|My son and his son: Little League Baseball|
IT MAKES SENSE TO ME
By Larry Peterson
I coached/managed Little League Baseball for many years. At the end of every season every kid on the team received a trophy at our annual dinner or picnic or whatever else the league decided to sponsor that year. Giving a trophy to each player, no matter how good or bad or clumsy or geeky they were, was always the right thing to do.
It was for ‘participation’ and participation meant each young person was a part of something special, that being the team. Most importantly, it signified effort and commitment and sacrifice on each child’s part to win a spot on a team. There were tryouts that required coming to the field and ‘showing what you got’ to the coaches who were lined up holding clipboards and observing. Then the kids were drafted and placed on a team.
The new teammates would meet, be introduced to each other by the coaches and then begin practicing. Practices could be three or four nights a week (maybe more). Then followed the season and so forth. The kids invariably became friends, learned teamwork and camaraderie, and win or lose, at the end of the season they had all been part of something. The bottom line was—they had committed and followed through.
Some players were outstanding young athletes. Others could not remember the correct way to hold a bat in their hands. It did not matter. The kids always knew who the prime players were and who were not. Those who were not, always got at least one AB (at bat) and played two innings per game. That is why they all received a ‘participation’ trophy. They earned it. They came to practices, sweated like everyone else, and then rode the bench for most of the season. The outstanding players received individual awards. One player was usually awarded the Most Valuable Player trophy and one was awarded a plaque for having the highest batting average or most home runs. The other kids were always fine with that because they knew it was the right thing to do.
Look, every high school and college athlete in the country gets a ‘Letter’ when he or she participates all season in a school activity. Participants in baseball, football, basketball, band, gymnastics, wrestling, track, and so on are awarded ‘Letters’. Some players rarely get off the bench to play. But they earned a spot on the team and received a ‘Letter’ just like everyone else.Then they would get ‘Letterman’ jacket and have the letter sewn on it. When they wear their jacket they are representing their team and their school. They are proud of it. They were a part of something special. Many people actually keep their Letterman jackets their entire lives and they may never have gotten off the bench when they were players. But they had made the team and were part of it and nothing can ever change that fact.
There are extremes in this politically correct--‘don’t hurt anyone’s feelings environment’ that exists today. Recognition for earning straight A’s and making Principles List or getting all A’s and B’s and making Honor Roll is a GOOD thing; yet some schools do not want to give that recognition. But they fail to realize that the other kids can use that as a goal to attain. This is extreme and a failure to teach young people that reward and consequence are a part of life. There are even some sports programs where they have decided not to keep score so as not to hurt anyone’s feelings. Life is filled with ‘ups and downs’ and they are depriving the children of this valuable lesson.
What youth sports primarily teaches is teamwork and socialization skills. It helps develop lasting friendships. If some of the overbearing ‘my kid is perfect’ parents would stay home and leave their kid(s) alone we might all be better off.
©Larry Peterson 2015 All Rights Reserved
IT MAKES SENSE TO ME
By Larry Peterson
The Associated Press has reported that the Connecticut Supreme Court has decided the death penalty “no longer meets society’s evolving standards of decency. My brain locked up as I found myself stuck on the word “decency”. Decency, decency, decency—a smack in the head from my own hand jumped the needle to ‘evolving standards’. Sorry, all the words together were “evolving standards of decency”.
Smarty pants that I am I googled “evolving standards of decency”. I expected a ‘nothing available’ response. Ta-da–not so. A bunch of stuff popped up. It seems that the “evolving standards of decency” is part of the Eighth Amendment . I had no idea. It seems that the Supreme Court had declared our Constitution a “living” document in 1958. That is when the Constitution became subject to change as society developed further from whence it came. Oh me, oh my–egg was on my face.
If I was still back in 1965 I would not have paused for a moment giving those words a second thought. Back then, there existed an accepted ‘mode of decency’. Lucy and Ricky Ricardo and Jim and Margaret Anderson did not even share a TV bed. They slept in twin beds. I’m not sure if Ozzie and Harriet ever allowed us into their bedroom. Men gave up their seats to women and held doors open for them. The words; “excuse me”, “thank you”, “may I”, and “please” were used commonly. But that was 1965 and now it is 2015. What has fifty years of “evolving standards of decency” in our civilized, sophisticated world, a world that includes such TV shows as “Naked & Afraid”, brought us? Just think about it.
One thing I have never been able to wrap my head around is the right to “Freedom of Expression”. If you want to burn and stomp on the American Flag go ahead, burn and stomp away. According to the SCOTUS, that is a “right” under the Constitution. But show me where ‘Freedom of Expression’ is written into the U.S. Constiution? It is not in the Constitution. Freedom of Speech is. That means we are free to speak (you know, use words that come from our mouths as we so choose.) Back in the day, when “decency” was the norm, we did not use every conceivable expletive known to mankind in public, over the airwaves, and especially on the ‘big screen’ at will. We had this strange notion that we needed to set a good example for our children. We had a modicum of civility and respect toward each other, even when we were ‘offended’.
Since the SCOTUS approved this concept of ‘evolving standards of decency’ it holds true that (IMHO), based on personal opinion and outside political pressure, The Constitution, a document written and designed to give rights to the people before any government, has been forever weakened and can never be the protective document it was meant to be. And We, the People, did it to ourselves. How? We are the ones who vote and it all starts there.
©Larry Peterson 2015 All Rights Reserved
(As the parent of a daughter who was stillborn on September 6, 1978, I am fully cognizant of the LIFE that was lost to us and her siblings. My wife (who passed away from cancer in 2003) almost died that day in a valiant attempt to get to a Catholic hospital so the baby might be baptized. That is a story for another time but, as a man, I understand the insanity of treating tiny people in-utero as nothing more than “products of conception”. Trust me–they are not. They are people, just like us–only a lot smaller.
The reports about Planned Parenthood’s calculating, impersonal and clinically callous disposal and sale of aborted baby parts is so hard for me to fathom. Many folks feel as I do, that these actions are simply heinous. Now, with the latest revelations of Planned Parenthood’s actually selling the complete cadavers of aborted babies for profit, we may have equaled the Nazis in an unparalleled cold-hardheartedness. In fact, since these tiny people have no-one to save them once they enter the sanitized and legalized death camps spread all across America, maybe we have become the most heartless and ruthless generation of all time.
What is so astonishing is that so many folks do not see anything wrong with participating in a holocaust that has claimed more than fifty million lives. Many of these people seem to be no different than me. They work, pay their bills, mow their lawns, and celebrate Thanksgiving and the Fourth of July. Yes, and they go to church and pray too.
There are many notables among them including a sitting president, the leading Democratic presidential contender and many more “upstanding” people such as the former Speaker of the House, and the former Senate Majority leader. There are academicians, professional people, doctors, lawyers, even clergy and many others. The proof and fact of LIFE in-utero is all around them yet they deny it. I do not understand.
They may look like me and walk like me and laugh like me and like pizza like me but none of them are like me. For I am sickened by the actions that they condone. Yet they consider these same actions as a “constitutional right”. Maybe they need to listen to a non-American, Stojan Adasevic, a Serbian abortionist responsible for over 48,000 abortions and the ‘regular’ work day that changed his life forever. These are a few of his words (the rest are in the video trailer, The First Hour, and the following link .)
©2015 Larry Peterson All Rights Reserved