Hug it up Y’all: Sportsmanship in Sports

After nearly every game, there is a common trend among athletes, going through the handshake line. Recently, during a handshake line following an Auburn vs. Florida softball game, an altercation between an Auburn player and a Florida coach occurred. After the Auburn player did not high five the Florida coach, he gave her a light push on the shoulder. She reacted by then shoving him in the back.

I’ve been through over one hundred handshake lines and there have been numerous occasions where a player did not give me a handshake. I didn’t react other than laughing to myself at their pettiness.

Overall, I don’t mind when a game gets a little chippy. If a player has something he wants to say to me, I encourage him to say it. There is a certain line that is drawn when it comes to chippiness, and I think that is when a physical altercation goes down. At that point, the game is stopped and we’re just wasting everyone’s time.

Another issue with sportsmanship is running up the score on teams. I don’t really like to see a coach pressing in the fourth quarter when they are up by 60. When I see scores of 115-12 it just makes me wonder what the actual game was like. Was the second or third team in? Was the winning team pressing the entire game? I would never suggest that players don’t play as hard as possible, but it is up to the coach to call off the press and put the second and third string players in the game.

Overall, sportsmanship is vital to every sports. All players should understand the boundary between what and what is not acceptable behavior. I believe that is up to the coaches to teach their players. While it might be difficult for the coach to portray that “line in the sand” it definitely isn’t impossible.

References:

http://www.espn.com/espn/commentary/news/story?id=5816279

https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/florida/articles/2017-03-28/florida-coach-auburn-player-clash-after-softball-game

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Taking a Knee to Take a Stand

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In the third preseason game of the 49ers, Colin Kaepernick quietly sat on the bench while everyone else in the stadium stood at attention. This was not the first time he had done this, but the first time cameras caught him doing so. Kaepernick later said that his silent protest of the anthem was due to racial issues and police brutality against African-Americans. This brings to question: Should the NFL mandate its players to stand for the national anthem?

Kaepernick said he never ran his decision to sit during the anthem by anyone. He also said he knew he would probably get a lot of backlash from his decision. When the 49ers were questioned about Kaepernick’s decision they said that they encourage all of their players to stand for the national anthem, but it was Kaepernick’s right to choose to sit. The 49ers organization went on to say that it is the exact freedoms the flag represents that allow for Kaepernick to choose not to stand during the national anthem.

I agree with the 49ers on their stance. It is one of the most basic American rights to be able to express oneself without having to fear. Kaepernick wasn’t hurting anyone, he wasn’t calling a specific person out, he was simple doing what he believed was the right thing. When people say: “If Kaepernick doesn’t like this country, he can just leave” it is pretty sad. I believe the reason Kaepernick decided not to stand during the anthem was because he wanted to see a positive change in our great country. Instead of staying silent about an issue he felt was important, he spoke out. He also stated that if he lost his place in the NFL, he could feel at piece because he did what he thought was right.

All the Cool Kids are doing it: NCAA Drug Policies

The NCAA spends six million dollars annually on drug testing their student-athletes. Each school is usually test once a year and around the time of major championship games. While the NCAA does some of the drug testing, testing from within the institutions are far more common. The only problem with this? There are no particular regulations for these tests, and the punishment for a positive. While a kid from Florida may get kicked off his team for testing positive for a certain substance, another kid from Ohio may get a small slap on the wrist.

Another major issue with drug testing among NCAA athletes is that the coaches usually have a notice when the team is going to be tested. Many coaches will let their players know about future testing dates to allow for the athletes to flush their systems of drugs that may cause a positive test.

For common drugs like alcohol and marijuana, I do not think their should be harsh penalties.  If the NCAA finds a player testing positive for marijuana, they could suspend the player from their sport for six months. I think there are better ways to handle a positive test for common drugs. Possibly instilling programs for players who have repeatedly tested positive to these drugs would be the best way to resolve this issue. As far as PEDs, I think the policy is good because they should not be allowed in any form. Anything that can give a player an unfair advantage should be taken extremely serious as to not jeopardize NCAA athletics.

References:

http://www.ncaa.org/health-and-safety/policy/frequently-asked-questions-about-drug-testing

https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-ncaas-drug-problem-1426792929

Ridin’ the Bench and Gettin’ Gold

Participation trophies have become a very heated topic of conversation these days. Should kids be praised even if they may have not contributed to the team? On the other hand, should we create a dog-eat-dog mentality within our youth? I feel like there is a balance to be struck.

Those who argue for participation trophies say that it encourages young kids to join sports. Also, that it instills a sense of accomplishment that may benefit the children in the long term. I really don’t remember joining sports looking forward to a small trophy at the end. Maybe it was just my personality, but I just wanted to play hard and win the game, no trophy needed.

Those who would argue against participation trophies claim that it is damaging our youth in that it begins a sense of entitlement for awards even though they might not deserve them. Allegedly, this leads to a host of problems for our upcoming population.

I feel like there is a middle-ground on this issue. While we shouldn’t praise not playing or practicing hard, we can’t place all of the focus on winning and losing. While winning should always be the goal, coaches and parents need to focus more on the process rather than the outcome. Personally, it’s not all of the wins and losses that I remember most about my youth, it was just the love of the game, and getting the chance to play with my best friends. If all we focus on is creating winners and losers, certain skills will be left out. In today’s world, it often the person who works best with others and have problem solving skills who do well in jobs. These are skills that aren’t learned through winning games, they are skills that are developed by learning that great teamwork usually beats the more talented team.

References

Cook, B. (2016) ‘Only a few win’ Mentality more dangerous to kids than participation trophies. Forbes. Retrieved from: https://www.forbes.com/sites/bobcook/2016/10/09/only-a-few-win-mentality-more-dangerous-to-kids-than-participation-trophies/#f8c6b6128c19

Fader, J. (2014) Should we give our kids participation trophies? Psychology Today. Retrieved from: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-new-you/201409/should-we-give-our-kids-participation-trophies

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Let’s Get the Ball Rolling: Chadron State’s New Sport

If Chadron State College were to add a new sport, I strongly believe that lacrosse would be the best option. The NCAA stated that lacrosse has gained significant popularity, with a twenty-four percent increase in participation over the last two decades. I know, the first thing you think when someone mentions lacrosse is rich whites kids but lacrosse is also gaining a more diverse following. Most students at Chadron don’t really know how lacrosse is played so it would also bring an educational value as well.

I could see why some people would argue for more popular sports such as baseball and football, but lacrosse is a unique option. Also, if lacrosse was brought to Chadron, it would bring in students that would never have thought about coming to Chadron otherwise. Chadron, as a college, would benefit from bringing in a more diverse student body with this new sport addition.

Also, lacrosse is an easy to learn sport in which both men and women can play. With over twenty-five countries embracing this sport, lacrosse is definitely being embraced around the world. Along with this increasing popularity, the sport is just really fun to watch and play. I think that both students of the college and community members would love to learn about and watch this sport being played.

Reference

http://laxcamps.com/the-rapid-rise-of-lacrosse-in-the-united-states/

Roll the Dice: Should Fantasy Sports be Legal?

Fantasy sports are extremely common among sports fans across the world. It is a way to connect the average fan to their favorite sport. Is this immoral? Should this be illegal? I would argue no.

Daily fantasy games have been under much scrutiny of late. There is usually a small buy in to these fantasy games, and the user picks a group of players in attempt to outscore other users. This gives the average sports viewer incentive to pay attention to players that, otherwise, would be ignored. This is beneficial to both the viewer and the league.

Sports betting also has a “black market” where participants will bet on sports games illegally. By legalizing and encouraging the use of fantasy sports, this illegal ring of sports betters will be dissipated.

Those who argue against the use of betting on fantasy sports say that it is the same as gambling. I would actually tend to agree with those people. One can increase their odds by knowing match ups and studying players tendencies, but it is always a roll of the dice. Despite this, looking at this morally, I don’t have an issue with gambling. Both Fanduel and Draftkings places measures to assure their users do not ruin their lives by using their services.

To conclude, I truly believe that the benefits of fantasy games outweigh any negative aspects. It gives fans opportunity to become more involved in the sports they love, it gives a chance to win money, and legalizing betting on these games will discourage illegal activity.

References

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/daily-fantasy-sports-sites-bet-800g-legal-push-article-1.2741112
http://www.legalsportsreport.com/13045/nfl-sports-betting-revenue-and-ratings/

Early Departure: Should High School Athletes be Allowed to go Straight to the Pros?

To be considered in the NBA draft, a prospect must take a year between high school graduation and the draft. Also, the player must be at least 19 years of age. Not only is this unfair to the athletes that are ready to play in the NBA coming straight out of high school, it is unfair to college basketball programs who have to rebuild every year after their top players complete their first year of college.

The NBA changed their draft rule in 2006. Previously, athletes could go straight to the NBA out of high school. In total, there were 44 players who made the jump. Not all of these athletes were successful but that is the risk they were will to take. Many of these players budded into top stars by the likes of: Kobe Bryant, Lebron James, Kevin Garnet, and Dwight Howard.

The NFL draft rule is that players must have three years between their high school graduation and being draft eligible. While rare, I believe there are certain individuals who could have made the jump from high school to the NFL. Players like Leonard Fournette and Jadeveon Clowney come to mind.

Because athletes have to spend this time after high school playing their sport, there is always a chance that they will have a career ending injury. Jadeveon Clowney played with the idea of completely foregoing his Junior year of college to focusing on training for the next year’s draft.

By giving players the choice to forego college, you are getting the top players in the pro leagues right away. Also, you are improving the integrity of the college game as well. Also, pro teams have the top trainers who could improve the career longevity of players. Conclusion: it simply makes no sense to force players who are ready for the pros to attend college.