THE STRIKE ZONE
Sometimes Sports, Sometimes Sportsmanship
February 2 is Groundhog's Day, and it may be a pretty dumb holiday. In fact, there are a lot of dumb holidays on our calendar...New Year's Eve/Day comes to mind.
But February 1 is actually an even dumber day in America It's National Signing Day.
This is the day when all the star high school football players reveal which colleges they will attend in order to further their career as a football player. High school kids have "reveal" events that they post on social media; they have press conferences; they basically are thrown into the spotlight with a production that is about as mature as trying to figure out the most unique way to ask a girl to the prom.
Someone is going to have to explain to me why we need this in our society.
I have constantly ripped those who use the exploitation of youth sports to further their goals. I've been critical of events like the Little League World Series and why it needs to be broadcast nationally on ESPN. This is just another example of the unnecessary junk we broadcast...and America eats it up.
It's bad enough that we are harming our youth and forcing them into adulthood with the big reveal of where they sign their letter of intent. Their egos have already ballooned to the size of Montana. They miss out on some of the joys of childhood and teenage years before adulthood hits them in the face with a biggest dose of reality they've experienced. And as a culture, we can't get enough of everything related to college sports. We are now dipping into high school sports on a national level and watching kids who may not even be legal adults yet commit to joining the college team to which we might pledge our allegiance.
Before you know it, we will be celebrating where 8th grade kids decide to go to high school...and then we'll be celebrating 6th grade kids deciding which sports they want to play...and then we'll be celebrating toddlers as they announce which elementary school they will attend...and then we'll be analyzing the decision of parents to conceive a child...and then we'll be dissecting whether or not two people in a marriage will work...
But with all that garbage being such a strong focus, National Signing Day also has one additional unique aspect to it that creates such a false sense of reality that it's time to burst the bubble. The kids who are destined to go to college to play football, as well as their families and friends, are encompassed in a fake reality that this one special person who is announcing his collegiate intent will be the savior they all need to escape the doldrums of the average middle-class life. It's as if their lives were nothing at all until they found this potential celebrity they could worship and pray that he returns with millions of dollars to divide among everyone in his entourage. Both the kid and all around him use it as a day to bask in the glory of their opportunity to show the world that it's their turn to get a moment in the sun. The ideas of personal responsibility and controlling your own destiny have become forgotten in the wake six degrees of separation from a kid who isn't even a celebrity...yet.
No wonder our culture is so messed up.