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Mommy Musings – No ‘ing’ In Sportsmanship

POSTED January 30, 2013 10:08 a.m.

It’s barely February and yet here I find myself, penning yet another ‘sports related’ column.

Truth be told there was a time when new sports reporters passed through our office on a routine basis. During that period I thought it might be fun to maybe ‘switch it up’ and actually approached Editor Marg Jackson with a proposal of possibly getting my feet wet in the Sports section. Much to the benefit of all involved she graciously nodded (in a way only she can) and stated ‘It’s something to consider.’

Since then ‘Mommy mind’ has set in and as my children observe and mimic much that they see, I ponder their actions.

This brings up the most recent topic which I’ve wracked around in my brain for literally weeks and now must process in our pages. The topic of ‘showboating’ or ‘excessive celebration’ which is demonstrated by players large and wide in the NFL.

There’s been much discussion as of late on the topic of ‘Kaepernicking.’ For those unaware of the term (yes there are some) it is in reference to the action of San Francisco 49er quarterback Colin Kaepernick. Many in the NFL ‘celebrate’ accomplishment in numerous ways. Kaepernick’s chosen way is to kiss his biceps. As far as elaborating on the purpose behind this, I will leave that to the quarterback who I have yet to find a statement from explaining the action.

There are multiple blogs, interviews and columns on the topic from varying standpoints. However, I was unable to find one in which he himself states the significance of this action.

Truth be told, for the purpose of this piece … it makes no difference. It’s been a topic of many sports stations and websites for weeks. It only came to affect me personally following the 49er win over the Green Bay Packers.

That following Monday night as we sat down to dinner I caught my five-year-old daughter kissing her biceps. Both shocked and somewhat puzzled I quickly quipped ‘What are you doing?’

‘Kissing my arms like the football players,’ she said. ‘You know, the 49ers?’

Upon further discussion I came to learn that my five-year-old viewed this as a way of expressing her pride in herself. I was baffled, to say the least. Regardless of intent from the player, I began to think of the message my children were taking.

Admittedly, at the onset it was a bit of a challenge as to how to discuss and approach the topic of ‘show boating.’

For those in the ‘Kaepernicking camp’ I say this: I come in peace. Technically and by definition he is neither show boating or demonstrating excessive celebration. To the simple mind he is quite simply kissing his bicep (which my daughter now sees as a way to demonstrate pride).

Regardless of player or action for me as a viewer, a fan I must honestly say … I don’t get it. Yes, I know about the scripture. I’ve read all the ‘testimonials’ of what a ‘great guy’ he is. Makes no difference, I’m still baffled.

There have been many opinions shared on this topic during my lifetime when it comes to sports. The one which resonated with me most came from a friend when addressing the topic of ‘show boating’ or celebrating on the field as a whole.

Loosely translated the friend stated they were a bit confused by the behavior of the celebratory player as they are doing what they are paid to do. Example of this: the wide receiver dancing in the end zone after completing a touchdown. The lineman pumping his chest after making a block or a sack. This is, after all, the National Football League, they are paid to do these jobs.

My friend went on to elaborate a bit more and state when he closed a sales deal, he did not get up and dance in the door of his office for all to see. It’s his job to sell and produce revenue … it’s what he is paid for.

This is not peewee football, which in all honesty makes the topic even more interesting. In peewee or recreational football we (generally and broadly speaking) tend to discourage our young people from such behavior. We encourage them to be humble and they are not getting paid. We teach it under the umbrella of ‘sportsmanship,’ yet somehow when the hobby, the passion becomes a pay check it all changes.

Matter of fact it’s now become so widespread and accepted in the NFL that the simple statement of ‘show boating’ has been replaced to some degree by electing each players name with an ‘ing’ on the end. Again, they are doing their job.

Simply put I know an arsenal of people with many widespread talents that they are genuinely grateful for. Many of them pray to the same God, some do not pray to any God at all. The fact of the matter is they show their gratitude in the way of humbleness and humility. They serve responsibly as role models to young people and graciously continue on.

So, in a long winded way that was the lesson to my children that Monday night following dinner. Always count your blessings. Be grateful for the gifts and talents God has bestowed you with and never demonstrate pride in a way which might make another feel less than capable or deserving. Hard work does indeed pay, but no one likes a show off (unless of course he’s taking our team to the Super Bowl - but that’s a whole other topic).

Pretty simple playground stuff. Thankful to have found the words. Now I’ll just hope they stick.

 

Teresa Hammond is circulation manager for The Oakdale Leader, The Riverbank News and The Escalon Times. She may be reached at thammond@oakdaleleader.com or by calling 847-3021.

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