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The debate about whether cheer leading was a sport did not offer too many differing opinions. The overall feeling was that competitive cheer is a sport, meanwhile sideline cheer is not. One article I read on teenink.com gave support for why it is a sport and one thing that stood out to me was that it said regarding competitive cheer that “It is a physical activity that is governed by rules under which a winner can be declared and its primary purpose is to compare the skills of participants”. To me this is the basic foundation of a sport and people often underestimate the amount of physical activity that cheer requires. They put in a lot of practice time and training just like other sports, and sometimes the risk of injury can be greater depending on the type of cheer they are doing. In an article on livestrong.com they detailed some of the required physical tasks. For example it states, “at the University of Alabama: all cheerleaders, at the very minimum, must to be able to do a standing back handspring and a standing back tuck, which is a flip with no hands”. This is an interesting fact and something I believe a lot of people overlook. I have been an athlete my whole and train year round, but could not even come close to doing this. I think that a main reason why cheer is not seen as sport by some people, is simply due to the fact that what they see is mostly sideline cheer and girls just standing on the field or court cheering for players. The competitive side of cheer is not very well known by the general public and does not get a lot of notice by the casual sports fan.
When it comes sports, one of the major issues discussed is sportsmanship. The issues of sportsmanship deals with how players handle themselves during the game and after the game as well. As far as shaking hands after the game, I believe that players should be encouraged to do this. It shows respect for the game and the other team as competitors. Sportsmanship can go beyond the court or field of play, and can show someones character. In article on foxnews, it details a story of outstanding sportsmanship. An Ohio runner helped a struggling competitor finish a race and has been praised for her actions. It states, “Arlington High School sophomore Arden McMath, whose body was giving out, had Vogel put McMath’s arm around her shoulders, half-dragging and half-carrying her about 30 meters to the finish line”. McMath was so grateful about the action, but more shocked than anything and did not think something like that would happen. This just shows that sometimes being a good sport can have a greater impact than winning the game or competition.
I think it is different when it comes to pro sports, because that is a situation when grown men or women are competing against each other at the highest level. I still think there should be some sportsmanship, but forcing teams to line up and shake hands is not as big of a deal. Rick Reilly wrote an article for ESPN and stated, “We live in a world where Peyton Manning walks off the Super Bowl field without shaking anybody’s hand. Where Tiger Woods leaves the Masters without a word of thanks to the fans or congratulations to the winner”. He makes a good point, but at the same time we never see an outcry from the public about this or anybody being highly upset about their actions.
The issue of standing for the National Anthem became a major discussion within the last year when San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick decided to take a knee while the anthem played before a game. He did this as a way to protest the racial oppression and inequality in the United States. His point was that people of color and minorities are not afforded the same rights under the constitution as white people. Many people see the playing of the anthem as a tribute to America and the many people that fight for our freedom. I can understand where they are coming from, but if minorities are not entitled to the same freedoms as their fellow Americans then America is not being truthful with what it stands for and the anthem is not portraying what it is supposed to. Colin Kaepernick said he meant no disrespect to the war heroes and people that fight for us as a country, but felt that he needed to make a statement so he used his platform to do so. Many people bashed him and again tried to say that he had no right to do that before a game. I believe many people wanted to say he was bashing the military and our country as a scapegoat to avoid the issues he was actually drawing attention to, such as police brutality against black people that was going on in cities across the country including where he plays. According to an article on TIME written by Billy Witz, in his team’s final exhibition game before the start of the N.F.L. season, Kaepernick, along with his teammate Eric Reid, took a knee instead of a seat during “The Star-Spangled Banner,” all with the blessing of Kaepernick’s invited guest, Nate Boyer, a former member of the Army’s Green Berets. This was an important step because he was reaching to military personnel and trying to make progress for the country as a whole. According to Chuck Schilken of the LA Times Boyer wrote an open letter to Kaepernick, which included this quote, “Even though my initial reaction to your protest was one of anger, I’m trying to listen to what you’re saying and why you’re doing it,” wrote Boyer. This brings up the point that if someone who has served the country and is a respected veteran can be open to what Kaepernick is doing than why can’t a regular citizen take the same approach?
He later stated he would donate the first one million dollars of his salary to charitable organizations. He set up a charity section through his website that allows people to donate, but also see where he is sending the money and the organizations and cities that are benefiting from his work.
With all that being said, I believe players should not be forced to stand for the national anthem and that their rights are protected. I can also understand that the owners of the teams who employ these players have the right to put a policy in place for the players to stand or be subject to consequences, but there is no one that should be able to look at what Kaepernick did and say his intentions were wrong or he does not make notice of a valid problem across the United States.
I believe that the NCAA has good intentions in regards to their drug policy and procedures, but the system in place is largely flawed. They place a large emphasis on testing for certain drugs like marijuana and PED’s, but do not ever provide athletes with a complete list of banned substances and supplements. This causes a gray area in that athletes are advised to go through their athletic trainer when taking certain supplements, but they do not always do that and sometimes the trainer may wrongly advise them. A major problem with the testing is that it not universal from school to school or even sport to sport. The issue with schools independently having their own drug testing procedures is that the NCAA allows them to adopt their own policies, and there is no independent agency to handle results or punishment. According to an article by the Associated Press, “Syracuse was put on probation for five years and coach Jim Boeheim was suspended for nine games for violations that included failure to adhere to a drug-testing program that was deemed too confusing by school administrators”. This is am example of the NCAA not having an effective policy in place and forcing schools to try to find the solution themselves, which does not always lead to positive things.
In another article by Jon Solomon on CBS sports, he discusses when the NCAA penalized Oklahoma State for not having a drug policy in place. One point that stood out to me was when he said that Oklahoma State athletic director Mike Holder told the infractions panel “there is no question” he should have abided by “the letter of the law.” Holder said that he “mistakenly” thought he had “latitude” to make exceptions. This is the problem with the NCAA placing the responsibility on the schools and when they allow the school to have their own policy, they will feel they can do things to their own standards and punish athletes at their own discretion.
When it comes to the issue of kids getting participation trophies I do not believe they should continue to get them just for playing a sport. While it might encourage kids to go out more for sports, there is a more negative long term effect. Giving kids something just because they participated or tried, is giving them a false sense of accomplishment and achievement. When James Harrison took his two sons participation trophies away, it was in the news and made headlines. According to an article on USA today, his response was “I’m sorry I’m not sorry for believing that everything in life should be earned and I’m not about to raise two boys to be men by making them believe that they are entitled to something just because they tried their best.” I agree with him and believe that when raising kids, people should instill a work ethic and the harsh truth that in life sometimes doing your best is simply not good enough. The society we are in today is one that is filled with people that believe they are entitled to certain things and that just showing up will get them some sort of success. This is not the world we live in and when these children get into the work environment eventually, they will be faced with the fact that everything is a competition and them just participating will not always be good enough. According to a Reason-Rupe poll on nypost.com from last year it found that 57 percent of people think only winning players should get trophies. This is showing that people in society have began to change their viewpoint in regards to trophies and do not see it as necessary.
I think that Chadron State College should add women’s soccer. Soccer is not very expensive to add and the team would be small so scholarships would not hurt the school athletic budget. Soccer is a sport that many people enjoy watching and would bring more fans to the Chadron State athletic program. The scholarships that soccer gives out are not full and only cover about 10 players and they are not all full rides. This would make recruiting people to Chadron difficult but according NCAA.org the partial schoalrship model actually can generate revenue for the school and they did a study that showed adding women’s soccer in particular increases ethnic and geographic diversity among students. I think this can play a big role in adding money to the school, but also bringing more interest to the college and people will want to come.
The fact that soccer is an outdoor sport is important, because right now Chadron only has football and softball as the two sports, with one being in the fall and one in the spring. Adding soccer could help interest a wider viewing audience and I believe that interest from the community is there. Chadron currently has more women’s teams than men, but the amount of men athletes is greater than the amount of women.
When it comes to the new found obsession with daily fantasy sports through sites such as Fanduel and Draftkings, the question comes up about the legality of the sites. Some people argue that it is gambling and betting on players, while others see it as a game just like season long fantasy sports. There is a lot of money being made by these sites and people believe the idea of them losing their money on a daily basis makes it similar to gambling which should be illegal. The argument that these sites make is that it is a game of skill as well as chance and not all based on luck. According to fortune.com the definition of gambling in every state is typically defined as playing games of chance for money like craps and roulette which is considered “gambling” while playing games of skill is not. I would have to agree and can see the sites point in saying that choosing the right team or selecting players is not all random and some knowledge and thought has to go into it to be successful. A big topic with these sites is that they are not very regulated and generate large revenues. The earnings for each site were as follows:
FanDuel: $15 million in entry fees; $12.8 million in prizes awarded; $2.2 million revenue.
DraftKings: $20.7 million in entry fees; $18.9 million in prizes; $1.8 million revenue.
This is important because I believe companies earning that much should probably be regulated a little more strictly, however I still do not see them as gambling and feel they should be legal.
The idea that the NBA and the NFL have control as to when an athlete can choose to pursue a professional career is one that does not make much sense. I think that the decision should be up to the individual and when someone is 18 years old they are able to decide what they want to do with their life. I believe that especially in the NBA where athletes are forced to wait until one year after high school to turn pro, that the rule is only put in place to protect NBA teams. The idea that kids are gaining the needed experience or maturity in that one year is just a cover up and a disguise for the NBA to basically use a free minor league system to evaluate a player. The main argument is that a kid is not emotionally or mentally ready for the NBA out of high school, but how much difference is a year actually going to make? I do not think it helps players and in turn also hurts colleges because you have players that do not want to be there feeling like they are forced to play for a year. I think that going to college even for football players to force them to stay there for three years is useless. If an athlete is ready after one or two he should be able to go. Most of these kids are not finishing their degrees even if they do stay for three years. An article on out kick the coverage brought up the point that only 4.3% of baseball players have a college degree. I think that the idea that pro leagues place a value on education is fake and put out there to try to protect their brand in society.