The Fallacy of the Athlete Role Model

I caught the highlights of a baseball game last night.  In the first inning the pitcher of Team A hit a batter on Team B. He hit him above the waist, a no-no in baseball.  Two innings later Team B’s pitcher responded by plunking a batter on Team A.  Before I could even consciously comprehend the situation one thing jumped to the forefront of my brain: The Wire. They got one of our guys, now it’s time to seek vengeance by retaliating. There’s a good lesson for kids.

In hockey fighting is sill commonplace.  Relatively unsupervised bare-knuckle fighting in which the surface fallen players potentially land on is ice-hard.  Sometimes the fights are a response to excess physical play. Sometimes they’re a ploy to help motivate the team and home crowd.  So there’s your lesson, kids. If somebody is bothering you, the way to resolve it in with violence. In fact, sometimes if you’re just feeling blue the solution is to beat the crap out of somebody.

In basketball star players bitch and whine after every call. Why? Because when you mess up in life there’s a 99% chance it’s because of somebody else and not your own failings.  If more kids were able to successfully glean this lesson they could stop trying to improve themselves and blame their problems on other people.

I actually don’t have major problems with any of these practices. (Maybe I like the socially sanctioned depravity of it all.) But I also don’t pretend to believe that kids should be looking to pro sports a guiding light for how lives their lives. I bring this up merely to point out  another example of how our upbringing and cultural biases blind us to an issue which probably should be given more attention.  Give credit to the marketing department of the major sports leagues. After all, the “NBA Cares (about getting your money).”


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