There was an incident in the baseball game between the Atlanta Braves and my beloved St. Louis Cardinals last night that got me thinking. A player for the Braves, Justin Upton, was ejected, supposedly for arguing. Upton says he was merely mad at himself for grounding out and cursed.
This sort of incident happened earlier in the season to Yadier Molina when he was called out on a close play at first base and slammed his helmet into the ground. He was frustrated that he didn’t run harder out of the batter’s box, he is a catcher and nursing sore knees, but the umpire saw it differently and ejected Molina.
When I sat down to write this blog post I was going to call out overly sensitive officials for ejecting players and altering the course of the game unnecessarily. The more I thought about it, the more I thought about the rules I played under as a young boy. I began to realize there is a better solution. Stop throwing your equipment, cursing, and being disrespectful in general.
When I played sports as a kid, if you abused a piece of equipment the coach would put you on the bench. If you said anything argumentative to an official you’d be ejected from the game. Those days are sadly over.
I’m not saying that official don’t make mistakes and I’m certainly on record saying that I think some outright cheat. I’m not saying that those who make mistakes, those who cheat, those who lie, shouldn’t be called out. I’m just saying let’s try to do it with some decency.
I am saying it would be great if players acted like gentlemen and ladies. This screaming and yelling at every perceived slight, this flopping to gain an advantage, this boorish behavior is something that pervades sports, media, comment sections, essentially society itself.
This rudeness is everywhere, not just sports, and certainly characterizes political debate. Everyone thinks its okay to call someone they don’t like an “idiot!” A “moron!” A “Repukelican!” A “Libtard!” This lack of decency, of simple manners, hurts cooperation, hurts society, hurts our (yes, our) nation.
We have become a rude, nasty lot. We will say horrible things about other people and words hurt. When our actions show a complete disregard for civility, for kindness, for tolerance, then we simply encourage the worst sort of people to take things even further. When the best of us, the role-models, cannot restrain ourselves the worst are emboldened.
Back to the topic at hand, a ballplayer thrown out for cursing at himself. It wouldn’t have happened if all baseball players were ejected at the first curse word, at the first disrespectful action towards an umpire. I’m not just haranguing ball players here. Fire the umpire that shows disrespect to a player.
I don’t think what I’m suggesting will happen because of money. If John McEnroe yells something at an umpire during the finals of Wimbledon and the match is declared over that will cost people a lot of money. If Tiger Woods curses after a bad shot and is escorted from the course that will cost sponsors a lot of money.
That being said, if there are strictly enforced rules, the athletes and officials will eventually learn to follow them. It might be a little painful at the start but I think we’d all be better off.
And before you like this post and tell me how right I am, examine your own life, your own actions. You’re a role-model for someone out there. Act like it.
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