Are Sports Teams The New Catholic Church?

The more I read about Penn State’s Jerry Sandusky and now Syracuse’s Assistant Men’s Basketball coach, Bernie Fine being fired for alleged sexual misconduct with boys the more I have to wonder, are sports teams the new Catholic church? – Don’t Get Me Started!

We all know that in high schools where the arts struggle to be funded properly, sports teams always have money for new uniforms and all the most modern technology because sports makes schools money (supposedly) and makes them a “name” when their best and brightest athletes get scholarships to go to colleges based on their athletic prowess. And so it just gets bigger and more expensive once you get to the world of college athletics. And when so much money is going to sports and so many sports figures become idols based solely on their achievements on the field or court and their million dollar salaries no wonder no one wants to question anything inappropriate that might be going on. Must keep the machine running, must keep turning out student athletes to become professional athletes no matter what the physical and emotional cost. (And let me say, that while many laugh at shows like Toddlers and Tiaras and say that these people are committing child abuse, go to any soccer field any day of the week and watch those parents and the kids they’re pushing and tell me it’s all that different – again, you won’t see THAT show on television because sports are revered and most of the time untouchable until a kid drops dead on a field being pushed too hard by a coach or it finally comes out that a coach has been pushing kids’ pants down.)

I admit it, I was always chosen last for every team sport in Physical Education class growing up. I also was smart enough to cut a deal with my “coach” in 7th grade to allow me to work for the music teacher during the hour I was supposed to be in PE for the year. I agreed to stay away from the coach and he agreed to give me an “A” for the year. Everybody won. But be assured that this is not some sour grapes sissy mad at sports in schools. After all, I would later become the mascot (complete with papier-mache head) when I was in high school at football games!

I don’t have anything against sports, I don’t have anything against the Catholic Church or anyone else until their power becomes so great that they are allowed to destroy lives in the name of “something greater” going for years unpunished for their deeds against children and adults because there’s enough hush money or they’re making so much money that right and wrong get tossed aside for cash. Idolatry is just a bad idea in general (in my opinion). Once you place someone so high, proclaiming them to be perfect, there’s no way you’re not going to be disappointed by them at some point. We’re all only human for Chrissakes no matter how well we throw a ball (or parade on a stage in “resort wear.”)

I get that people say there should be less regulations on things in a country that touts itself as being the “Land of the Free” but let’s face it our record for “policing” ourselves in most industries isn’t all that hot. (Although when Congress can make a regulation that pizza is a vegetable when kids are more obese than ever because the lobbyists greased the pockets of politicians and don’t care about the grease our kids ingest, I guess one could argue that when government does set regulations we don’t do such a good job of that either.)

When you look at the recent (I refuse to call it a scandal) illumination on the activities of certain sports coaches alleged inappropriate activities and the others who have made sure it stayed out of the public eye, you can’t help but think of all the adults who have come out as survivors of abuse at the hands of priests in the Catholic Church. Many of whom were paid off or simply dismissed as the priest was sent to a different church to prey on additional children. Can you? I know I can’t. I think this is where us “realists” have it all over the “idealists.” It’s all well and good to think that the Wizard of Oz’s floating head and flames are happening by magic and while I enjoy looking at it as much as the next person, it’s time we started teaching our kids that there’s a man behind that curtain (and a lot of pyrotechnics). A man (or woman as the case may be) not a superhero, not a perfect person, not an idol, just a human being with both fabulous and flaws in them who can’t be perfect because that’s impossible and it’s okay to look up to and want to emulate them but never forget they’re human. I think it’s time to bring back Nancy Regan’s “Just say NO” campaign, this time about abuse of not only drugs but powerful people who will try to convince us something is right when we all know it’s so wrong. (I think I finally understand what the Occupy Wall Street people are talking about!)

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Comments 7 comments

livelonger profile image

livelonger 5 years ago from San Francisco

I've read that any organization where only men dominate tends to fall prey to this sort of thing. I have to say that the trend seems to point in that direction...


somelikeitscott profile image

somelikeitscott 5 years ago from Las Vegas Author

livelonger - I agree with you (of course) but what about all of the women teachers that sleep with their male students? It's still abuse, right? I wonder why we all find that more "acceptable" or "good for you boys" than when its same sex abuse? Things that make you go, "hmmmm"


livelonger profile image

livelonger 5 years ago from San Francisco

True, but in those cases, I don't think there's much of a coverup. Those women were keeping their secret from everyone, and when someone found out, they were exposed.

With Penn State and the Catholic church, there was basically a conspiratorial coverup to protect those who were abusing, and to protect "their good name."


d.william profile image

d.william 5 years ago from Somewhere in the south

Well written rant. And not one lie spoken, which shows you are NOT running for the GOP presidential candidacy. LOL.


lisadpreston profile image

lisadpreston 5 years ago from Columbus, Ohio

Only you can take a terribly serious subject and make me laugh about it. Normally, it is my coffee spewing out of my mouth all over the keyboard from laughter. Tonight it was my milk and honey bun.

I had made the correlation in my head too about the sport teams being the new Catholic church. What is it with men wanting to rape boys? or molest them? or whatever one wants to call it. And yes, why would a teacher want to sleep with a young boy? What about the one nut case teacher that kept getting pregnant by the student and ended up marrying him? I wonder if that marriage lasted? I think i'll check up on that. At any rate, it's all pretty sick.

Nice deal you made with your 7th grade coach. You are brilliant. I must say, I flunked gym class 2 years in a row during high school. I refused to participate. I Should have had your brilliance and made a deal.


somelikeitscott profile image

somelikeitscott 5 years ago from Las Vegas Author

livelonger - Best term I've heard yet, "conspiratorial coverup" love it!

d.william - thanks

lisadpreston - My goal is to make as many people spew liquid as humanly possible (wait, not sure that sounds too good).

As always, thanks for reading and writing in. And don't feel badly, the idea about PE was really the coach's idea. He hated me as much as I hated his class, I'm sure.

Another story about that year and PE. For some reason I decided to attend "field day" which was the event where the whole school competed in athletic events. You had to pick at least one and I picked the 50 yard dash. I won heat after heat, eventually taking the whole thing (much to the coach's and my surprise). And even though the jocks decided at the last minute to bounce someone from the relay race and put me in, my moment of glory faded quickly. I was the "starter" and came out of the blocks and immediately fell on my face, costing our grade the race. Ah, fame and glory...so fleeting! ;)


lisadpreston profile image

lisadpreston 5 years ago from Columbus, Ohio

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! You are too much. Loved the story of your faded glory! The visuals, oh, the visuals!

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