Sportsmanship: A Dead and Dying Institution

I started playing sports when I was six years old, football in the fall and baseball in the spring till junior high when track took over for baseball.  The one constant that I took from all the different coaches throughout the many games and practices was that no matter how bad you are losing or how much you are winning by you treat your opponent with respect. Basically you treat him like you would want to be treated.

Such is the basis behind sportsmanship, a concept that is quickly becoming foreign to professional sports.

Take Bud Adams, owner of the Tennessee Titans; the 86 year old legend in professional football helped create the industry and sport that we all know and love today. The man deserves the respect of football fans around the world for that alone. Sunday he decides to tell all the Buffalo fans that he thinks they are ‘number 1′- if you catch my meaning.

Terrell Owens has made a career out of bad mouthing his teammates and it looks as if former teammate Roy Williams may be following suit. It is a shame that Larry Johnson got resigned so quickly after his deplorable behavior.

There is reason to believe that some in the NFL hierarchy must be concerned about this issue as well.  Bud Adams got hit with a quarter million dollar fine for his actions. Chad Johnson (I refuse to call him Ocho Cinco) was fined $20,000 for something that was obviously just a gag (bribing an official during a replay challenge.  While the fact that it was a gag is obvious, the NFL does not want any sense of impropriety being misconstrued.

josh cribbsYou here about these stories through various media outlets and it becomes a little disheartening.  Athletes use to be figures that could be looked up to an admired.  Now they are more or less examples of disrespect for society, decency, and in many cases the rule of law. There are, however, a few shining examples you do not hear enough about.

After winning the 27th World Series in team history, New York Yankee manager Joe Girardi stopped to help out a stranded motorist on his way home. Josh Cribbs of the Cleveland Browns travelled to a local Ohio high school to accompany the son of his former college coach on Senior Night. The boy’s father had passed away recently to lymphoma.

As long as guys like these are still around then maybe there is still hope.  If only the media would give them the attention that the TO’s and Larry Johnson’s of the world got.

Perhaps these guys have had a few too many K-9 Cruiser Winter Ales from the Flying Dog Brewery.  After all, this dark beer has a deliciously malty taste with just the right amount of sweetness to bring you back for more.  At 6.4%ABV this brew will definitely warm you up during those cold winter months (which is the only time it is made), but too many and you might find yourself acting like a Larry Johnson or a Bud Adams.

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