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More Than Dabbing

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A touch football game in the back yard. Photo: http://abfoxden.blogspot.com/

Several years ago, one of my students asked me if I’d be interested in attending one of his athletic events. I said, sure, “what do you play?” and he somewhat coyly answered, “Well – you kinda have to be careful – the last time we went to a fight, a hockey game broke out.”

We shared a chuckle, then the hockey player/student-athlete explained to me that I really had nothing to worry about – the league had a “no fighting” rule. Over the next five years I went to a ton of those games, probably 30-40 total, and I can verify – that there was no fighting. Like, never. EVER. That was the rule – “no fighting.” And so – they didn’t fight.

Apparently the repercussions for fighting were more than those young sparks would dare to handle. Or – they just loved playing hockey so much that they didn’t want to miss a single second of a chance to play. So, in all those years, guess what – it was as if all those hockey games were – peaceful. Reminds me of…

Back in the day, I did not grow up around hockey. In fact, I think I’ve only ever been on ice skates, like, twice – ever. When we were kids, our parents said, “go on out and play. And be back in time for dinner!” And so we did – we played. And played, and played. In the yard. In the neighbor kid’s yard. In the trees. In the street. In the creek (pronounced “crick”). Play, play, play. We did not have shadowy helicopter-like-people/apparatus hovering over us – watching our every move, or dabbing our every “owie.”

Of course, “dabbing” means something totally else now. Kids these days, they’ve gained soooo much, yeah!? From not having to do anything on their own, right? They’re so protected. They’re  so safe. Is it that parents are now just so “protective!?!” Or is it that the kids of today are so advanced – like technology has just taken their intellect to a whole new level? Is that it? Can we be sure…? Or, is it that parents want to re-live those glory days when we just played, and live vicariously through their kids for that. And so – the kids must be preserved!?! Is it really all about – the parents?

Surely not something that crazy, eh?

Stay with me folks…

Back in the day – gotta love back in the day, yeah? Oh, yeah – now there’s a popular phrase. It’s almost like all one word, right? Back-in-the-day. And, it could mean almost anything, time-wise. Right? It’s just a vague reference to some former time that was perhaps more glorious then the present, right? – Or, perhaps not. Perhaps it is so much more, yeah? A cousin-phrase is “they just don’t make them like they used to.”

Up and coming generations scoff at these and other similar generational mantras. To wit – some young sparks even speak of those same vague time periods as “olden days.”

With all that in mind, no matter where you are in the generational ladder of things, we would all do well to consider the news from this past weekend…wait for it…

Two rival and undefeated Ohio high school boys basketball teams played until one of them lost.

Makes sense…

Almost like we used to do back-in-the-day…

Seems normal.

It’s what we do.

Almost feels like a commercial.

Or does it?

Now…for more of the story…

Parents – get this – The parents. The role models, yeah? Perhaps even the leading role models for those athletes, and their friends. These parents of students – got into a fight. From behind the scorer’s table, a full-fledged melee appeared!! Not just any fight – A BRAWL – So, parents on parents – then that became parents, and other parents, and students – all of them – in a brawl. A brawl! A brawl!?! Brawl? Really!?!

Yup.

Sounds like swinging limbs, yes? Any injuries? Well…

Only minor injuries {Which, by the way, is code for “thankfully no one was hospitalized.”}

Good thing we’re preserving our kids, uh huh.

Well, now – please forgive me sarcasm. Admittedly, preserving the kids is better than – not preserving the kids?

So they went to a fight, and a basketball game broke out!?! Parents leading the charge, and… [are you reading this in your most incredulous voice?]…do we know what they were doing?

Yes, we do, as evidenced by the statement from the principal and athletic director from one of the schools, who asked, “…for support in providing positive role modeling for our student athletes” and then they went on to spell out their expectations for the fans, which we can say pretty much for sure was a description of what happened (according to the real-time video taken of the scene) – so here’s what the mindful administrators said – “Profanity, degrading remarks, and intimidating actions directed at officials, competitors, and other fans will not be tolerated and are grounds for – removal from the event site.”

Yeah that’s tough – y’know. Think about it. Having the punishment fit the crime. Hmmm.

Wait – so this is for the student-athletes only? Never mind the student-fans?

No, but – isn’t this whole bit a truly sad commentary on…?

On what?

On parenting back-in-the-day? Nah.

On parenting now? Hmmm. Nah.

And is it really true, they went to a fight, and a basketball game broke out?

Well, not exactly. Almost. But not really. But almost. The basketball game was already over – and then the fight broke out.

It is possible that no one is scoffing now?

So what’s the real issue? Is it cheering for your kids? No.

Is it about not being a bad parent? Actually – no. And, yes.

Well, what!?!

It’s simple, really. It’s about – control.

Yup. Control.

As in, please control yourselves.

So more precisely, it’s about self-control?

Well, alright then – yes,

Learn some – then exercise some – self-control.

Is that not what our parents tried to do, and to teach us to do – back-in-the-day?

And yes, those are the lessons that we need to pass on to the next generation, right?

The applications thereof, especially for young high school aged students, are numerous and far-reaching, yes?

Yes.

Yes!!

Source: http://www.mansfieldnewsjournal.com/story/news/local/2016/12/30/video-fight-breaks-out-after-lexington-wooster-game/96024490/

By Dr. Rodney J. Blackman

Dr. Rodney J. Blackman is the Chair of Recreation Management at the United States Sports Academy, and can be reached at rblackman@ussa.edu.

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