn’t be so apt to ape their poorly acting professional counterparts.
And the kids wouldn’t have to be looked out for so much.