by Travis Normand
I am a member of several mailing lists that focus on college football. The other day I received the following write-up from one of those lists. I thought the opinion expressed was interesting and have decided to reprint it here. For what it is worth, enjoy.
Football & Values
By: Tony DeMeo
The purpose of education is to pass on values…” Aristotle.
I am from the school of thought that was dedicated to the same idea as Aristotle. Being a football coach, I assumed that football (other than Pro Football) was part of a young man’s education and therefore should be used to pass on values. I reasoned that football was one of the greatest vehicles we had to pass on values. And recently with the collapse of public education, the lack of civility in the entertainment industry, and the scandals involving professional athletes, politicians etc. – I thought football was one of the last vehicles still standing.
However, the media has a way of infecting, affecting and exploiting everything. I could write volumes on the negative influence ESPN has had on the world of sport and in particular college football. I don’t think there are bad people on ESPN but there is not enough legitimate sports news to fill up 24 hours, so stories must be manufactured. The Manti T’eo case was a classic example. A prank made into a two week new event.
February 6th was National Signing Day. This is the day many young men make their decision on where they will be attending college. This should be a very proud time for the student athlete and his parents. Instead it has become a media circus. Guys are paraded on stage with multiple hats of the schools that are recruiting him; he then tries to decide which of these college brims will remain on his head. The tension, the excitement, the electricity is in the air… and now a word from our sponsors – and now we’re back to the cap selection. Are you kidding me?
Then every know it all & fake expert rates each college’s recruiting class. As though they know what kind of player that school was looking for. Then they knock the coach for the school they said had a bad recruiting class and place that coach on the hot seat.
But lost in all this nonsense is the effect it has on an 18 year olds value system. And then we ponder why so many young people have a false sense of entitlement. What about the value of commitment? What about the value of keeping your word? Are these lost forever? It used to be back in the days when the only pod anyone knew was a peapod, that once a player made a commitment to a school it was like signing a letter of intent. The term “soft verbal” never existed. You either committed or you didn’t. And once that player committed to a school, other schools stopped recruiting him. The process was complete – over. There was no “hat show” keeping your word was important.
When you see the numbers of single parent families, the number of abortions, (54,000,000) since 1973 and the number of divorces in our country it’s no wonder why we are struggling. The reason is the breakdown of the family which is the very foundation of our society. Commitment is the glue that keeps a family together. Coaches are we helping teach commitment? Are we passing on values?
Football should be a part of a young man’s education not a part from it. It’s time to take stock of the values that we are passing on. We can’t change the world but we can be a positive example of the values that are the very core of this country.