In this day and age of professional sports it is more important for the athletes to be able to express themselves and make everything about them. They are supposed to be professional athletes and should act as such. For the life of me, I don’t understand why they want to make themselves bigger than the game. If it’s not Cam Newton doing his gesture of “dabbing” after scoring a touchdown, Bryce Harper thinking it should be alright for a hitter or pitcher to show up their opponent, or Steph Curry gyrating himself after making a 3-point shot to win the game.
Having been a player and a coach for some 45 years it has always been instilled by my COACHES not to show up the opposing team or its individual members. Coaches should to take a more active role on this issue and do some educating of their players. Coaches were always the first ones to make sure our team acted and carried themselves accordingly. You never saw the players of yesteryear try to show up their opponents. They were the consummate professionals. They went about their business as professionals are supposed to. If they weren’t professional and showed another player up they expected to be retaliated against. They competed as hard as the players of today, but they carried themselves with much more class and appreciation for the game.
Players should show some excitement for doing well, but not at the expense of the players they are competing against. There’s nothing wrong with a fist pump here or there, but to kiss your bicep, flip your bat after catching all of one, or gyrating around because you made a game winning basket to end the game is egotistical and unprofessional. After all, those are the things they are being paid to do. If they can’t handle being a professional and understanding their job, maybe a coach should send them a message and educate them on the correct way to be a professional athlete. Instead we have players that try to correct this type of behavior by teaching and they are chastised by everyone and eventually end up apologizing to the player that was the one in the wrong. Professional athletes need to get a grip and understand they are not bigger than the games they play. They are playing for the team name on the front of their jersey not the one on their back.
Dr. Bret Simmermacher, DSM, is the Chair of Sports Coaching at the USSA, and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
17 March 2016