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Rick Reilly raises ethical dillema in youth sports

Discussion in 'Anything goes' started by suburbia, Aug 9, 2006.

  1. JRoyal

    JRoyal Well-Known Member

    I'm the one who threw out the "win at all costs" comment, but I stand by it. You can play to win and still play honorably. This is stooping low. Is it cheating? No, it's not. But it's not much better in the moral sense. You're taking advantage of a kid who has been weakened by a disease that he didn't ask for. It's low, very low. You could pitch to the star and win. But to do this is wrong. Especially with kids this age. He had a golden opportunity to show them there's a better way, and he took the low road. It's a step away from beaning a kid next time (what some would call strategy), and only a few away from outright breaking of rules.

    Now, like I said, in a year or two, the kids will be at the point you instill in them to play to win. But hopefully you show them there's also being a human being, which should trump that.

    What about a few years back when the kid who had some condition (I forget) was put into a football game late and the other team let him score? The winning side could've said, "Hey, screw this; we want to send a message," and laid the kid out. Instead, the coaches said a touchdown isn't worth it, that it's better to show kids how important it is to be a good person and they OK'ed letting the kid score. And that was on a much more competitive level.

    But here you have two guys who decided a city title was more important than some little kid who has been through the wringer already. That's wrong.

    We're acting like the team would only have won if they got to the sick kid. Maybe they strike out the star. And wouldn't the win be that much sweeter, mean that much more, if that's how they got it?
  2. JRoyal

    JRoyal Well-Known Member

    Plus I can't believe the guys lied and said they didn't know the kid had cancer. Now, if the mom's lying there, then I'm wrong; but if she's not, the guys are slime.
  3. Chi City 81

    Chi City 81 Guest

    I've been busy most of the day, so I just read this.

    And it made me ill. Have fun in Hell, coach.
  4. JayFarrar

    JayFarrar Well-Known Member

    My three nephews, the ones old enough, all play baseball.
    5, 7 and 9.
    The 7 and 9 play in different leagues, but they both play with the same rules. 10-run limit per inning, and the starters get one turn in hitting rotation before a player who didn't start gets a chance to hit in the second or third inning. Most teams don't have 18 players so they rotate around so everyboy gets an equal amount of hits.
    Since the column didn't detail the rules. I'd imagine that the Utah league played with a similar set of rules. So it was probably the cancer kid's turn to hit. It wasn't a strategy or a coach making a mistake. Just the rules. I don't know about walks, but in either league if one coach walked a player to get to the sick kid, then that coach would get an ass-whipping after the game was over, if not before.
    It was a shitty thing to do. I liked the line on how it wasn't "like he was retarded." No coach, he has a tube in his head to drain off excess fluid and requires regular medication.
    Remember when the high school coach put in the kid with Down's so he could score a touchdown? What the little league coach did was the same as telling his players to tackle him at any cost before he scored.
    So I guess ya'll would agree with that. Better to make the cancer kid cry so he could learn a valuable lesson about sports, because sports are so fucking important. They are so valuable. Much more important than a child trying to experience life before he dies.
    Oh and if you are curious, the 5-year old is limited to 10 players to a team (four in the outfield) so everybody starts and everybody hits.
  5. pallister

    pallister Guest

    As said previously, this is right on.

    The only thing you teach this kid by "protecting" him from potential failure is that you don't believe he'll ever succeed.
  6. JRoyal

    JRoyal Well-Known Member

    He's a 9-year-old child with a tube sticking out of his head. This isn't your average kid. You're not saying, "You'll never succeed." You're saying, "We're not going to take advantage of a shitty situation you're in." Get some perspective.
  7. pallister

    pallister Guest

    After all the kid's been through and overcome, why deny him the chance to succeed? Things didn't work out the way he wanted, but he dealt with it and moved on; he's showing more perspective than the adults.
  8. JRoyal

    JRoyal Well-Known Member

    OK, it's not like the coaches on the other side were saying, "Hey, we can make this kid the hero," so don't sell the "deny him the chance to succeed" crap. They knew he'd fail, or at least likely would. They were setting him up to fail. If he had hit it out, then it would've been awesome. They would still be douches.

    And the kid is showing more perspective. Kids are resilient like that. But it was still wrong.
  9. JRoyal

    JRoyal Well-Known Member

    And part of me has to believe these guys knew what they were doing was a crap move since they lied about not knowing the kid had cancer.
  10. JayFarrar

    JayFarrar Well-Known Member

    I think the point isn't that the cancer kid was up to bat. I got no problem with the cancer kid striking out and balling his eyes out. If it was in the natural order of play.
    The problem is that the coach walked the player in front of him, to put the cancer kid at the plate, knowing that he would likely strike out.
    If that coach is into strategy that much, he probably charted the players to know tendencies. When he saw the kid on deck, he nudged the other coach and said "he's good for a strikeout. Let's walk the batter to get the other kid up."
    He also probably knew the kid had some sort of illness. A batting helmet in the outfield is a good clue,  and that's assuming he didn't remember a kid from his hometown meeting the President and being plastered all over the local news.
  11. JRoyal

    JRoyal Well-Known Member

    And, in the assistant coach's case, from coaching the kid's basketball team.
  12. pallister

    pallister Guest

    They knew he'd fail? I'm sure that's what they thought, as well as most of the people saying this shouldn't have happened. That's my point. The assumption is that the kid would fail, and he likely picks up on that. So keeping him from having the chance to succeed (regardless of the odds) is not fair to him. It likely makes him feel worse to know that others don't believe in him. Everyone deserves a shot, even if it's a long shot.

    And and I don't know about anyone else, but succeeding when others assumed I would fail are some of the proudest moments of my life. If success was easy, it wouldn't mean much.
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