By John Engh, COO, NAYS
The staff at NAYS travels the country speaking about the countless attributes that children gain playing sports. We ask our audience to list all of these great traits that we expect our children to gain just by virtue of playing the games that we love so dearly. Things like dealing with adversity, leadership, socialization, the importance of physical fitness, following rules – the list literally goes on and on.
But there has always been a great big ugly elephant in the room that rarely gets mentioned. It sits back in the corner and no one ever seems to mention it – CHEATING.
Yes, that’s correct, sports also teaches us to cheat, at least until you get caught! Now I know cheating is a dirty word and can be taken many ways but let’s start with the definition: to mislead, to deceive, to act dishonestly.
Does that sound familiar? Let’s take our most popular sports and see what we are teaching our children.
Baseball: How about the shortstop that gets the ball in time, but misses the tag. What is the first thing he is taught to do? How about the short-hopped “catch” that an outfielder makes? What do we teach our kids to do?
Basketball: Surely you’ve seen the popular commercial from values.com that shows the kid on the basketball team saying that he touched the ball last. How often does that happen? And when watching the NBA or college how many times do we see incredible acting jobs to persuade the refs to make the wrong calls?
And of course soccer, probably my favorite example, when we see world class athletes going to the ground and acting as if their ankle is broken and they are carted off the field only to run shamelessly back on the field one minute after the other player has been issued a yellow card!
And of course, there’s Tom Brady’s football. What are the linemen taught? Hold until someone calls a penalty. How many players have been accused of using Vasoline on their arms or Stickem on their hands when it’s clearly against the rules? There are seven on field officials in most big time football games, and most of them are there to catch players cheating!
Hmmmm…. to mislead, to deceive, to act dishonestly. That sounds like an accurate description!
So why should we be surprised by Tom Brady’s behavior – he’s been learning how his whole life. It’s just that this time instead of a 10-yard penalty, it’s a four-game suspension and the disapproval of everyone outside of New England!
We can and should do better at the youth level, but that’s a story for another blog!Cheating Basketball Soccer Baseball Football
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