The era of rage

Thoughts from Behind the Pressline

Further details will become available as the Salt Lake City community and the legal system sort through the issues that led to the death of this man and the fate of the 17-year-old who lost control of his emotions. But like the New England hockey dad this event serves as a reminder to us all to dial back the anger. Recreational sports for both children and adults is designed for exercise and enjoyment but also for the values learned by participating in team sports.

Competition and respect for the rules of the game are essential foundations not only for sports but for society in general. Being able to control your emotions and resisting the urge to take physical action was at one time a major tenet of sports.

Unfortunately, that has changed. The charge of a batter to the pitcher’s mound when brushed back by a pitch is now an expected event in baseball, and we’ve seen similar reactions from players in all sports. This spontaneous display of anger can be seen in all levels of sports play, which in turn transitions to everyday life.

That is why we all must take notice of how something as trivial as a simple foul in a recreational game has resulted in the death of one man and ruined the life of a 17-year-old teenager. Obviously, the teen did not intend to commit murder, but his momentary lapse nonetheless has affected many and the results of his actions should serve as a wake up call for us all, or just chalked up as an isolated event.

Children are a product of their environment and our environment continues to excuse and reward outlandish behavior,not only in sports, but on television, in movies and video games. We’ve lost sight of the line one should never cross and as we go further and further over that line we will see more events like this unfold.

Sportsmanship in America at one time stood for the very best in human behavior. If we fail to return to the values once so important to the games we play we will have far more than sports out of control in our society.

Dan Alexander is associate publisher of New Market Press and publisher and CEO of Denton Publications. He may be reached at dan@newmarketpressvt.com or dan@denpubs.com.

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