2000-11-11 / Letters

Whatever Happened To Good Sportsmanship?

Whatever Happened To
Good Sportsmanship?
Dear Editor;

The Subway Series was a phenomenal moment in history for New York and Major League Baseball. However, one question still hovers in the back of my head as I walk across City Hall park and step over the remaining red, white and blue tickertape from that Monday afternoon. What ever happened to sportsmanship?

Of course you know that I am talking about the poor sportsmanship that New York Yankee Roger Clemens displayed in Game 2 of the World Series. New York Met, Mike Piazza fouled a Clemens’ pitch that broke his bat in half. As the splint landed in front of the pitcher’s mound, Clemens spitefully hurled the broken bat in the direction of the star catcher. At first, I couldn’t believe what happened. But soon my shock turned to anger, at not only his refusal to apologize but also at Major League Baseball’s dismissive attitude toward his poor behavior.

Children mimic the behavior of adults. And although not all athletes intend to be role models for every budding Mickey Mantle, athletes like Clemens must know that when they cry foul and display poor sportsmanship it’s going to make the headlines and lead off the six o’clock news.

There is simply no excuse for such childish and violent behavior. In this day of multi-million dollar salaries, it seems as though sportsmanship has become one of those forgotten requisites for the job.

This lack of sportsmanship is not only seen in professional athletes but in parents too, who must learn to quash their "win, win, win" attitude for the sake of little Timmy or Cindy. Parents must be the perfect models of behavior and instill in their children a sense of pride in doing a job well done.

New York is a baseball town. Let’s hope the poor sportsmanship shown by Clemens doesn’t go down in history along with this Subway Series. As sports journalist Grantland Rice once wrote: "For when the Great Scorer comes to write against your name, he writes not that you won or lost, but how you played the game.’

Let’s hope that parents will explain to their children that good sportsmanship is a great lesson. A lesson that for all of us wouldn’t be such a bad idea.

PETER F. VALLONE


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