By Kyle Killgore
I used to look up to Lance Armstrong for getting back on the bike after he had so much tragedy on his body and in his life. I refuse to believe that Armstrong got back on the bike to suffice his sponsors. I believe that Armstrong got back on the bike because that is all that he had left. It was the only way for him to be himself.
It’s sad to see the message sports are sending. Rather than playing for the love of the game, as did the greats of Yogi Berra and Muhammad Ali, athletes are in it for the money.
Sports have become a business, and worse than that, many athletes feel that they are above the world. Point in case— Tiger Woods. If you have lived under a rock for the last year and don’t know, Woods thought that he could get away with his life of infidelity by hitting a golf ball decently.
A more recent example is Brett Favre, who thought he could get away with sexually harassing female sports analyst Jenn Sterger. Athletes feel that they are above the rest of the world and can do whatever they want to do.
This is even apparent at the collegiate level. A few weeks ago Bryan Kelly, head football coach at Notre Dame, conducted practice in extreme winds. This cost the life of a student video photographer who fell off the scissor lift that was elevated over 50 feet in the air. Kelly thought that it would be okay to practice in the dangerous winds. It would build character, of course.
Don’t think that I’m pinning this all on Notre Dame. In most high-profile sports, winning comes first. Winning gets fans, fans help get boosters, boosters give money and all is well.
It is refreshing to know that here at Southwestern, money isn’t the driving force. In fact, the minimal amount of money that the school gives to its athletes means that the athletes who are getting their scholarships are not here for the money. They are playing for the love of the game.
Watching Southwestern athletic competitions is refreshing because athletes aren’t about showing up their opponent, or playing because they have a hefty check from a booster left in their locker. They are playing because they love the game. They are risking their bodies, giving their time and playing with their heart.
In the football locker room I heard head coach Ken Crandall and defensive coordinator Dion Meneley talking about how players are to play for the people who are standing next to them and who have been with them all along. The team is playing for the common good and they are coming together as a team and as friends and as a family.
Sports are about the pride in your team, the pride in yourself and the love of the game. With that I’ll close with the great words of Willie Mays.
“In order to excel, you must be completely dedicated to your chosen sport. You must also be prepared to work hard and be willing to accept destructive criticism. Without 100 percent dedication, you won’t be able to do this.”
Kyle Killgore is a freshman majoring in journalism. You may e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.