Friday, June 18, 2010

The Whining Epidemic...

So, this is nothing new, but I’ve been watching a lot of sports lately…and I’ve learned something. There’s a lot of wasted time in sports. It’s not the showboating of the players (although that doesn’t help), it’s not the timeouts (and the interminable commercial breaks that go with them), and it’s not the substitutions.

It’s the arguing with the referees.

Arguing with the referees is a time-honored sports tradition. It goes back to Cain and Abel when Cain, after killing Abel, argued with the Lord about whether or not he was his “brother’s keeper.” Since then, we’ve been treated to people like John “You cannot be serious!” McEnroe, Kobe “I’ve never committed a foul in my life” Bryant, and every single soccer player ever born.

Think of how much faster games would be if we didn’t have to wait for baseball players and coaches to argue with umpires. If we didn’t have to wait for basketball players and their coaches to argue with the referees. Let’s be honest. A call, once it is made, is very rarely overturned (unless it’s a sport that uses instant replay). I guess the argument in the meantime is that, by complaining enough, maybe next time the referee/umpire will be watching closer or give the other team a make-up call.

Wouldn’t it be great if referees and umpires came charging up to players after they made a mistake and got in their faces and yelled at them? “No,” you say. “That would be ridiculous!” Then why do we allow athletes to do it?

It even permeates down to our children. A friend of mine and I volunteered to teach soccer at Cub Day Camp this week. At the end of our sessions with the kids, we let them play a game for about 20 minutes while he and I refereed the game. You wouldn’t believe the number of complaints and whines we heard from kids who were 8-10 years old. And we were volunteers. And these kids were supposedly playing for fun.

This disturbs me. Not just from a “it makes the game take longer” standpoint, but also the example 95% of our athletes give to our children. The attitude seems to be that “I never do anything wrong” and “It’s someone else’s fault.” Referees and umpires do their best under incredibly stressful and fast moving conditions. Yep. They screw up. A lot (like the 3rd goal disallowed by the ref in the US/Slovenia match this morning. Don’t get me started). But overall, they do an excellent job. So, athletes. Coaches. LAY OFF.

Besides, I have other things to do in my life besides watch a bunch of whiners set horrible examples for my children.

1 comment:

  1. Fans often boo all calls they don't like, and players often fall into that trap. I think players/coaches can protest calls they honestly think are incorrect, make their opinions known and move along. But yeah, to disagree with every call made against you is tiresome at best, dishonest at worst. And how 'bout going the other way now and again, admitting that you broke the rules and accepting the consequences. Especially at more amateur levels of sport, where winning and losing involve less money and careers, 'fess up, call your own fouls -- it's just a game! :)