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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