Social media does not fit into my lifestyle and is not a regular part of my routine. I do send birthday wishes to friends on Facebook, but that’s about the limit of my online social encounters.
All those other sites mean nothing to me, and frankly I probably don’t associate with that many people who do frequent them.
I recently read of the Atlee junior league softball team from Mechanicsville, Va., which is made up of young ladies aged 12 to 14. Bear in mind that I refer to them in that manner somewhat tongue-in-cheek. As it turns out, the actions of a few affected the team’s opportunity to participate in the Junior League World Series championship game.
One of the team members posted a picture on Snapchat with a caption, “watch out host.” The host team, of Kirkland, Wash., lost the nationally televised game to the Atlee team while being accused of harassing the Virginia visitors.
The posted picture was of six Atlee team members displaying extended middle fingers, or in the vernacular “flipping the bird.” When the post was brought to the attention of the league officials, the team was disqualified from the championship game.
To many, it may seem to be a harsh lesson for the entire team. After all, only six of the girls participated in the unsportsmanlike action. Be that as it may, it still reflects on the entire team.
As can be expected, the reaction of the parents and supporters of the girls was varied. While some understood and agreed that the punishment was just, there were others who wanted some blame put on the Kirkland girls. They realized that their team was disqualified, but felt it was unfair that the other team was allowed to advance.
I should hope that all young people who participate in sports of any kind and are still taught the fundamentals of fair play and good sportsmanship. After all, along with learning the importance of teamwork, that’s why we continue to encourage them to be involved in sports.
Sometimes, it seems, the adults fail to serve as the proper examples. Sometimes adults will turn a blind eye to bad behavior in the name of winning. Sometimes adults forget that winning isn’t everything.
In this case, the adult in charge did reprimand the players and required an apology to the other team prior to the game. The team manager did not agree with the decision to disqualify the team.
“It’s a travesty for these girls,” he told the Richmond Times-Dispatch. “Yes, they screwed up, but I don’t think the punishment fit the crime.”
In what universe is it deemed acceptable for teens of either gender to post a picture like that? What could they have possibly been thinking, if they had been thinking at all? I cannot think of anything that would justify such inappropriate behavior.
I suppose that the most difficult part of all this for me is the fact that so one seems to be shocked by the picture itself. Oh, it’s been taken down from the site, but you can rest assured that screenshots were made and that it will remain in circulation for quite some time. Again, where is the outrage for the vulgarity that is associated with the photo?
Going back about 50 years or so, I can only image what would have become of me if my parents had caught wind that I was in a picture like that.
Candidly, I’m not even certain that one could even get a picture like that developed in those days.
I agree that those girls exercised extremely poor judgment and even worse taste when that picture was taken and posted online.
There is a valuable set of lessons that they can take from all this. It is my hope that all the members of this team will learn to respect authority, display genuine sportsmanship and exemplify the proper attitudes toward themselves, their teammates, their parents and supporters by being well-behaved, honorable young ladies.
David Coffelt is a Harrisonville area resident and his email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.