Sportsmanlike Conduct

This is going to be weird to explain, because I have to admit I was listening to a local radio station… in Atlanta.
WSB is a major radio station in Atlanta, Georgia, and on Thursday and Friday, they were holding a Care-A-Thon to raise money for a children’s cancer center. Every year, Tim and Kim Hudson play a major role in that, offering to host couples who donate $1000 or more for a fancy dinner or something like that. Again, that was on Thursday, the day after Hudson’s injury.
Neal Boortz was hosting a segment of the Care-A-Thon, which is the primary reason I was listening. Boortz is my favorite talk show host, and though he’s retired, he still makes guest appearances from time to time. The Friday after July 5, if you were listening to Sean Hannity’s show, you heard him substituting.
Anyway, Boortz interviewed Kim Hudson, who was still in a hotel in New York waiting to take her sedated husband back with the rest of the team.
I’m not going to lie. I tried to watch the Tim Hudson injury. The Atlanta Brave snapped his fibula and just messed everything up. He was only in a splint. Mrs. Hudson was worried, but in good humor after all the help the Mets organization gave, including trainers, sports medicine officials, stretcher service and a lovely 24-hour New York pharmacy provided the happy pills that kept her husband from hurting too much.
On Twitter, Mets player Eric Young, Jr., who had stepped on Hudson’s ankle, posted the following:
“Thank you all for the kind words. I sincerely appreciate it. Continued prayers for a speedy recovery for Tim. Thank you again.”
Kim Hudson sent a reply:
“Thank you for playing the game the right way. You’re obviously one of the good guys. We appreciate you.”
What I’m saying in a very long and indirect way is that this is the best national example of sportsmanship I could come up with. And it’s clear that lessons in sportsmanlike conduct are not unfamiliar to the athletes of this parish.
Watching a young all-star team this weekend, I noticed something about them. Despite being down 5-0, after getting a big rally to come back but ultimately losing, the kids never had a bad attitude. Cockiness, anger, rage or any other negative notion never crossed their faces. They were having fun. It was a good thing to see.
So often, we see the professional athletes, or sometimes even the collegiate ones, have so much anger on the field, and that’s the example that gets put forward for our kids.
I was very happy to see the coaches of that all-star team (and to their credit, the kids from some the other teams, too) enjoying themselves on the field and off. Yeah, they got a little disappointed at times, but overall, there wasn’t a single kid crying after the game.
That was awesome.
The professional sports watchers of America like to call LeBron James out for being a poor sport for flops or something like that, but they ignore the video clip of a fan making a half-court shot in a contest and James rushing onto the court to hug him so hard they both fall down. That’s the example we need to set.
It’s hard, too, in a sports media (like the regular media) which seeks to put forward the drama first. Amid the Aaron Hernandez stories and the incidents of players getting into fights or failing drug tests, we don’t see the good in the players.
Parents, and coaches, keep instilling those good behaviors in your young athletes. I have a feeling that just a few years down the road, we’re really going to need them.
Which is just sad.

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