It has been my long-held belief that there is a link between the quality of sportsmanship in our schools and the quality of citizenship in our society ... that if we made our games more respectful, society would tend to be more civil.
I’ve held this belief even though I’ve watched deteriorating standards of behavior in almost all aspects of society drag down the standards we’ve raised up for school sports. And frankly, I’ve admired that the standards of school sports have declined so little in comparison to the standards of society that have plummeted so far.
But now I read that the lack of decorum in this year’s presidential campaign has infected conduct at school sports events in at least three states, two of which border Michigan.
Student spectators would not shout chants about building walls to keep immigrants out of America if politicians had not created such slogans and campaigned on such themes.
Shallow, spiteful politics is doing deep damage to America, even to school sports. Of course, our coaches and administrators will attempt to use these ugly incidents as teachable moments.
But why should they have to? Why can’t those who claim they should lead the nation act like leaders? Why can’t they try to lead us to a higher level of humanity instead of inviting us to such hurtful or even hateful behavior?