Don#039;t kick someone when they are down

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 25, 2001

I may not ever be the best I can be, but I can tell you, I had good raisin', and part of that came from the values my parents instilled in me as a child.

Of course, there was the one on the Golden Rule', which simply said not to treat anyone else in a way you would not want to be treated.

Then there was the one on criticismnDon't criticize someone until you have walked a mile in his shoes.

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These are deeply rooted in my psyche, and although they get pushed to the wayside occasionally, I always seem to hear them come back into recall with the same resonance they held for me as a youngster.

I also (as if no one has noticed by now) have little tolerance for professional athletics, except for the occasional professional wrestling show.

My thoughts are clear-when someone makes as much money as those folks do, they ought to be perfect. But while that is expected of them for the money they get paid, It should not be the same way for kids.

No matter if it is high school or college sports, these are someone's children, with feelings, and hopefully, good values.

Fact is, they have to be on the up-and-up, or they cannot stay in the extracurricular programs.

And who do you suppose teaches them those values, other than their parents?

It is their teachers and coaches-the folks they see during more of their conscious day than any other.

Which brings me to the way I regard high school sports.

Students get extra training in good sportsmanship, healthy activity that promotes healthy living, and along the way, good moral values as well.

And when they win, they are everyone's heroes, but guess what: if they lose, they should still be the same revered icons of our younger set of society.

We are talking about kids, not adults getting paid for their efforts.

And so what if they win one game all season? Do we teach them then that they are sub-standard?

No, I dare say, we teach them of how proud we are for the effort they have put forth, and the lessons they have picked up along the way.

Which brings me to another concern. If we as a society have placed so much emphasis on monetary income from school-based sporting events that we judge our coaches according to the bottom-line at the gate, what lesson, my friends, are we teaching our students now?

We are teaching them that a dollar amount is the most important thing, and I say that is wrong!

I guess the main thing I am trying to say is that if a team has a less-than-winning' season, and gate receipts are down (as they naturally will be, because apparently we only like to go look at winning teams) we should not punish the students that have worked so hard.

And punish we do when we take away the people they look up to-the coaches, directors, sponsors, and all those we have entrusted to teach our students good moral values'.

So what if a team has a bad season-they still were able to walk off the field with their heads held high, knowing they were part of a team that worked in a unified effort, and along the way, stayed away from trouble that afflicts so many due to peer pressure.

Show the student athletes and their coaches how much you appreciate their efforts, and make sure you thank them for all they do.

Until next week, I will see you all at the ballparks, and I'll be way out in Deep Left Field.