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Monday, April 30, 2012

Are we defined by the sports we play?

    I have become a Marylander in most ways but I still haven't found myself understanding the lacrosse craze of the state.  I love crabs, appreciate the beauty of the Chesapeake Bay and the Eastern Shore, root for the Orioles and the Ravens and even have sauerkraut with turkey.  But I don't understand the appeal of a game that was invented by American Indians.  The Sun's sport pages these days seems to have lots of space for lacrosse in comparison to other high school sports.

    Years ago when I coached my daughter's youth softball teams you could always identify the natural athletes among the young players.  When my daughters played on their high school softball teams I would ask whatever happened to one of the talented young softball players I remembered and I would always get the same response, "She plays lacrosse."  Lacrosse was seen as the sport that the "cool kids" played.  Softball didn't have the same status level.  Lacrosse certainly has an elite status when you see how the prep schools all have high level teams and the best college lacrosse teams seem to come from colleges with high academic standards like Johns Hopkins.  Cross country is also stereotyped as a sport for smart kids. Most high school cross country coaches don't have to check athlete report cards to see that the athletes are academically eligible.  This type of elitism seemed in past days to only be associated with golf and tennis.

   Watching how politicians pander to voting blocks by trying out sports of the "common folk" like Mitt Romney talking up NASCAR in North Carolina or Obama trying to bowl in Pennsylvania it is apparent that many times we are defined by our sports.  John Kerry was even mocked for participating in wind surfing as being elitist. Most voters don't identify with Harvard graduates. 

    Lacrosse seems like a fine sport and it certainly is good exercise for young people.  I just wish that baseball and softball still had appeal for young people as it did when I was young and it was "America's pastime."  Yea, I know as my kids remind me "Dad you are just so out of date."

1 comment:

Julia A. McCready said...

" But I don't understand the appeal of a game that was invented by Indians." 

Maybe you might rephrase this? It doesn't some across very well. Where in India was lacrosse developed?