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Keep it sporting

February 12, 2011 - Brad Siddons
How do you define “sports” ? Here's how the dictionary does it: an activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or team competes against another or others for entertainment. OK, that's pretty simple. I can tell you, however, that for most people it's a lot more complicated.

First, let me set the stage by admitting that I've had only a passing relationship with sports in the last 60 years. I'm a lifelong hunter, someone who used to enjoy a good auto race, and in more recent years I've spent a fair amount of time in high school gyms watching our local youth compete. In other words, for me it is fairly simple. I've always enjoyed amateur sporting endeavors, competition simply for the thrill of victory and a match (race, game, hunt, tournament, etc.) well played. Most of the pro stuff leaves me cold.

Part of what bothers me about pro sports — and it's getting worse — are the absurd displays put on for the camera after a score, or a kill, or a victory.

Sure, it's fine to be happy about winning. No one expects you to hang your head in shame. But what started perhaps a decade ago with spiked footballs and chest bumps has progressed (regressed?) into after-score back flips and dance routines, turf-tearing post-race doughnuts and hunters high-fivin' hollerin' and hamming it up while the deer breathes its last.

None of this is good, as far as I am concerned. But I'm not here to suggest that anything should change at the professional level. I'm a realist, and all of the showboating is, of course, being done for the TV camera and therefore will continue as long as that medium endures.

What I hate to see is over-the-top celebrating trickling down to the amateur level. It doesn't happen often, and I believe in most cases coaches will prohibit it. If they don't, they should. Especially in our high schools, where sportsmanship is and should remain the absolute top priority, there simply is no place for the back flip, moon walk or smoky burnout.

That's a few words from someone who is far from an expert on the subject of sports. I'm sure there are plenty of opposing viewpoints out there. Just don't try any fist bumps through the computer screen.


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