There are usually several reasons a seemingly local, isolated incident that has no direct impact on the masses attracts the attention of them anyway. The Saints fan that stole a football intended for a Cincinnati Bengals fan Sunday in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome has gone viral and attracted the attention of the national media. The story is everywhere and people continue to talk about it! The story may be coming close to eclipsing the attention Kim Kardashian's bare butt has attracted on social media!
The Saints were embarrassed when Bengals' QB Andy Dalton threw a pass the TE Jermaine Gresham. After the eventual touchdown – Gresham spotted a Bengals fan in the stands and ran over to hand her the ball he just scored a touchdown with. Saints fan Tony Williams positioned himself to literally grab the ball away from Christa Barrett, who pleaded with him to give her the ball that was unmistakably intended for her – Williams seemed to proudly refuse her request. So, after the Saints were embarrassed before a TV audience – Saints fans and the city of New Orleans were embarrassed by the actions of a Saints fan.
This incident teaches us how wrong it is to judge a group by the behavior of an individual or a small group. The overwhelming response from the WHO DAT Nation is that Tony Williams was wrong to keep the ball and do not want to be judged by his behavior. That principle should also be applied to every group that is stereotyped by the extreme behavior of a member of that group.
The fact that Mr. Williams aggressively grabbed that ball leaves little doubt that was his instinctive behavior and many believe the idea of stealing it for his grandson was an afterthought to cover up his decision. He also seemed to maintain a smirk-like smile on his face as he refused the opportunity to respond to compassion.
If the man was stealing food to feed his starving grandson, his selfish instinct might be more understandable – but to grab a football that was clearly intended for another person is wrong.
Mr. Williams says that he loves New Orleans and was not trying to make the city look bad. Well, he failed at that attempt! His wife said that it's a free for all – something like Mardi Gras. Does that mean Mr. Williams would rip the beads or another throw from the hands of a woman or child near him?
I grew up going to Mardi Gras and I have always seen people catch throws about the same time as another person and then give it to them – especially children. Excusing that it's like Mardi Gras is no justification for grabbing something intended for someone else.
Finally, with all of the publicity surrounding this particular football and the manner in which it was obtained – do you think Mr. Williams' grandson will appreciate have the football? And if Mr. Williams is 70 – then his grandson is probably old enough to know exactly how his grandfather obtained the football.
Tony Williams has been described as a long-time season ticket holder – a loving and caring husband, father and grandfather. He may be all of those things – but he still stole a football from someone because he had the strength and opportunity to do it.
Let's apply Mr. Williams' mentality to Mr. Williams – should we assume that if Mr. Williams was walking out of the dome that afternoon with the football and someone else had the strength and opportunity to just grab it out of his hands – would he say "that's not fair!
We all want the Saints – not Saints fans – to be responsible for takeaways during a game!
This is perfect weather for talking about the start of a new Cold War!
With the news that Russian bombers will begin flying scheduled flights over areas like the Gulf of Mexico, comes the fear that the recent political and military tensions between Russia – the old Soviet Union – and the United States are escalating into a new Cold War.
The Cold War was a period of time that refers to the heightened threat of war between the major powers of the United States and the Soviet Union. Though the dates of the Cold War as not definitive, it is generally accepted that it began a few years after the end of World War II and continued until 1991.
President Ronald Reagan was an instrumental figure at the end of the Cold War. Reagan used military force and diplomacy to pressure the Soviet Union – the center of the communist universe. The iconic moment when President Reagan told the leader of the Soviet Union to "tear down" the Berlin Wall that separated the West from the East is considered a flashpoint in time the proclaimed the end of communism.
Tensions between Russia and Leader Putin and the United States and President Obama have continued to intensify. The disputes that have erupted over Putin's aggressiveness with Crimea and the Ukraine have further chilled the relationship between the two super powers that still hold vast amounts of nuclear weapons.
The thought of those Cold War-ear Russian-built bombers patrolling our back yard is a sobering image to anyone who grew up when the threat of nuclear war was a reality to Americans. Schools held drills to let teachers and students know what to do if there was a nuclear attack from Russia. Some of the drills instructed students to get under their school desks in the classroom if a nuclear bomb was dropped. Looking back on that – it is ridiculous to think hiding under your desk would somehow protect you from the blast of a nuclear bomb!
Russian leader Vladimir Putin has projected an aggressive attitude to the world in an obvious attempt to build Russia up as a dominant world power. I assume Russia still has the nuclear weapons that were used to threaten the United States during the Cold War – but Russia is economically weak right now and not the military power of the past.
While the idea of Russian bombers patrolling the Gulf is unsettling - I think it is more a show of force than it is an actual threat, or a spark, that ignites a new Cold War.
Since the open waters of the Gulf of Mexico are international waters – there is nothing the United States can do to stop the Russian bombers from patrolling the Gulf. In fact, the United States has patrolled the international air space and the international waters near Russian for decades. We are in no position to stop the Russian bombers. I am certain the United States has plans to have our jets monitor these bombers near our borders from a non-threatening distance, but Russia is not violating our airspace, therefore, we can be vigilant, but not aggressive.
President Reagan brilliantly used diplomacy, but also a non-compromising attitude with our military to challenge the Soviet Union's encroaching threats. Many have criticized President Obama as being weak and tentative with our military that leaders, like Putin, are brazen enough to challenge the U.S.
Tensions will likely continue to escalate between Russia and the United States, but I do not envision tensions growing to the point where Americans live with the threat of nuclear war every day. However, "cold" any new Cold War gets – I still have faith that neither country wants a nuclear war.
One of the most difficult things about trying to negotiate with today's terrorists is the idea that many are martyrs and willing to die. The one common ground we shared with the Russians throughout the Cold War was the fact that both cultures respected life and had a desire to live.
While the Cold War was still intense – Sting wrote a song titled, "Russians," that perfectly reflected this shared common ground. Here is the final verse of the lyrics:
We share the same biology
Regardless of ideology
What might save us, me, and you
Is if the Russians love their children, too.
Why do Americans overwhelmingly disapprove of Congress when Americans voted for those who make up Congress?
A tweet that is getting a lot of attention shows a picture of Congress in session with the words – Congress has an 11% approval rating – but 96% of the incumbents won reelection. Is this true – or just social media hype?
Politifact investigated the outcome of the recent midterm election and here's what was revealed:
· The average of the approval rating for Congress in polls from Fox, CBS, NBC, ABC and CNN was 14%.
· In the House – there were 390 incumbents with 4 races yet to be decided. Of the remaining 386 incumbents – 373 won. The means 96.6% of the incumbents were reelected.
· In the Senate – with two races still undecided at the time of the fact-finding study – 23 out of the 26 incumbents won reelection. That means 95.4% of incumbents won.
The tweet says that Congress has an 11% approval rating – according to Politifact – Congress' average approval rating in media polls is 14%! That's close.
The tweet also says that 96.4% of incumbents won reelection – in reality, 95% of incumbents won.
Politifact reports that this tweet that some may question is actually very accurate. But why do voters disapprove of Congress, but still support their representatives by continuing to reelect them?
Since incumbents represent the power and the clout to bring projects to their respective states and districts – voters will bash Congress as a group – but they are not willing to oust their elected official because of the money they represent for their state or district.
Voters are obviously selfish and politically myopic. As a group – voters refuse to look at the big picture and instead vote essentially for themselves. If that is the mentality of the great majority of voters in America – then it is no surprise that contempt for Congress stops with your congressman or senator.
The selfish nature of voters is one of the reasons this country is in financial disarray. When each voter reelects an incumbent – they are voting for projects that benefit their state or district and the many businesses and individuals that will be awarded huge government contracts. The ripple effect of that across the nation means "pet projects" going to every state and every district as a mostly subtle political payback for an incumbent's reelection.
"Pork" is only unhealthy for the diet of every other state and district – not yours – but the cumulative effect is too much "pork" everywhere and a federal government that is broke.
And the only ones to blame for this political phenomenon are the voters themselves.
The Green Bay Packers beat the Chicago Bears on Sunday Night Football – 55-14. The Packers and the Bears are one of the oldest and deepest rivalries in the NFL – not only because both teams are among the earliest NFL teams – but also because the two cities are about a 3 ½ hour drive and a 40 minute flight from each other. It's a rivalry that is as bitter as the cold weather both teams play in.
The Bears were embarrassed by the Packers Sunday night and that inspired some Bears fans to take to social media attack Bears Coach Marc Trestman's daughter, Kristin Cavallari.
Tweets to the coach's daughter ranged from threatening to rape her to calling her father a fa***t. One text to Kristen read – "your tranny looking dad is a disgrace to American football."
Here are a few other tweets from irate Bears' fans:
· "your dads a fa***t"
· "don't let me catch you walking alone"
· "I would rape the s**t out of her"
· "I'm going to roll around in and drink her f***ing blood:
· "your dad's the reason a bunch of inbred Packers fans are gonna bang and make more inbreds"
I understand passion for a sports team – but I will never understand when passion turns into personal derogatory attacks and threats of horrific acts – like, rape.
The entire community of sports fans in America should condemn any sports fan that reduces their anger and frustration over their team's embarrassing lose to a heated rival. This behavior is more than unacceptable – it is morally despicable.
The fact that some Bears fans chose to express their anger against Coach Trestman's daughter further demonstrates the abhorrent nature of this attitude.
When something like this happens – it is important to step back and put sports into perspective. It's just a game. It is not as if these individuals are reacting to a direct threat to their families. And those who tweeted the derogatory comments and threats of rape to Trestman's daughter and pure cowards. I guess with her Twitter account she was an easy and available target. Attacking her may also have been motivated by the idea that she would be very sensitive and vulnerable to the remarks. Coaches deal with criticism from fans on a regular basis – but not their daughters.
Let's remember that the Bears fans that reacted to the humiliating loss to the Packers Sunday night by criticizing the coach to his daughter and by threatening bodily harm to her – do not represent the great majority of sports fans in America.
As heated as the rivalry is between the Saints and the Falcons – there would be no tolerance for attacking Falcons Coach Mike Smith's family following a degrading loss to the Falcons.
We can all be passionate about sports – but to resort of personal attacks and the threat of rape is simply unacceptable.
The Saints will beat the 49ers Sunday in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome Sunday because they are playing with the passion and determination that was missing early in the season.
The Saints followed a big win over the Packers in a nationally televised Sunday night game at home and a few days later – went on the road to beat the Panthers in a nationally televised Thursday night game. As fans, we may never know what happened to the collective resolve of the Saints – but they are now playing like a different team.
The Saints are running the ball, passing and the defense has shown signs of being the defense they told us they were going to be before the season started. The Saints have dealt with the unexpected setbacks of injuries and players that did not live up to expectations – but the one thing that was missing in the beginning of the season – even in the wins against the Vikings and the Bucs – was that intangible element of passion - or a "killer instinct."
The post-game explanations for the early performances seemed passive and almost as if the Saints were too complacent with their subpar performances. But that has changed!
Payton is showing a passion and determination before, during and after games that was absent. When asked this week about playing the 4-4 49ers who are desperate for a win Sunday – Payton said the Saints are 4-4 and also and desperate for a win. I loved to hear Drew Brees say this week that the Saints are not entitled to win just because they are playing in the dome.
Maybe it was the adversity of injuries to key players and maybe it was the wholesale disappointment of the fans and the media that rekindled a new attitude and winning spirit that had been missing. I'm sure the Saints and Coach Payton will say that nothing has changed – but clearly – we are watching the rebirth of the Saints half way through this season.
The story line for this season began to be rewritten that Sunday night the Saints convincingly beat a Green Bay Packers team that was peaking and the new story line continued after the Saints beat the Carolina Panthers on the road. I expect the story line of the Saints playing with great passion after beginning the season with a slow start will become even more thrilling when the Saints defeat the 49ers Sunday in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome!
Before the Saints – Packers game – I posted a prayer for the Saints. I posted and read it on the air again before the game against the Panthers. I do believe in the power of prayer – so I am including that Saints prayer with this blog.
Please say it and share it with the WHO DAT NATION everywhere!
Our Saints Prayer
By Scoot (but inspired from above)
Our Saints who art in Heaven,
Hallowed it be thy game.
Thy kick-off come,
Thy win be done,
On turf as it is in the dome.
Give us this win, our weekly win,
And forgive us our incomplete passes,
As we forgive those who complete passes against us.
And lead us not into defeat,
But deliver us to the top of the NFC South!
The domination of Republican candidates yesterday on Election Day reflects a changing America – but it might not be changing in the way many will suggest. The election results also reflect America's intrinsic desire for a "balance of power" and confirm the political cycles that define American politics.
For those who thought the Republican takeover of Congress during the mid-term elections in 1994 – two years into Bill Clinton's first term – was a statement that America was set on a conservative course for eternity –also witnessed Bill Clinton's re-election two years later.
The election and re-election of George W. Bush were interpreted by many -as another sign that America was making a statement with a strong turn to the right. The election of Barack Obama in 2008 and his re-election in 2012 were hailed as America's discontent with conservative politics.
Today, two years into President Obama's second term, America has again spoken. But what, exactly, is America saying?
A brief view of recent history proves that American politics runs in cycles. A strong turn to the "right" inevitably leads to a turn to the "left" and vice versa. When one party appears to have had time to manifest change and that change is never realized – then it is time for the other party to dominate.
Also, Democrats, Republicans and Independents are disgusted with gridlock in government and Americans have made a clear statement that a shake up in the ruling party is necessary to bring about change.
There is no question that the Republicans' new control over both Houses of Congress is an expression of discontent with President Obama. The President has not been a good communicator and has often appeared to be out-of-touch with the American people. Perception is reality and whether fair or not – the perception is that President Obama makes playing golf and vacationing a priority. A Fox News contributor said this morning that President Obama is so upset by the outcome of the election that he's only going to play 9 holes today!
The Republican candidates, including Bill Cassidy in Louisiana, ran against the President's policies and used his low approval rating to their advantage. While Republicans have been criticized for running more on what they are against than what they are for – running against President Obama forced the Republican candidates, in general, to not focus on social and moral issues, like same-sex marriage, birth control and abortion.
The most significant lesson to be learned from the 2014 mid-term election is that Republicans did not run on the platform of intrusion into the lives of individual Americans by proclaiming to be the moral police of politics. I have often talked about the political damage caused by Republican candidates investing their primary messages on social and moral issues – which implies a political directive on the personal decisions of individuals. Now, Republican domination at the polls during a campaign in which Republicans, generally, did not invoke issues that have destroyed their chances in recent elections – further demonstrates the need for Republicans to change their game plan of showcasing social and moral issues.
The Republican victories should be celebrated – but they should also be studied as a blueprint for the Republican presidential candidates in 2016. It is also important to understand that more young and minority voters will show up to vote in a presidential election than in a mid-term election, so while the Republican victories should not be downplayed – a more diverse group of voters will cast their votes in 2016.
When House Speaker Newt Gingrich led the republican take-over of Capitol Hill in 1994 – he acted like the Republicans had just gotten the keys to the candy store and that attitude did not resonate with America.
Advice to Republicans: accept the amazing victories with dignity and now that you are in control – get to work and make America a better country. But most of all - pay attention to what happens if you don't campaign as the moral police of America!
It's Election Day in America! The right to vote in free and open elections is part of our political system. People around the world are envious of our system of government and the right of citizens to actively participate – and yet, millions of Americans are not registered to vote and millions who are registered – do not exercise a right to be part of our political process.
Obviously, there are legitimate excuses to not go to the polls on Election Day, but any excuses related to inconvenience or apathy should not be considered acceptable.
Several of the common excuses for not voting might appear to be founded in sound reason. Some don't vote because they don't like any of the candidates on the ballot. Others say they are disgusted with the system and believe the outcome of any election will not lead to change – therefore, voting is a waste of time.
In any election, it is likely that no candidate represents the political ideology of all of the voters. It is also realistic to believe that new candidates or incumbents are part of a well-established political system that benefits more those who are elected than those who elect the politicians who represent them. Disgust and apathy are understandable – but not acceptable reasons to not vote on Election Day.
As a talk show host, I hear listeners exercising their right to free speech by bashing candidates, political parties and the political system and I often wonder how many of those who are so eager and willing to complain actually make the effort to vote.
Americans do have the right to complain even if they don't vote – but doesn't voting turn a complainer who is an outsider into a participant with a voice?
Relative to the world – Americans have been blessed with so many right, but when rights are given to you without a fight or effort – rights are too often taken for grant it. And of all the rights taken for grant it in America – the right to vote is among the rights most unappreciated.
The real question is – can you be considered a true patriotic American if you don't vote? If voting is an opportunity participate in the political process – shouldn't voting be an integral characteristic of patriotism?
It is easier to wear an American flag pin on a lapel, wave an American flag, sing the Star Spangled Banner at a Saints or LSU game, or shout out in a group that you "love America" – but those signs of outward patriotism do not compare to voting – which is making an effort to place yourself inside the political process.
I think anyone who does not vote – not on occasion – but as a rule does not vote based on principle – falls short of being a true patriotic American.
The definition of being a patriotic American is to show love and loyalty to America and of all the signs and activities that lead to calling oneself patriotic – voting stands alone as the most important civic action citizens can take part in to win the right to call themselves "patriotic."
So – are you voting? Or - just complaining?
And can you really call yourself a true patriot if you don't vote?
As Halloween has evolved into more of an adult celebration over the years, the city of New Orleans has proven to be the American city is synonymous with ambience of Halloween.
Even as children, Halloween night was defined by as an eerie time when ghosts and goblins ran from house to house in frightening costumes with the intent on scaring others. The activity of “trick or treat” lent itself to the invitation to participate in mischievous deeds against those who failed to offer an acceptable treat.
As the Baby Boomer generation matured, I witnessed Halloween grow into a night for adult partying and dare I say – debauchery. Sexy costumes became as popular as scary costumes and it seems the ultimate costumes were those that morphed sexy and scary – like a sexy witch or a naughty nurse with a menacing look.
The French Quarter of New Orleans has always been a city shrouded by a sexy mystique. The image and ambience of the French Quarter provides a most fitting backdrop for the mature celebration of Halloween.
Halloween was born in pagan rituals from the old countries from which America was born. New Orleans is one of America’s most authentic old world cities.
New Orleans is considered one of the country’s most haunted cities and there are countless stories of hotels, restaurants, homes and buildings that are believed to be haunted and actively visited in present day by spirits that continue to linger in our world many years after leaving the mortal world.
The old and diverse landscape of roofs and facades of the homes and buildings in the French Quarter seem more like a Hollywood set for a horror movie than the current real world. And on those nights when a soft blanket of fog gives accent to the historic street lamps and signs – the French Quarter’s mystique becomes even more obvious.
There are enough stories of haunted places in the French Quarter to make most of us believe that the Quarter may have as many past spirits as current residents. And the stories of actual horrific activities in many of the Quarter’s dwellings that spawned the more credible ghost stories – make the unbelievable seem even more believable.
Since Halloween inspires costumes and New Orleans has the tradition of disguise rooted in the Mardi Gras – it is no surprise that the French Quarter has become the ideal setting for the eerie mystery that is Halloween!
The tangible elements of the French Quarter with the frightening images of mortals disguised as menacing creatures and the ever-present thoughts of linger spirits – blurs the lines of what is real and what is not on Halloween night in the French Quarter of New Orleans!
One Halloween myth demonstrates that it is true - the media can easily start and perpetrate hysteria because people believe what they want to believe.
Every Halloween parents are warned that trick-or-treating is dangerous. Sinister people have been known to put poison in Halloween candy and razor blades in apples and treats giving to children on Halloween night. The fear of children being poisoned or injured by sharp objects embedded in their innocent treats led to local hospitals offering complimentarily x-rays of trick-or-treat candy and many parents took advantage of the opportunity to have their children’s candy x-rayed.
The fear of evil people with the intent to harm or kill children fits perfectly into the mystery of Halloween night. But the truth is – there were never any actual cases of strangers tainting Halloween candy with poison or sharp objects. So, how did this widely believed myth grow to the point of being a credible Halloween threat?
In 1974, a Waco, Texas man named Ronald Clark O’Brien did purposely put cyanide in candy that he gave to his 8-year-old son, Timothy O’Brien. Timothy died as a result of eating the candy. It was later discovered that Ronald had a large insurance policy on his young son and the tainted candy was an attempt to collect the insurance money. Ronald Clark O’Brien was convicted of murder and executed by lethal injection in 1984.
It was that tragedy in 1974 that spawned the popular myth that evil people are lurking in neighborhoods across America with the malicious intent of poisoning and harming innocent children as they trick-or-treat Halloween night. We are all guilty of believing incredible stories that have been proven to be urban myths. It is human nature to be excited about sharing new information with others. So, when we hear a story that has all the elements of something incredible and we will get credit for informing others – the temptation to believe and share the story becomes overwhelming.
There are very credible “ghost stories” most of us have believed and passed on to others. We wanted to believe those amazingly haunting stories so we could be the ones to enlighten others with our knowledge of a scary story we know will be shared with many others. Our desire to believe bizarre stories overpowers our rational thinking.
But the media is also to blame for giving the public what it wants to hear rather than what it needs to hear. I’m not exactly sure how the incident of a father putting poison in his young son’s Halloween candy in 1974 evolved into a media frenzy about the new dangers of trick-or-treating, but it appears the media fed on the public’s willingness to accept as fact a threat that never was real.
As we continue to analyze the relationship between the media and the audience in our society on “The Scoot Show” on WWL, it is fair to place blame on both the media and the audience for the false fear that has been conjured up about the dangers of Halloween treats. It appears that a story legitimately reported in the media was misinterpreted as a widespread phenomenon, rather than an isolated case. And when one person tells a story to another person and that person tells it to yet another person, each individual adds something extra to the story until it becomes a story that instills mass panic and fear.
A simple warning that it is possible to taint Halloween candy with poison could easily have led to the belief that such incidents have occurred. When a simple warning reached the level of hospitals offering to x-ray children’s Halloween candy, the story became totally legitimate.
Both the media and the audience may be to blame for the perpetration of the poison Halloween candy myth, but it should be acknowledged that the media instinctively has more interest in a story that causes fear in the minds of Americans than in a story that defuses fear.
Over the years the stories that dealt with warning people about poison and dangerous objects in Halloween candy were much more high-profile in the news than any stories that attempted to set-the-record-straight that the fear is completely unwarranted and indeed a myth.
We all love to believe a good ghost story and society loved embracing a new fear that fit the ambience of Halloween night! Maybe the thought that there is really something to fear in the midst of the innocence of trick-or-treating on Halloween gave adults a reason to be afraid. And being afraid seems to be part of the human existence. Why else would we willing go to a movie we know will scare us?
Protecting the self-esteem of all individuals may seem humane and beneficial – but it may actually be hurting society – especially young people.
A pee wee football team in Georgia was fined $500 and the coach was suspended from the youth league for one year because the team scored too many points in a game. The Lawrenceville Black Knights were leading Collins Hill 32 – 0, when an 8-year-old intercepted a pass and ran it back for a touchdown. That made the score 38 – 0 and that violated the league’s “mercy rule,” which states that no team is allowed to beat another team by more than 33 points.
Brooke Burdett, the mother of 8-year-old Elijah who intercepted the pass and ran it back for a touchdown said, “He had no idea. This is his first year. This was his first touchdown. He is an 8-year-old boy making a pick-six.” Burdett believes it is unfair to punish the team for her son’s accomplishment.
The concept behind the “mercy rule” is part of a continuing trend in this country to protect the self-esteem of everyone – particularly young people – but that comes at the expense of dismissing accomplishments.
We have all heard stories about schools across the country giving everyone an award. There have been campaigns to do away with grades because the self-esteem of the students that do not make good grades is damaged when other students excel.
While it can be argued that any efforts to protect self-esteem are civil and honorable, there should be a discussion about the negative impact protecting self-esteem has on individuals.
First - and most importantly – life is not fair and not everyone is a winner all the time. But it is imperative for every young person to learn that life isn’t fair and you can’t always be a winner. No parent wants to see their child fail at anything, but the idea that everyone is a winner and everyone is rewarded robs young people of learning very important lessons in life.
Also – by discouraging the recognition and rewarding of excellence – society is disregarding an important element – incentive. Striving for excellence in any aspect of life is an integral part of the idea of competition. It is in our human nature to compete. One of the reasons for the collapse of communism is the equal pay and treatment of all workers ignored the human spirit. Communism has succeeded in China, so far, because the communist government allows a free market society, which recognizes the human desire to compete.
When I hear about a football team of young kids being punished for their success, I think about the damage this is doing to our society. The 8-year-old boy who intercepted a pass and ran it back for a touchdown did exactly what he was taught to do – score and win. An 8-year-old boy should not be taught that his accomplishment was detrimental to his team.
When Lawrenceville was leading Collin Hill 32 – 0 – they were not trying to run up the score. Collin Hill had the ball and was trying to score when a pass was intercepted. It is unreasonable for anyone to expect the 8-year-old – at the moment he intercepted a pass – to look up at the scoreboard and do the math that another touchdown would put his team over the 33 point lead limit and that would violate the “mercy rule.”
I played sports when I was in middle school and junior high – but I wasn’t very good and there were others who got all the attention and the awards. I also remember a time in junior high school when I started a band and we played dances around the area. I was the drummer – but I was not a good drummer. One day the band got together and kicked me out of the band I started! That was hurtful and a very difficult and embarrassing moment in my life – but it taught me to always strive to be the best I can be. I also learned that I didn’t have to be good at everything and we are all challenged – as kids and even as adults – to find the things we can do better than others and work hard to be the best we can be at those endeavors.
Winning is easier than losing – and we learn more from losing. It is also important to teach young people that you can lose without liking the idea of losing. True winners are carved out of losing moments.
In college football and the NFL, there are teams that are totally dominated by other teams. Often - long before the game is over - a team faces the realization that they will not win the game. So, what keeps them going? Why do they keep playing?
There are times in life when we must learn to do something for the sake of pride. Regardless of the field of competition – a football field, a classroom or an office – sometimes you strive to be the best you can be even in the face of certain defeat. Winning based on a tangible score is not as important as the self-respect – and the respect of others – that comes from challenging yourself to do your best. Striving to be the best – even in defeat – forms the habit of being a winner.
While doing your best often leads to winning - proving to yourself and to others that you will always do your best even if there is no award at the end – demonstrates the character that winners are made of.
Rather than protecting self-esteem by making sure no one loses or that losses are downplayed – whether in sports, the classroom or the workplace – it is far better to encourage those who are not succeeding to work harder at achieving their goals.
We have evolved into a nation that is so protective of self-esteem that we discourage winners. It is far better for us to be a nation that encourages winners!