mardi, août 23, 2005

Eschewing Gaza and Roberts and Niger and Other Matters, ILIM Tackles the Really Tough Topic - Little League Baseball

So, I’ve written before about how I think boxing should be illegal. I would, of course, extend that to ultimate fighting, and kick boxing and cock fighting (it should be illegal in all 50 states). I have always abhorred cock fighting and bear baiting. I will forever abhor cock-fighting and bear baiting.

I will admit to a perverse thrill with the women's boxing. My therapy appointment is set for next week (they promise I'll be cured).

Here is another item from the world of sport where I may fall out of the mainstream. You ready? It’s hard hitting.

I don’t think the Little League World Series should be on television. Sorry to just spring that on ya like that.

Here are my reasons:

The boys who are on television are just boys, and they are too young for all the attention/pressure/impact/glory/humiliation of the experience.

There is no comparable opportunity for girls to be on television and to receive the glory attendant to appearing on television. [Closed circuit to all the logicians in the hizzy: yes, I know that I started by saying television is bad for kids, and now I’m complaining that girls should get to be a part of it too. My arguments here are visceral, and I have given myself permission to be ridiculous.]

No other sports for young people are on television – nor should they be. I would not broadcast the AAU national championship basketball game either. I would not broadcast young track stars, and under no circumstances would I broadcast young darters.

Television adds a corrupting glare to all things, especially sports. Children’s sports are more sensitive to the corruption and there for merit heightened protection. The potential for sponsorship, for cheating, for overuse of young pitching arms, for showboating and poor sportspersonship increases when you add the spectacle of television. It bothers me to see a young infielder make an error on Sportscenter. It bothers me to see a young pitcher give up 6 runs in a late inning and then look dejected. It really bothers me to see a young boy hit a grand slam and have his name gleefully announced by Stuart Scott or Linda Cohn. It's wrong to me. Wrong.

Who among us would wish for the Little League Baseball the same fate that has befallen College sports where it's all just and industry, and most of the fun has been sucked right out of it?

Who among us would wish for the Little League Baseball the same fate that has befallen high school basketball where elite kids are extracted, sent to Nike and Addidas camps and put into the limelight, often years before they are ready for it?

Who would argue that for college athletes and for high school hoop heroes, sometimes, all the wrong things are prioritized in their lives?

Anyway, those are my main reasons.

Yes, I know that select kids are on television for sports. The world of women’s tennis has had its share of teen phenoms. LeBron James had lots of coverage (and – IMHO it did him much damage). Michelle Wie seems to bask in media attention. It’s just that in my view, this should be the exception, and not the rule. And even applied to select kids, it always seems to have a Capriatian potential for ruin (and for redemption - God bless her). As a father, an avid sportsman and a hack blogger, I think the risk of ruin is not worth the rewards (if any there are).

Please weigh in on this most important topic! Slap me on the back or set me straight.