Sunday, June 17, 2012

Whatever happened to honor?

Look around. After the prep (high school) level, how much honor is left in sports these days? My observation is -- not much. The erosion of that once valued principle seems to begin in college and only grows far worse in the pros.

In basketball and hockey, players routinely take "dives" trying to draw a call from the refs for a foul that never happened. No honor.

Football players are notorious for using whatever dirty tactics they think they can get away with. No honor.

Even the once "civilized" sport of tennis has badly digressed over the years. It started with the men hollering, throwing temper tantrums and rackets on the court, and mixing in a few obscenities here and there over calls they didn't agree with. Now the women are doing it too. The honor is gone.

Baseball is a little different, but still the same in some ways. While it's tough to get away with "cheating" in baseball, players now routinely argue close plays with the umpire that made the call. Certainly the umps are fallible, and will blow one here and there, but for the most part they get them right. The point is -- other than managers -- players didn't used to go ballistic on the field over a call they didn't like. They do now. Managers have always been a breed unto themselves. For some unknown reason, it became woven into the thread of baseball that managers are expected to charge out on to the field, scream, spit, throw their caps, kick dirt, gesture wildly, and otherwise act like 12 year old filthy rich kids that somebody finally said no to. That's never been honorable. It's always been bratty kid stuff, but somehow we've come to not only accept it, but enjoy and applaud it. Shame on us.

Perhaps golf is the last bastion of honor and decorum in sports. The PGA has more rules than the IRS manual, but the players do their best to abide by them. No way can they cheat, nor would they even attempt to. Every move they make is closely scrutinized not only by the officials on the course, but also millions of people watching on TV. When a golfer inadvertently commits an infraction -- even though he/she might not have been aware of it at the time -- hundreds of emails and texts will pour in from the couch "stool pigeons" alerting the people in charge of what they might have missed. While golf is still an honorable game for the most part, from kids to pros, none other than the famed Tiger Woods may have started a downward spiral. Nobody used to throw clubs or curse on the course. It was a gentleman's game. Eldrick started all that. Ask yourself this --- given that Tiger has inspired a whole new generation of young golfers to take up the game -- doesn't it seem likely they will emulate such bad behavior as well? This is not a good omen for the future of golf. Further, will the ladies be far behind and also see their honor and decorum slip-slide away? I sure hope not, but they eventually probably will. We can thank Tiger for peeing in the pool in front of all the kids. He'll hop on his Lear and jet away to somewhere else, but now the local kids might think it's cool to do the same thing. It's not. And a little bit more honor is lost.

Other than pro wrestling, which was always a joke, pro boxing takes the cake when it comes to lack of honor. From seedy promoters, to incompetent judges, to maybe even the "fix" being in, boxing has been a very shady world for a very long time. The popularity of the sport has taken a nose-dive over the last couple decades. They need a few genuine heroes to rally around to possibly revive the sport.

There was a perfect opportunity missed just a few days ago that might have started just that.

Next time.


  1. John, do you hate Tiger so much that you ignore everything bad that happened before Woods showed up? You are certainly old enough to remember Tommy Bolt. Far worse than Tiger. Tom Weiskopf, Bobby Jones, even Ben Crenshaw. Why forget them? John Daly started pre-Tiger. A real head case. Only a few of many. It would seem that Tiger is upholding a tradition, not setting new low standards.

    1. Call me a nut, but I don't remember Bolt. I remember Crenshaw as a great putter, and Weiskopf being somewhat temperamental, but not disrepecting the game. Always got a big kick out of Daly, from clothes to on (and off) course antics, but he seemed harmless enough. Here's the thing -- unlike those guys, Tiger achieved epic hero status. Thousands, maybe even millions of young kids will emulate their idol/role model/hero. Next time you're on a golf course and you see the young-uns throwing clubs and cursing, it won't be because of the people you mentioned. Which begs the question.... You watched Bobby Jones? How old ARE you anyway? LOL Have a good one.

  2. You are right. The honor in sports is gone and its sad. Tiger is the worst. He could have been a good role model for children but ended up being a bad one in many ways. Shame on him.