If you are a sports fan in America, you know how the NFL is shooting itself in the foot. A while back, I wrote a piece about why the Little League World Series is truly one of this country’s great sporting events. One of the things which make it so is the fact that Little League understands better than just about any other sports its place in the culture and its role within that culture.
Little League catches a lot of non-sense because of it’s adherence to “traditional values,” meaning it wholly rejects the “participation trophy” bullshit we as a culture embraced a generation ago. Thanks to that bit of mushy-headed thinking, we created a generation of kids in this country who didn’t ever understand the value of competition. That means they never learned the lessons playing team sports teaches, and worse yet, they never learned how to lose.
Watch the Little League games today and notice what you don’t see. Nothing in Little League is about “me.” You won’t see a kid throwing his batting helmet after he strikes out. You won’t see a manager screaming at an umpire. You won’t see anything even remotely resembling taunting. Little League is more than just teaching kids to play baseball; it’s really about instilling values that help turn kids into adults who are productive members of society.
Contrast that with the NFL. There’s no better place to see exceptionally poor sportmanship. Thanks to these jerk-offs, we’ve got eight-year olds taking a knee. My thoughts on that topic are already well known. In other words, instead of heaping more derision on a league that clearly doesn’t “get it,” I’d rather focus on one that does.
The National Hockey League just announced to the world that they in fact “get it.” The NHL released an eight-point set of core principles which sets it in complete contrast with the general douch-baggery of Kommissar Goodell and his National Felon League.
Just read it for yourself, and think about how long it would take to get the NFL to do something similar…and even if Kommissar Goodell managed to get his dysfunctional league to produce such a document, it would likely have a bullshit quotient so high it could fertilize the Sahara. From NHL.com
We believe every leader of the sport has the responsibility to inspire stakeholders in an effort to deliver a positive family hockey experience. Hockey participation offers families value beyond making an individual a better player or even a better athlete. The game of hockey is a powerful platform for participants to build character, foster positive values and develop important life skills. These benefits are available to all players, desirable to every family and transcend the game.
Today, guided by our common values, we jointly pledge to the following Principles.
1. Hockey should be an enjoyable family experience; all stakeholders – organizations, players, parents, siblings, coaches, referees, volunteers and rink operators – play a role in this effort.
2. Hockey’s greatest value is the role it plays in the development of character and life skills.
3. All hockey organizations – regardless of size or level of competition – bring value to players and families in their ability to deliver a positive family experience.
4. Physical activity is important for a healthy body, mind and spirit.
5. There are significant benefits of youth participation in multiple sports.
6. Hockey programs should be age-appropriate for all players, accounting for each individual’s physical, emotional and cognitive development.
7. There is great value in all forms of hockey, both on and off the ice.
8. All hockey programs should provide a safe, positive and inclusive environment for players and families regardless of race, color, religion, national origin, gender, age, disability, sexual orientation and socio-economic status. Simply put, hockey is for everyone.
We believe in our ability to improve lives and strengthen communities globally through hockey. We believe that living by these Principles will provide a healthy, balanced and enjoyable experience for all and inspire impactful service beyond the rink.
There’s really no room to argue with any of that…if you’re being intellectually honest. That is eight pure points of positivity which will actually have an impact on sport and cultuire, unlike the “look at me” non-sense the #TakeAKnee movement.