Hardball-hardbat: A call for change from aluminum to wooden baseball bats in the NCAA

Ever since hits and home runs increased significantly after a leading aluminum bat manufacturer introduced the ABlack Magic bat in 1985, a controversy has raged in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) concerning the use of aluminum baseball bats. The first Abat summit with members of the NCAA Baseball Rules Committee and executives of aluminum-bat manufacturers was held in the summer of 1994. From this point on it was evident that the ability of manufacturers to manipulate the size and weight of baseball bats created an injury hazard and a player-development problem for collegiate-level baseball players. Although small steps have taken place to limit the hazardous equipment, a final solution would be found in a mandate by the NCAA for its member institutions to make a permanent and exclusive switch from aluminum bats to wooden bats. Specifically, this mandate should be directed to those programs at the Division I level where the baseball players are strong enough, fast enough, and skilled enough to injure one another by their use of aluminum bats.

Call for Change: Player Safety

Baseball bat manufacturers, through advances in modern technology, have been able to create aluminum bats that are lighter in weight than wooden bats yet still meet the required measurement and size standards. These lighter bats allow for faster bat speeds during swings that result in a greater hit-ball velocity. Because the ball exits the aluminum bat with a higher velocity than would a ball from a wooden bat, there is naturally a greater danger of injury to defensive players. “Any idiot can see that the ball jumps off an aluminum bat faster than off of a wooden bat,” said Jim Morris, head baseball coach at the University of Miami. This favors hitters but is obviously dangerous to pitchers and infielders (Heavy Metal, p. 27, 1997).

Although the NCAA is aware of the danger involved with aluminum baseball bats, the organization has refused to make a permanent switch to wooden bats. The rationale postulated by the NCAA for its stance is that there are risks in all sports and that pitchers and infielders are aware of those risks (Bloomberg, 1998). While the NCAA is steadfast in opposing a switch, its Baseball Rules Committee did agree in 1998 to stricter guidelines on performance standards for aluminum bats in order to provide a safer player environment. The committee had received research that illustrated the recent rising rate of serious injury to pitchers from batted infield line drives. The new standards prohibit the development and use of an aluminum bat that produces a batted ball speed of over 93 miles per hour. The interesting fact here is that this was the established standard for wooden batted ball speeds. The obvious question here is, instead of creating wooden bat standards for aluminum bats, why not just use wooden bats?

Easton Sports, Inc., one of the industry’s leading aluminum bat manufacturers, filed a restraint-of-trade lawsuit against the NCAA and is seeking $267 million in damages and injunctive relief. The suit was filed in the United States District Court in Kansas City, Kansas.

Ultimately, the adoption of revised aluminum-bat regulations brought lawsuits from aluminum and wooden bat manufacturers who sued under the premise that the NCAA had conspired to lock the other out of the bat market (Hawes, 2000). The Baum Company, a manufacturer of wood composite baseball bats, claimed the NCAA aluminum standards were lax and that in addition to being unsafe, aluminum bats were also preventing the Baum Company from selling wooden bats to NCAA schools (Kan, 1999). The Baum Company also accused the NCAA of conspiring with aluminum bat manufacturers in order to eliminate competition from wooden bat makers. In this case, the court ruled that the NCAA’s refusal to change rules further or to ban aluminum bats is lawful (Kan, 1999). As a result of the Baum Company ruling, Hillerich and Bradsby and Easton Sports, Inc., the industry’s leading manufacturers of both aluminum and wooden bats, dropped their restraint-of-trade lawsuits against the NCAA. Within the ruling against the Baum Company the court illustrated how the NCAA had the lawful right of refusal and the lawful right to adopt bat standards for the protection of players (Kan, 2000). Therefore, the NCAA has the right to modify its aluminum-bat requirements or make the switch to wooden bats.

In July of 2000, the NCAA Baseball Rules Committee ruled that there would be no immediate changes in the specifications for manufacturing baseball bats. This rule was based on the recommendations of the NCAA Baseball Research Panel, which reviewed results from laboratory testing and performance during the 2000 intercollegiate season. Don Kessinger, associate athletics director for internal affairs at the University of Mississippi and chair of the rules committee, stated that the recommendations of 1999 restored balance to the game and made the aluminum bats perform more like wooden bats.

While higher standards are better than no standards, because the standards can be circumvented there is a need for the outright elimination of the use of aluminum bats at the college level. A recent study by the University of Massachusetts found that a loophole exists in the new aluminum bat standards (Hawes, 2000). This research shows that it is possible to physically change the center of swing gravity with an aluminum bat. This is done using a technological weight-shifting technique in manufacturing the aluminum bat. This center of gravity change allows the aluminum bat to still meet bat standards but when used in the field, the batted ball speed may greatly exceed the standard ball exit speed. With wooden bats, however, it is not possible to shift the center of gravity in order to achieve this advantage. This loophole in the aluminum-bat rules will allow manufacturers to create an aluminum Ahot bat capable of harder hits which will again lead to a greater safety hazard for infielders and pitchers (Hawes, 2000).

Call for Change: Player Development

Although potential injuries are the most important factor, there are other reasons that call for a switch to wooden bats. Studies show that with an aluminum bat, a hitter can make contact with the ball at almost any point on the bat and achieve the same effect as a hit on the Asweet spot of a wooden bat (Forbes, 1998). This fact is evident by an examination of offensive production. Over the last five years (1995-1999), batting averages, scoring, and home runs have all increased in NCAA baseball. Batting averages increased to .301 (from an average of .296 over the previous 15 years), scoring jumped from 6.49 to 6.81 per game, and home runs from .80 to .91 per game. Therefore, not only are aluminum bats lethal against defensive baseball players, they are also distorting the development of college pitchers who have to use drastically different strategies when pitching against players using aluminum bats than they would if they were pitching against players using wooden bats. This is creating development problems for pitchers who are trying to make the transition from collegiate-level pitching to professional-level pitching where the only bats allowed are wooden.

There are also batter-development issues at stake. Many young baseball players use their college baseball careers to refine their skills in attempts to prepare for professional baseball. Fortunately, the extensive farm system of Major League Baseball allows many Division I players opportunities to play at the professional level. Wooden bats, which are used exclusively by professionals, are much more challenging to hit successfully with than are aluminum bats. The banning of aluminum bats and the use of wooden bats in the NCAA at the Division I level would help college baseball players become better prepared for either possible failure or a possible future in professional baseball (Killer Bats, 2000).

A prime example of this case is that of Marshal McDougall, a second baseman at Florida State University from 1998 through 2000. In May of 1999, McDougall hit six home runs and collected 16 RBI and 25 total bases in a game against the University of Maryland. All three of these feats, which are all NCAA records, were accomplished through the use of an aluminum bat (Bechtel, 2000). For the year, McDougall used his aluminum bat to secure a .419 batting average and record 28 homeruns. Despite the outstanding game and season, baseball teams passed on McDougall until the 26th round of the 1999 draft. Pro baseball scouts feared that he might not make the immediate impact they needed from a higher-round draftee. They also feared he would have a difficult adjustment to the use of wooden bats. In McDougall’s first summer of minor-league baseball, their skepticism was affirmed as his wooden bat produced only a .248 batting average and one home run. Most likely, an NCAA wooden-bat mandate would have never allowed for McDougall’s six home run game. However, if he had been allowed to play and practice with a wooden bat over his college career, he would have been much better prepared for the wooden-bat demand of professional baseball.

Call for Change: Cost

Lastly, when a mandate such as this is suggested, the question of cost also becomes an integral issue. It can argued that aluminum bats last longer than wooden bats and can be used in games for several years. In fact, a $1200 investment in aluminum bats can be enough for an entire team and will last three to five seasons. Conversely, a $1200 investment into wooden bats might not last one whole season. Because of the obvious differences in cost, the proposed mandate for change from aluminum bats to wooden bats is directed only at the elite level Division I teams. The Division II and Division III levels of non-elite athletes do not pose the same high risk of injury as do the players in the Division I programs. Furthermore, Division I programs that are top-25 caliber would have the added benefit of receiving sponsorships from wooden bat manufacturers.

Unfortunately, the Anon-elite Division I teams would have to adjust and absorb the cost of wooden bat use. For the safety and development of their players, however, this would have to be accepted. Division I hockey programs do not try to save money by wearing hockey helmets without face shields. That would be unsafe. Universities do not complain about the cost of football helmets. Swimming programs do not stop using chlorine in the pools to save money. It is then very justifiable to ban aluminum bats and spend the extra money to use wooden ones. The health and safety of the student athlete, in addition to the development of his skills, should be the primary concern.

Call for Change

The solution to this baseball conundrum is for the NCAA to institute a ban on the use of aluminum baseball bats at the Division I level of competition. There are several reasons for this suggested mandate for change. Because the exit speed of a baseball hit off of an aluminum bat is much faster than the exit speed of a ball hit off of a wooden bat, the safety of players (infielder and pitchers) should be reason enough for a change. There is also a need for a switch from aluminum bats because the use of wooden bats would contribute to the development of college baseball players, both the hitters and pitchers. Furthermore, if the NCAA wants to move in the direction of an aluminum-bat mandate, it has the legal authority to do such. The Association can lawfully institute such a ban under legal product selection. Finally, although the change might increase equipment costs for some institutions of higher learning, the cost is a minor price to pay for the safety and development advantages that would be obtained through the use of wooden bats.

References

Bechtel, M. (2000). Heavy metal rap: Ruthian feats by Florida States Marshall McDougall went largely unrewarded. Sports Illustrated, 92, 11.

Bloomberg, S. (1998). NCAA approves new rules for bats. The Legal Intelligencer, 13, 4.

Forbes, S. (1998). Strike em out. Forbes, 31, 1-4.

Hawes, K. (2000). Baseball bat standards return to the examination table. The NCAA News, 14, 1-8.

Heavy Metal. (1997). Sports Illustrated, 86, 27.

Kan, D. (1999). Recent cases. The Entertainment Law Reporter, 21 (3), 2.

Kan, D. (2000). Recent cases. The Entertainment Law Reporter, 21 (11), 19.

Killer Bats. (2000). Sports Illustrated, 91, 20.

NCAA Revises Bat Rules. (2000). The Journal of Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance, 71 (1), 8.

 

Ethic in Coaching?

The
history of public relations is littered with confirmations
and allegations of unethical behavior
demonstrated by coaches and athletes. The latest firing of
Indiana University’s notorious
Bobby Knight and the suspension of baseball’s John Rocker
are two recent cases that involved
poor decision making on the part of Knight and Rocker. Professionals?
One often wonders
from what moral foundation do participants in the world of
sport chose to make their decisions
and subsequently act (1). Their ethical conduct was in question
and steps were taken to
remedy the situation.

Ethics means more than being honest and obeying the law; it
means being morally good (2). Every athlete, every coach has
to face the ethical dilemma of “What is ethics and what
criteria
should I follow ?” Knowing what is right and what is
wrong defines the boundaries of ethics.
Those involved in sport organizations need to be their own
public relations expert and make
decisions on what is best for them and their organization.
But how many of those involved in
sport know how to deal with a controversial issue, the public,
etc? Coaches and athletes need to
be educated in public relations and situations such as Bobby
Knight and John Rocker could possibly
be avoided. Managers must help their employees decide what
is right and what is wrong.
But how and where do we begin?

The bottom line with regard to ethics rests within the “Golden
Rule”: Treat others in the
way you would like to be treated. This concept is not new.
The principles that shape ethical
conduct have remained constant while people have chosen to
manipulate those principles in
ways which foster self-promotion and self-aggrandizement (3).
Coaches and athletes should 1 be the most ethical persons
in an organization. The public and all of its people are constantly
observing
and scrutinizing sport organizations. Sport organizations
are in the public eye and the
public should demand nothing less than professionalism from
its athletes and coaches.

Everyone knows that athletes and coaches are role models.
Any prospective coach or athlete
should be aware of and strive to produce positive images and
public relations for the sake of
the sport organization and the community. How a coach proceeds
in developing a relationship with
the media and the public is vital. High profile athletes and
coaches should realize that public
relations is a major part of their job. Literature points
to the fact that coaches need to communicate
their role in society with various groups. Standards and tenets
should be used as a guideline
to help develop ethical behavior.

“What
is ethics” and how a coach should go about developing
a sound ethical sports program
poses a dilemma to any rookie coach or manager. Whose ethics
to follow is often in question.
How does one choose? Mark McElreath has identified five factors
that one should consider
in developing ethical behavior. Sound ethics can enhance one’s
athletic program and give a
solid foundation on which to stand and build.

Ethics is defined by Mark McElreath as “a set of criteria
by which decisions are made about what is right and what is
wrong.” The most ethical person in a sport organization
should be the coach. How a coach should develop ethical behavior
begins by looking at five factors:

  1. Tradition
    Ways in which the situation has been viewed or handled in
    the past.
  2. Public Currently acceptable behavior according to the majority
    of one and Opinion their peers.
  3. Law Behaviors that are permissible and those that are prohibited
    by legislation.
  4. Morality Generally, a spiritual or religious prohibition.
    Immorality is a charge usually leveled in issues on which
    religious teachings have concentrated.
  5. Ethics Standards set by the profession, an organization,
    or oneself, based on conscience-what is right or fair to
    others as well as to self (6).

The world of sports is bound by rules and is very fragile
in the face of the moral quest for
betterment. Those people in a position of sport leadership
must possess a strong sense of priorities,
purpose and ethics for themselves and their programs. The
sport participants and the
sport should begin with looking at the coach and the five
moral obligations a coach should possess:

  1. To ourselves-to preserve our own integrity.
  2. To our athletes-to honor their contracts and to use our
    professional expertise on our athletes behalf.
  3. To our sport organization-to adhere to organizational goals
    and policies.
  4. To our profession and our professional colleagues-to uphold
    the standards of the profession and, by extension, the reputation
    of our fellow practitioners.
  5. To society-to consider social needs and claims (7).

Moral obligations could be considered controversial, yet they
are the basis for beginning to establish a noble and virtuous
career as a coach. The explicit goal of all competitive sports
is to
win within the rules. When athletic participants engage in
competition for its inherent pleasure,
generally very few problems based upon ethical conduct emerges
(8).

Any derivation from the inherent pleasures of simple participation
intensifies the pressure
to win therein influencing the ethical constraints in decision-making,
risking the loss of important
“teachable moments” which make sport the educational
tool it can be. Lumpkin (1990)
states: When winning becomes the primary objective, other
potential outcomes are lost.

Coaches
are usually the ones initially caught up in this win-at-all
cost attitude. To fulfill their own
ego needs, coaches too often pressure their young players
to play while injured, to violate the
rules to their advantage, and to quit if they are not good
enough (9).

When the outcome becomes so highly significant that some or
all of the participants employ whatever means possible to
achieve success, then the questionable behavior is covertly
or overtly employed, to the detriment of values and sound
character, and the ideals of sport.

Today’s
interscholastic sport managers and coaches are faced with
more and more difficulty in making ethical decisions and appear
to be distancing themselves away from a solid foundation for
making
ethical decisions.

A solid foundation begins with building the five factors for
ethical behavior and moral obligations.
The adoptions of these five factors could be the beginning
of something positive for sports.
If moral and ethical values are to result from athletic programs
then coaches must emphasize
them.

One might question if ethics in sport should have principles
and values. The principles speak largely to character development,
not the accumulation of victories. Four tenets have been identified
and linked to modern sports. These tenets intertwine sport’s
ideals and ethics. Each tenet
sustains the inherent and traditional values of sports, reinforcing
the “goodness” of the experience.

  1. Athletes must always be considered ends and not means (10).
  2. The competition must be fair (11).
  3. Participation, leadership, resources, and rewards must be
    based on achievement rather than ascribed characteristics
    (12).
  4. The activity must provide for the relative safety of the
    participants (13).

These
four tenets draw from the fields of religion, philosophy and
psychology, valuesthat serve as a foundation of a way of life.
Coaches are expected to conduct themselves in accordance with
certain values or moral standards. Sport ethics should concentrate
on how moral standards apply to sport policies, institutions
and behaviors. It is presumed that standards of ethics
are not innate but are acquired or learned through models
and various life experiences. If they
are learnable, then they are teachable.

Ethical behavior in sport oftentimes requires incredible moral
courage, meaning the resolve
to cohere to one’s values in unsavory times, to resist pressures
from short-term actions not in
the team’s or institution’s long-term best interests. The
weight to conform to “politically correct”
statements and positions outweighs the necessity to express
unpopular opinions or ideas.

Numerous professional organizations provide both general principles
and rules to cover most
situations that need an immediate decision. A Code of ethics
are a common set of values upon
which coaches build their professional work. It is the individual
responsibility of each coach
to aspire to the highest possible standards of conduct. Coaches
respect and protect human and civil rights, and do not knowingly
participate in or condone unfair discriminatory practices.

Increasing
the professionalism in coaching can be accomplished by following
a code of ethics.
The role of the coach is viewed by various groups in the public.
The code of ethics not only
involves dealings with athletes, but other groups as well.
The coaches family, faculty, community
agencies, other coaches and the news media extend beyond the
gyms and fields. A positive
view should be presented as a coach is a public figure. How
the coach views and deals with
situations is based on his ethics.

Coaching professionals must recognize that while a decision
can be made alone, the effects
of the decision may be far reaching and can reflect on the
integrity of the individual who made
the decision and on his/her organization. The professional
must ask themselves questions to
consider in order to maintain an ethically principle-centered
perspective in a decision-making process:

  • Do I/we have all the information they need? Do I/we need
    to speak to someone else, such as the legal staff, to obtain
    what is needed?
  • What
    are possible options? Are they legal? Do they violate any
    federal, state,
    district, or league organizational policy or standard?
  • Do the options support my/our values and personal ethics?
    Can I/we justify
    them in the light of my/our values and business ethics?
    If not, the option probably is not ethical.
  • What are the short-term and long-term consequences of each
    option? Who or what does each option benefit? Who or what
    does each option harm?
  • Am/Are I/we still comfortable with the options? How will
    they be perceived by
    others? Could they embarrass any party(ies) involved?

After professionals weigh the options against their ethical
standards, they are ready to make their decision and share
it with those involved. The leader or coach must make sure
they conceptualize and articulate the decision so that subordinates
view it as consistent with their stated shared values and
ethics. The leader cannot completely protect themselves and
their programs from the unethical behavior of associates and
related other parties, but they can build into
their programs a strong ethical foundation that will keep
themselves and their organization strong
in both good times and bad.

A part of becoming a professional is adherence to the highest
organizational and personal ethical
standards. Leaders as well as followers in any group must
establish the ethical tone for the
organization. If leaders at all levels, junior high to college,
choose to act beyond reproach, reward
correct behavior, and refuse to tolerate wrong doing, there
is a much greater chance that the
entire organization will behave ethically.

References

  1. Reilly, R. (1995). Putting it in writing. Sports Illustrated,
    82 (2), 64, p1.
  2. Baskin, O, Aronoff, C & Lattimore, D. (1997). Public
    Relations: The Profession
    and the Practice (4th ed). Madison: Brown and Benchmark.
  3. Petersen, D. (1968). The Clinical Study of Social Behavior.
    Englewood Cliffs,
    N.J.: Prentice Hall, p 32.
  4. Staffo, D. (1989). Enhancing Coach-Media Relations. Journal
    of Physical Education, Recreation and Dance, v60, n7,p25-27.
  5. Giamatti, A. (1989). Take time for paradise. New York: Summit
    Books.
  6. ibid 2
  7. Bivins, T. (1992). A Systems model for ethical decision
    making in public rela-
    tions. Public Relations Review (Winter 1992) p. 375.
  8. Beisser, A.R. (1967). The madness in sports. New York: Appleton-Century-
    Crofts.
  9. Lumpkin, A. (1990). Physical education and sport: A contemporary
    introduc-
    tion. St. Louis: Times/Mirror/Mosby College Publishing.
  10. Merriman, J. Hill, J. (1992). Ethics, law and sport. Journal
    of Legal Aspect of
    Sport, 2(2), 56-63.
  11. Jones, B., Wells, L., Peters, R., and Johnson, D. (1988).
    Guide to effective
    coaching principles and practice. Newton, MA: Allyn and
    Bacon.
  12. Coakley, J. (1994). Sport in society: Issues and controversies.
    St. Louis:
    Mosby Publishers.
  13. Conn, J. (1997). Legal concepts and court finding in kinesiological
    settings.
    Unpublished Manuscript. Warrensburg, MO: Central Missouri
    State University
  14. Donald, L. (1988). The media and the coach, again. Today’s
    Coach, 10(6), 2-3.

The road to success comes through hard work, determination, and personal sacrifice

I
would like to break this winning formula down into “easy
to chew” bite-sized chunks. In doing so, we will look
at four smaller nuggets of truth. The first nugget is: “THE
ROAD TO SUCCESS,” the second is: “HARD WORK,”
the third: “DETERMINATION,” and the fourth nugget
worthy of a closer look is: “PERSONAL SACRIFICE.”
For our conclusion, I will ask, “Who will answer this
call?”

Let
us get started with the first nugget of truth, “THE ROAD
TO SUCCESS.” The road to success starts within a heart
that wants to be the best at something–a heart, mind, and
soul that does not want to be ordinary, but extraordinary.
These words of hope come from the roots of our country’s heritage
where ordinary people, who have a dream, work hard to achieve.
Let these words of truth breathe life into the core of your
bones. Winners never look for the easy way out. They simply
look at the impossible, and say to themselves to set their
heart upon this lofty dream and chase after it with their
whole heart. The road to success is narrow, and many will
miss it because the road to failure is broad and easy. Plant
your feet firmly upon the rock of your desire to become the
best. It is easy to fail; do not work hard, and do not have
a dream–that is all it takes. However, that is all right,
because somewhere out there is an ordinary person hoping that
is exactly what you are doing–nothing. Yes, the road to an
average, mediocre life is easy, but for those who have a dream,
the road to success is another story. Count the cost before
you start down this road; for in a month, or in a year will
you still be fighting to become the best? Oh, but the road
to success is filled with life, happiness, and sweet, sweet
victory! Are you ready to travel down this road to success
no matter what the price? Learn to enjoy the journey and be
committed to the long haul to achieve your heart’s desire.

Let
us now turn to the second nugget of truth, “HARD WORK.”
It will take hard work on the part of anyone who wants to
be the best. How much work will it take? That depends on your
final goal, or the greatness of your dream. If you want to
be the best, then you are going to have to do more than others
do. Kobe Bryant, in the off season, shoots 2000 times a day.
Are you willing to work that hard to be the best? Any ordinary
person can stay ordinary, but those who will work hard, doing
a daily routine, will become extraordinary people. Ordinary
people do not just wake up one day with large, strong arms
or legs; they use hard work to build their muscles. There
is no secret here and definitely no short cuts. No one is
born looking like Mr. Universe. Do you want to be bigger,
stronger, and faster? You must buy into this daily work ethic.
You must learn to carry this method of success into every
realm of your daily existence. If you will learn to reflect
a spirit of excellence in everything you do, the hard work
will become second nature to you. Make a name for yourself
by being the best at everything you set your mind to master.
Become a daily learner, a daily reader, and educate yourself
in the area that you want to be the best. “HARD WORK;”
there is no easy way to accomplish what no other has done.
“HARD WORK” built America. “HARD WORK”
is one element which will help you achieve your greatest dreams.
The problem with our human nature is that we want everything
right now. We have become a “microwave society.”
We want success the same way; we want it right now and we
want it the easy way. Sorry, wrong answer. If you buy into
this type of method for success, then you are the one who
probably buys lottery tickets, hoping for your millions. The
odds of that happening are stacked against you; those people
make a lot of money from those tickets. There is nothing that
pays off better than good old fashioned HARD WORK!

A
farmer goes out and works hard to plant his crop. He waters
it, weeds it, and even fertilizes his field. His, “HARD
WORK” will pay off at harvest time. If the farmer did
not water, weed, and fertilize his crop, it would yield very
little. If the athlete will not plant a crop of “HARD
WORK” he, too, will yield nothing for his effort. All
of this takes time; the farmers, as well as the athletes,
earn great rewards from their continual effort. With “HARD
WORK,” you can expect to get bigger, stronger, and faster.

Let
us chew for a while on the next nugget of success, “DETERMINATION.”
Another word that fits this section is tenacity. Never give
up your dreams. Set your mind, soul, and heart upon doing
everything necessary to become your best. Notice I said, “Your
best;” learn how to become the best you are capable of.
“DETERMINATION” means that you look at yourself
and make no excuses. As you find your weak areas, attack them
to better yourself. One of my weak areas of life was reading.
I gave up all my excuses and started reading everything in
the area of my interest; now I love to read. One might have
very weak arms; get over it and get busy correcting the problem
area. Are you out of shape? Get over it and be determined
to change that problem. Do you have problems in Math? Get
over it, ask for help, and learn. Never let your emotions
have the best of you. Control your emotions and do whatever
it takes to be the best.

A
young man won a gold metal in the Olympics on the pistol rage
using his right hand. He went home after the competition a
winner, but he had a dream to win a second gold metal in four
years. While at work, his right hand was crushed by machinery
to the point surgeons had to amputate his shooting hand. Our
young man was “DETERMINED,” and left himself no
excuses. Our athlete went to work, developed his left hand,
went back to the following Olympics, and won his second gold
metal. This, my reader is “DETERMINATION” to the
extreme. He did not have a right hand. What is your excuse?
Another high school student lost his leg, yet he plays on
the line for his team. What is your excuse? I had a friend
who had polio in his legs, making them both useless; however,
he was on our wrestling team at my school. He would crawl
after his opponents, then he would pin them. He became a wrestler
for a college team. Do you have DETERMINATION?

“PERSONAL
SACRIFICE” is next on our agenda on which to meditate.
What will it take to become the best? This section is really
all about making daily choices to stay on the narrow road
to success. Instead of another video game to exercise your
thumbs, buy equipment, which will help you become the best.
I am sure that Kobe Bryant bought a basketball instead of
video games. I am sure the man who lost his hand wanted to
give up and quit, but instead went out and bought a left-handed
gun. Instead of doing what you want to, do what is necessary
to become the best. I wanted to become a better athlete at
one point in my life, so I set a daily routine and stuck with
it, even when I did not feel like it. I asked my father to
build me a goal post in our back yard. I would go to the neighbors
and kick from their back yard, day in and day out. I won the
kicking position that year on the varsity squad. This is “PERSONAL
SACRIFICE.” Make the right choices about your diet, your
sleeping habits, and your friends (yes, even your friends.)
Place around you people who will help you achieve your dreams.
Spending time with those who do drugs and want to get in trouble
will carry you far away from your dreams.

After
working with youth for over 22 years, I see those who have
no vision or plan for their lives perish. However, those who
will make the plans and make the personal sacrifices necessary
to succeed, go on in life to be successful. I started to speak
life into the world of an eighth grader on the road to destruction
using drugs. Since then, she has become a highly successful
artist, graduating from an art college with honors. There
was a freshman, though once devastated by her parents’ separation,
has now become an elementary school teacher. My daughter,
Leia, set aside her love life until she reached her goal of
becoming a registered nurse. Keep your focus on the prize.
Set your dream, your goal in front of you, and then stay focused
on it. My daughter will graduate from college this May, and
at the age of 22 is willing to think about her love life and
place someone in her life with the same type of dreams.

“Who
will answer this call?” Those who dare to be the best
and are positive will answer the call. Those who answer the
call are not afraid of trying to become someone special, someone
important, and someone successful. It is better to have tried
and failed than to have never tried. Those will answer who
want their life to mean something and want to be remembered
for their achievements. “Who will answer this call?”
There is a call going out to all. Will you step up and answer
the call to be someone of excellence? Will you, can you, or
are you going to step on to the road which leads to success?
It does not matter where you step on to that road; it only
matters that you step on to it, and are determined to never
get off the road once you are there. “Who will answer
this call?” Few people answer this call. Will you be
the one that will overcome all obstacles in your way as you
travel long and hard down this narrow road? It does not matter
if others will answer this call; what matters are your own
deep convictions. Will you answer this call of life? One additional
benefit is others may follow if you show them the way through
your example.

I
have answered this call in my life to be the best I was created
to be. I have been on this road since 1981, and have led many
down the same road. Enjoy life by enjoying the process of
success. Enjoy those around you as you see them progress down
the same road. Rejoice with them as they rejoice with you
in the triumph of overcoming all the odds to become the best
you can be.

Coach Duane Lee Bemis M.Ed.

The
Pledge of Success

  • I,
    _______________________________, will answer the call.
  • I,
    _______________________________, promise myself to “WORK
    HARD.”
  • I,
    _______________________________, promise myself to be “DETERMINTED.”
  • I,
    _______________________________, promise to make the “PERSONAL
    SACRIFICES” needed to become a winner.
  • I,
    _______________________________, want to step on to the
    road that leads to success.
  • I,
    _______________________________, will place others around
    me who want to be winners.
  • I,
    ______________________________, on this date: _______-_______-
    2001, of my own free will, sign this pledge because I want
    my life aligned with the statement:

British Soccer Superhooligans: Emergence and Establishment: 1982-2000

By
defining match days and football grounds as times and places
in which fighting could be engaged in and aggressive forms
of masculinity displayed, the media, especially the national
tabloid press, played a part of some moment in stimulating
and shaping the development of soccer hooliganism (p. 122).

Murphy et al., (1990), believe that the amount of publicity
given to the superhooligan groups and their leaders increased
the membership ranks with “hardcases and other socio-pathic
nutters” (Murphy et al., 1990, p. 168), who were not
previously involved with soccer hooliganism.

The
media was not only engaged in reporting and predicting soccer
superhooliganism, but it also led the call for remedial action
against the soccer thugs. However, the media-advocated policy
measures introduced to combat soccer superhooliganism “tended
to displace the disorder on to the streets outside football
grounds, sometimes at considerable distances from them, rather
than to eradicate it” (Murphy et al., 1990, p. 122).

Involvement
by the media in soccer hooliganism included publishing their
own ‘league tables of hooligan notoriety.’ The Daily
Mail September, 1986, ran a headline, “Chelsea tops thugs
league” Murphy (1990), or, the Evening Standard had a
center spread page on July 29, 1985, which read, “London
league of violence” Murphy et al., (1990). The impact
these articles have had on the reader depends on individual
motivations. Superhooligans view the publicity as validating
their activity. When an article is published, identifying
the Chelsea Headhunters as the top superhooligan group, other
superhooligans view this as a challenge to knock Chelsea off
of the top spot.

The
root causes of present-day soccer superhooliganism are deep
and complex. Newspapers, in particular the tabloid press,
“have made a contribution of some significance to the
rise of present-day hooliganism and to giving it its distinctively
contemporary form” (Murphy et al., 1990, p. 124). Articles
featuring stories on superhooligan group leaders, although
not necessarily condoning them, rarely condemned their activities
either. The press undoubtedly contributed to the “intensification
of the status competition between rival hooligan groups”
(Murphy et al., 1990, p. 124), and the tabloid press has been
responsible for feature stories portraying superhooligan leaders
as prosperous and from middle class backgrounds. Exaggeration
on the part of the press, according to Canter (1989), further
sensationalized the leaders concerned, which consequently
attracted to superhooliganism some ‘non-typical’ hooligan
types. That the popular press is responsible for aiding and
abetting the soccer superhooliganism phenomenon by its extensive
and sensationalized coverage is patently obvious. The press
could have played a key role in diffusing the soccer hooligan
movement during its early stages – but it chose instead to
use hooliganism to sell papers and, consequently, led in the
emergence and establishment of Britian’s soccer super-hooligans.

References

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B. (1991). Among the thugs. London: Seker and Warburg.

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D., Comber, M., and Uzzell, D. (1989). Football in its place:
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Cohen,
P. (1988). Policing the working class city, in Capitalism
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E. (1994). The Social Roots of football Hooliganism: A reply
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