I love basketball. I mean, I pretty much love everything about the sport. I grew up watching Indiana and believing that Bobby Knight was the best coach around. I was a kid, of course. My daddy liked Bobby’s no-nonsense style and he laughed at his antics on the court sidelines. As I grew up, I realized that some of Knight’s coaching methods were questionable at best, but I still respect much of what he did as a coach. He was a solid coach. He was a smart coach. Guys who played for Knight went on to be, for the most part, class acts. Steve Alford would be one of the first to come to mind.
I sure do hope the kids playing today will be better citizens for having been a part of teams in middle school, high school, and even college. Pros? Well, I think there is just a lot of greed that comes into play there. If they want to lower their pays to reasonable amounts I might rethink my stance, but for now… Being a part of these teams as they grew up might be the best lessons many of the student athletes have had in life. I think being a part of a team teaches everyone so much that is valuable.
What is on my mind today, though, is difficult for me. I guess in everything I’ve ever done that involves students, I’ve looked for ways lessons could be taught, for ways that I might be a good example who would help the students to make better life choices in some small way. So, when I see adults choosing otherwise, I really resent it. And since basketball is the topic du jour, that is where I’ll stay. I find myself quite regularly commenting to no one in particular that the refs could be more consistent and more fair in their calls in ball games. What I also notice is that many times coaches are as much a problem as the players. At last night’s local game I was reminded again. The coach of the opposing team, was disrespectful of the players. The ugliness carried over to the refs, who allowed too many fouls to occur and called too many fouls that weren’t. The game got out of hand. Players were strewn across the floor. One player ended up getting stitches. The blood was a harsh reminder of the result of such aggression. What most saddened me was the visible disrespect shown by at least one of the players, and really by several. At what point in their lives had those girls decided that unkindness, disrespect, and ugliness would be a part of who they are on the court?
My blog isn’t read by many people, and I don’t expect that my words will ever reach the players who need to hear them. But I feel better putting the words on paper, so to speak. I am able to get it out of my chest and head and into a stream of words. Maybe someone who works with kids on some level will read this. Maybe one person will change the way they do business, affecting students in a way that will make good changes in their life. And just maybe, someone who has no interaction with kids will read these words and realize that adults should be held accountable, that students should be held accountable. After all, no one can help the home they’ve grown up in, but everyone can help how they allow their circumstances to impact their being.