Friday, September 18, 2009

Heartless Friday Blogging

Prominently displayed on the Star's website this morning is the heartwarming headline "Rivals cooperate on touchdown for player with Down syndrome." This scenario is almost a cliche, and the way it's reported bothers me. Don't get me wrong, I am 100% in support of indulging the fantasies of the mentally challenged as long as it isn't harmful. It's a sweet thing to do, and I like to see people happy. But the part where everyone involved congratulates themselves on how generous they are and how they're now more in touch with human decency...well, it grates. Quotes like this:

“It was just a good thing to see people realize that the value of winning is not (as) important as it is to participate and enjoy the game,”

Reality check. Your team was down 46 to ZERO when your coach approached the opposition and asked if they'd let the player with Down syndrome make a touchdown unmolested. If you seriously think this was a moment about realizing that winning is not the most important thing, try making that deal with the opposition when you're down by 3. I can understand and support indulging the kid, I'm hesitant to go along with the self-deception of the participants.

“When they grow up and they get older, everybody will realize the impact that maybe that play (has) had — not just on that kid’s life, because Matt will remember that forever — but on some of these other kids and what they may have been a part of.”

Again, treating this like some extraordinary act of generosity. As opposed to something that cost the participants almost nothing (settling for a blowout instead of a shutout). Something that is practically set up as sentimental blackmail. Who says no to this request under these circumstances? For every hyper-competitive parent grumbling in the stands about their coach falling for the "tard card," you'll have hundreds of people touched by the sentiment and the happiness of the kid. This was an easy call. I certainly hope the other kids involved have greater acts of generosity to look back on twenty years from now.

It's a sweet story, but I could live without the over-sell.

1 comment:

  1. Well done post. Sometimes we set the bar pretty low for greatness.