Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Hey, Sport, Athletes, Fans Need Some Fun

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Hey, Sport, Athletes, Fans Need Some Fun

Article excerpt

I've never understood New Year's resolutions. If someone wants to stop smoking or to start eating healthier, it's going to take more than firm resolve on Jan. 1.

But it's probably a good idea to reassess. And goodness knows, our world of sports could use some reassessing.

Sport has grown fatter, lazier, far too full of itself. Certainly, Sport gives us respite from the hum-drum and gloomy, and we treasure Sport for that. But Sport has turned hum-drum and gloomy itself. Too often, it's not an escape. It's just a whole new set of problems and tribulation.

From top to bottom, too much of the fun has faded into dollar signs, loudmouths and gimme-gimmies.

Sport can look in the mirror and, with help and support from all of us, make wonderful changes this coming year. In a perfect 1996 . . .

Some baseball card company would sell packs of 10 cards for a quarter. And stick a slab of bubble gum inside.

All select and club teams for soccer, volleyball, basketball, baseball, softball, wrestling and track and field would leave kids alone until at least the seventh grade.

Grown-ups have taken the play out of sports. Kids won't play many other outdoor games unless we provide a uniform, equipment, umpires and stands filled with boastful parents. Prediction: As soon as select roller hockey teams take off, you won't see kids playing pickup on parking lots. Why does any third-grader have to play a sport year-round, with traveling to regional tournaments and practicing twice a week?

Does it make him get better grades in math? Does it let her enjoy playing with dolls more? Will it increase his faith in God or give her memories of a carefree childhood?

Kristin Folkl didn't play club volleyball until she was 14. Jackie Joyner did her long-jumping off a porch when she was little. If you're special, you're special. The rest of us ought to just have a good time.

No college football player would beat up a girlfriend, no baseball star would enter drug rehab, no owner would move his team from a profitable city to a more profitable one, no college basketball program would cheat just to have a few years of service from a teen-ager. …

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