Saturday, June 11, 2011

Something For Nothing

I received a suggestion (thank you Brad) that I should write this weekend about the continuing controversy surrounding Ohio State; and while this did get me thinking, the problem is that I don't normally write anything about sports. Let me say this however. As their situation currently stands, Ohio State is a college football program in shambles; their coach tainted forever for running a dirty program, their players disgraced by callous rule-breaking, and their one-time quarterback playing the role of a clown by assuming the mantle of diva before he even enters the professional ranks. Having said this much about the Buckeyes shameful behavior, I have probably said all that needs to be said about their dishonor, and perhaps more than they deserve. 

It's not like they are the only program recently besmirched by the actions of players and coach, as USC too has found itself at the center of controversy. And while its coach somehow seemed to escape to the professional ranks with little stigma attached; the behavior of Reggie Bush has caused the school to send back its Heisman trophy reproduction and forfeit a national championship. But these two programs are emblematic of a system rife with all of the worst in society today; and its message in general is perhaps more telling about many of those in society. 

For aren't the members of these teams simply another elite group assuming that the rules don't apply to them. On this one you can take your pick: high priced coaches, pampered egomaniac athletes , or the universities themselves who turn a blind eye to what they know is going on as long as the money keeps pouring in. It's actually almost amusing to watch those of the hallowed halls of the educational system (you know, the ones that look down their noses at the whole concept of college athletics) shaking their finger in righteous wrath at politicians and corporations while their employer is bellying up to the same money trough and begging for scraps to be thrown their way. 

Coaches meanwhile make "Weiner-like" pronouncements of innocence about what everyone understands has been going on for years, saying that they simply didn't know. The fact that their lack of knowledge can be directly attributed to hiring a staff the size of Genghis Khan's army, so that they can hide the fact that there's a 'dirty tricks detail' included in it should be overlooked. 

Speaking of overlooking, let's be clear that this mob of malefactors has only one job; seeing that rules violations of their programs are treated like a litter box (kept out of the way, minimizing the stench, and quickly covering anything remains visible to inspection). As for the athletes themselves, I would love to heap blame upon what in most cases are little more than a bunch of self-serving prima donnas with the moral education of a three year-old (no insult intended to 3 year-olds). It's pointless to go to such effort however, when they are indifferent to the opinions of anyone but themselves (and their sycophantic 'crews' of course)

Protected from their earliest days of promise in life from everything but self-gratification, we should expect little more acceptance of following rules than what we get from this self-styled and pampered nobility. Held to a different standard from the first appearance of talent or ability, they are molded into the perfect physical forms and twisted souls that they have become. They have been told always that their ability on a football field or basketball court excuses them from following the rules of lesser humans. 

Those rules are twisted into shapes more complicated than that of DNA to accommodate their advance in school, attendance at practices, camps, and tournaments, and achievement of personal fame. And when one day they are old enough, those in higher education court them as assiduously as any maiden, and on bended knee offer them years of future bliss if only they will consent to a joining (no honeymoon jokes, please)

It's little surprise then, that they treat that in which they have no investment with less than disdain, casting it aside at the first opportunity for the chance of the next deal, the better gig, and the bigger prize. Little surprise too, that the awards that they receive during what's supposed to be their 4-year marriage are of no emotional value to them except that which they have monetarily. Having nothing of themselves invested in the shiny trinkets presented to them as they seek a greater prize, they sell them off with little thought, less regard, and no regret. 

I would say "Shame on them" for treating money earned through the hard work of others with such disdain; but what can one expect of those raised in a system with no moral compass except 'winning' and no definition of right and wrong except 'don't get caught'. Shame on us instead for creating such a system, and for not demanding payment in respect at least for the gift that these young people are given. Shame on us for putting these people on a pedestal and using them as role models. But shame on us especially for forever damaging their lives teaching them little but contempt for the rules of society, and giving them "Something for Nothing".

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