Competition often goes hand in hand with anger. I have experienced the rage of people in pick up games or all types when they simply lose it. Often this is because trying to prove they used to have some talent at some time and cannot admit that even if they did at one point, they don’t have it now. Their old, flabby never exercised body just can’t perform like their brain thinks it can. Speaking in the arena where I have the most experience, basketball, this is such a common occurrence that I guarantee if you bring up the subject among a group of guys that do or have played, there will be an endless stream of stories.
Let me paint the picture. Mr “I think I’m a basketball star” tries to impress everyone on the court with his aerial acrobatics flying haphazardly through a crowd of people towards the basket. When he misses, which is far more frequent than he makes, he shouts out foul to cover his complete lack of control and ability. Everyone on the opposing team looks at each other wondering who could have touched this loudmouth, and then of course knowing that they did not, start shooting off derogatory (yet fitting) comments about said court maniac. His response is to get in the face of anyone opposing him in an obvious attempt to establish dominance as any bully does, even when they know they are wrong. Tempers flare, at times shoving and even fists fly. This seems to happen almost as often as the injuries that old guys like me get when trying to play at levels no longer sustainable.
There are perhaps many reasons why this happens with the old guys, but you see it as well in the younger crowds. Egos ride as high as most can jump, and perhaps higher. Whatever happened to showing a little class on the field/court/whatever? Sportsmanship – that’s for wimps, at least that seems to be the message most people are getting from professional sports. This is what I think is the root of the problem. Case in point, the recent Nuggets/Knicks brawl near the end of the game. What a bunch of thugs these players showed themselves to be. I could really care less what these overpaid egos are capable of doing on the court, but for some reason, our youth hold them up as role models, so whatever they do gets viewed as the “thing” to do on the local hardtop as well. I loathe these players that have such terrible persona’s, both on and off the court. Kids look up to them no matter what we do, and they emulate everything they do.
I could create a long list of players, almost all of them quite popular to many people, that I just can’t stand to watch. I will often turn off a game if that player is featured. I’ll skip the list though, you know who they are, and I would hate to leave one out. There are a lot of things wrong with modern professional sports, but this is one that I just can’t stand. I think most people are getting tired of it too as commentators, league officials and most sports sites are decrying the actions when they happen. It makes news though, so secretly I think the media side of it can’t get enough.
I’ve had enough though. I’ll still watch an occasional pro football game, but I have all but given up watching pro basketball. I stick primarily to college games. They aren’t missing my dollars because I have rarely actually gone to a game – usually, I just catch what’s on TV. I’m just tired of it and would rather turn off the boob tube that catches a game full of these types. Maybe it’s a good thing (shudder) that I have a bum knee and can’t play basketball anymore; maybe I would just be one of these over competitive guys that make life miserable. Actually, I know better, I’m a good sport when I play. Competitive, but I grew out of my tantrum stage back as a kid. Apparently, that stage lasts much longer for the good athletes, so I just don’t know.