Unfortunately, it’s been at the high school level, too, for quite a while. Across the board, the way some of these young athletes act today is absurd and quite startling, actually. They have no respect for themselves or the sports they play. Not even a hint of that would have been tolerated by some of my coaches.
And, when I coached, I didn’t — and wouldn’t — put up with it.
But, times have changed and definitely not for the better.
So, where is this all going and why do I sound like the people I scoffed at when I was younger? (Now, I look back and say, “Wow, they were right.”)
Well, this decline in sporting behavior reached its boiling point with me last week and resulted in my first-career ejection — from any sporting event.
Not only has it spoiled pro, college and amateur sports, but this chest-pounding attitude really infiltrated recreational sports, too.
I play in several recreational sports leagues and probably the worst one I have ever encountered is a co-ed soccer league in suburban Pittsburgh. Yeah, that’s right — guys and gals. And, let me tell you, there are plenty of “me-firsters” among all races and genders.
It was especially bad last week and I snapped on one play early in a game.
Following a play in which I, as the goalkeeper, punched a loose ball out of the air and away from a group of players, an opposing female forward collided with me and fell to the ground. In the process, she screamed “He punched me in the head.”
That was pretty much impossible because she was quite a few inches shorter and the ball was high in the air when, with my arm already extended, I jumped to meet it.