Sunday, April 26, 2009

Overheard on the soccer field.

"Floyd Patterson may not have been one of boxing's greatest heavyweights. He may have been one of its greatest gentlemen."

I just heard this on the ESPN Classic network program, "Who's Number 1?" That comment is a backdrop to the story I'm about to tell. On the soccer field for a league for 3rd graders, I overheard an exchange between a man and a woman, whom I believe were parents of different children on the same team. I didn't hear what the woman said. But the man replied,
"There is no polite in soccer. In fact, there's no sport where you're supposed to be polite."

If I understand the mentality, it is a very tragic and pitiful one, especially if it motivates how you lead elementary age children in sports programs. I believe it means that in sports, in the real world, you're either "impolite" or you're a sissy. How sad. I immediately thought of the difference between "passive," "aggressive," and "assertive," and wondered what "sportsmanship" meant if you didn't have to be worried about being polite. I later thought about the concept of "honor" and "chivalry" in warfare, where apparently you were able to be very "polite" to persons you were trying to kill. Then when I was flipping channels, I heard the quote above touting gentlemanliness in boxing, of all sports.

The attitude of the man stands in contrast to the reputation and life work of Floyd Patterson. It's more like that of Mike Tyson.

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