Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Youth and School Based Sports

Media Scrutiny Can Magnify Misbehavior

Is poor sportsmanship worse than ever? Two authorities say no. It’s just more visible.“Athletes today cannot afford the same misconduct on (and off) the field as they once could,” wrote Nate Barnett, owner of Your Sport Guru, a sports information website. “That is why positive sportsmanship is so much more important in today’s technological society.”He cites three reasons:
1.Fifteen years ago, there were no cellphone cameras or YouTube. The capability to capture, upload, attach, and send video clips did not exist then. Today, someone is always is watching – and filming.
2.Sports such as baseball are more popular today, and college and pro teams are pickier about which players to select. Result: If any phenom with baggage does something dumb, hundreds of kids are poised to take his or her place.
3.Bad sportsmanship equates to mental immaturity. As kids progress, the sports they play get tougher and the pressures mount. The more mentally mature a player is, the better his or her chances to stand out and advance.
Hall of Fame quarterback and Heisman Trophy runner-up Don McPherson believes that increased media exposure has actually made college and pro athletes better behaved than in years past. “The athletes in my day would not be able to handle the media scrutiny,” he told the Oregonian. Where misconduct has gotten worse, he says, is among youths. “If we don’t proactively teach what we expect out of sports, then the message of the larger sports culture is going to teach them something more dangerous.”
[, 6/3/08;, 10/20/08]