Fantasies of Football

So I’m going to talk about Football for a bit.  Not soccer football, American Football.  Gridiron if you will. 

Not just because I came first in the regular season in my Fantasy Football league and took an all-important bye into the first round of the playoffs. 

And I definitely didn’t bring that up because I know that one of my Fantasy Football league-mates is a regular reader of my blog.  You know who you are…

Anyways, I want to talk about Kareem Hunt and why he, and so many others that have come before him (and will probably follow) bothers me as a father of a young boy.  Kareem exploded onto the NFL scene last year as a relatively unknown running back in the wake of a team-mates injury.  I know this well because he was in my fantasy football team last year – a rare bright spot in an otherwise desolate wasteland of failure. 

He was having a cracking good season this year too.  Until things caught up with him.  I was pondering this today:

Q: What’s the difference between an elite running back and a common criminal?

A: One video turning up on TMZ.

-Me

See it seems that Kareem has problems.  And he’s not alone.  Since the year 2000 over 900 players have been arrested for crimes ranging from vandalism and DUI through to domestic assault and murder.  And those are just the ones that were reported by news outlets – there are likely a ton more!

The thing is, we shouldn’t be surprised.  These are people who are valued for raw aggression, power, unpredictability and being generally destructive in nature.  These are things we want in our professional sports people – particularly in a combative sport like football – but it wouldn’t inspire you with confidence if that was how your daughter’s date was described to you, would it?

So why am I worried?  Well closer to home our Rugby and League players haven’t always covered themselves with glory, and again we shouldn’t be totally surprised because we value many of them for the same attributes. 

And I coach young boys (and occasionally girls) in rugby. 

And my son plays rugby… 

So is he, and all these other wonderful young men, destined to be thugs?  I sure hope not.  But what will stop him going the way of Kareem Hunt, Ray Rice or Aaron Hernandez?  These are thoughts that cross my mind as the new Rugby season rapidly approaches.

Well for starters as his coach and his father, I will never put his progression as a sports-person ahead of his development as a decent person.  

I will never teach players dirty and underhanded techniques.  I was thoroughly disgusted to learn that some coaches encourage and even teach kids as young as 6 and 7 to niggle and assault players on the rugby pitch.  Imagine what kind of mentality that’s fostering at such an impressionable age?

No.  I will always promote effort over results, team-play and development over a “win-now” mentality and participation over achievement.  That’s got to be a start.

Does that make me a bad coach? 

I sure hope not, but I’d rather that than be a good coach that churns out bad humans!

What do you think?

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