You can’t bodyslam people!

You can’t bodyslam someone because they ask you about something you don’t like.

You can’t bodyslam your coach for asking you to practice a tough drill.

You can’t bodyslam your teacher for asking you to spellcheck your paper.

You can’t bodyslam your mom for asking you to clean your room.

You can’t bodyslam your dad for asking you to take out the trash.

You can’t bodyslam a reporter for asking you about the score…of anything.

The consequences of bodyslamming another human being include, but are not limited to:

  • Jail.
  • Grounding.
  • Suspension and/or expulsion from your school or team.
  • Being slammed yourself (or worse).

Mom used to tell me to keep my hands to myself and use my words. That’s sound advice these days.

NFL changes celebration rules

Mask

The NFL changed its rules on endzone celebrations Tuesday. Group celebrations are now allowed and the ball can be used as a prop. The ball cannot be used to mimic a weapon and celebrations done in bad taste (i.e. “twerking”) or meant to show up opponents are not allowed.

What could go wrong?

Everything.

The NFL seems to have taken the pejorative “No Fun League” personally and the league will live to regret it. Never underestimate the creativity of young people and their willingness to push the envelope. To borrow from the late Charlie Murphy, young people are “habitual line-steppers” and the overwhelming majority of the league is under 26.

Things will likely will get ugly during a rivalry game. A running back will score and the new rules will allow him to include his offensive line in the celebration. The six men will start doing a version of the Milly Rock. The refs will think they’re twerking because everything is twerking and flag them or the opponents will get upset and there will still be multiple flags and ejections.

Regardless of what anyone says, touchdown celebrations are meant to show up the opponent. There’s no other reason for them. Fans won’t scream any louder than they will for the touchdown. And what’s more entertaining than a well-executed scoring drive?

The product on the field should be enough. Besides, NFL refs have enough to worry about without having to police the Atlanta Falcons’ entry into the Mask Off Dance Challenge when they play the Seattle Seahawks on November 20.

“Mask Off” is the hit single by Atlanta-based rapper Future. The song has sparked a viral nationwide dance challenge where participants come up with their best dance moves to the popular track. Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson is married to Future’s ex, R&B singer Ciara.

Russell and Future are said to not be on the best of terms. But hey, what could go wrong if the high-strung Seahawks defense think the Falcons are trying to show up their QB?

Right.

Everything.

 

How to know if you’re doing too much as a sports parent (aka The Lavar Ball Test)

Thinking Man
Be a thinking man’s (or woman’s) sports parent.

Lavar Ball is the conglomeration of every poor example of sports parenting I’ve ever written about in this space. I’ve addressed his behavior once before and there’s really no need to go there again.

This piece is about you, the sports parent who sees Ball’s behavior as over-the-top, but feels like his endgame is worth the effort. I mean, if his kids end up being multimillionaire, superstar basketball players, who cares what the rest of the world thinks, right?

Here’s the thing: You and your kid are a package deal. Your behavior influences what other people think of your child. If you are consistently disrespectful, overbearing and inappropriate, people will project those attributes onto your child.

Schools, teams and (potential) sponsors will pass on your child because they don’t want to deal with you. Don’t ever think your child is so talented that an organization can’t find another way to succeed.

Good parents give kids the tools to eventually make it on their own. You’ll always be part of the team, it just won’t always be your show. For all of his greatness, Tim Duncan knew when it was time to sit down because a young kid named Kawhi was ready. Let your Kawhi do his or her thing and sit your behind down.

You have to do some self-policing, though. You need to know when you’re doing too much. Here are three easy ways to know if you are doing too much. And if you find yourself doing any of these, stop immediately and take a step back. It’s not about you. It’s about the kids.

  1. If you make outlandish athletic claims about yourself that couldn’t possibly be true, you’re doing too much. You can’t beat Michael Jordan one-on-one, knock out Floyd Mayweather or beat Usain Bolt in a race.
  2. If you make outlandish athletic claims about your kid that couldn’t possibly be true, you’re doing too much. Your kid cannot shoot better than Steph Curry, tumble better than Simone Biles or hit better than Bryce Harper.
  3. If people talk about you more than your child, then you’re doing too much. Simple question: Why are Stephen A. Smith, Colin Cowherd, Jason Whitlock, et al. talking about you and not your kid?

Our kids are like the sun. You don’t have to make an announcement that it’s out. Just pull the shade and let their light shine.

Sportsmanship matters.

The King & I

Sportsmanship matters because the way we treat each other matters. How we treat each other matters more than the score, the trophy, the plaque and the ribbon. How we treat others matters more than the standings. How we treat others affirms our standing in the world.

We know we should treat others well; we just choose not to. We choose to trip our opponents, yell slurs at the other team and drag passengers from airplanes. It’s as simple as this: Knowledge without proof is as worthless as muscles without use. So, what we KNOW better, we must DO better!

Sportsmanship matters because most of us will never win a championship, get elected to high office or even have our dream job. However, every interaction we have with another human being, on the field or otherwise, is an opportunity to make them feel like a champion. Sportsmanship matters because plaques break, trophies chip and banners get lost. Historic stadiums get torn down and replaced by billion-dollar palaces.

Sportsmanship matters because how we treat people has lasting impact. As a matter of fact, how we treat others lasts longer than the people themselves.

At the 2015 Musial Awards, Arnold Palmer, in one of his final public appearances, shared memories of his good friend, Stan Musial. He told the audience, which included members of the Musial Family, that if we lived our lives as Stan did, we will have really done something.

I don’t know where Palmer’s four green jackets are. I don’t know where Musial’s Cardinal-record 475th home run ball is, but I do know the kind of people Palmer and Musial were. I can clearly articulate the impact they’ve had on me and the kids I try to inspire every day.

That’s why how we treat each other matters. How we treat each other is forever. Sportsmanship is forever. That’s why sportsmanship matters.

St. Louis Blues show how sports teams can stop racism in its tracks

It was Game 1 of the Second Round of the 2017 NHL Western Conference Playoffs between the St. Louis Blues and Nashville Predators last Wednesday night.  If you follow any team’s Twitter account, you know they live tweet key plays during games. This first tweet came from the Blues account after a Nashville score:

Not good news for the Blues, but there was still a lot of game left. A fan turned this into something else entirely by commenting about Predators defenseman, P.K. Subban, who is black. Subban gave the Blues all they could handle in Game 1 with one goal scored and two assists. That said, this nonsense was beyond the pale (Warning: The following contains content some readers may find offensive):

blues-tiwtter-1

My hometown team is not here for your racism:

The Blues could have easily ignored this as teams receive all kinds of ridiculous tweets that aren’t worth the trouble. However, St. Louis showed there is a line and they not only held the offending fan accountable, they also let everyone paying attention know where they stand.

After being called out for his racism, the fan responded:

Blues Twitter

Again, the Blues did not let hatred and ignorance off the hook:

The St. Louis Blues showed what sports teams can do to curb poor fan behavior and what we can all do to shut down racism. Hold offenders accountable even if they claim to be “joking.” It shouldn’t take a person of color to verify, most people know racism when they see it or hear it.

No matter what the game situation, the Blues made their expectations clear when fans interact with anyone, including opponents. St. Louis has set the bar. Let’s see if the rest of us can raise it!