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Life Lessons

A Nation of Wimps

“I don’t believe professional athletes should be role models. I believe parents should be role models.” ~ Charles Barkley

If you love research on sports, the new Journal of Sport Administration and Supervision could be for you.

The first issue, recently released by the sport management program at Middle Tennessee State University, contains several articles, including an excerpt from “A Nation of Wimps” by Hara Estroff Marano.

Other topics include:

• Do BCS National Championships Lead to Recruiting Violations?

• Social Problems in Major League Baseball

• Student-Athletes’ Perceptions of Men’s Basketball Head Coaches’ Competencies

Few topics affect more people than “A Nation of Wimps.”

With millions of young people involved in sports, and double that amount of parents sending them out to play, athletics amounts to a cultural force. But what is the nature of that culture?

It’s a culture that seeks to sanitize the childhood years, and take away challenge and failure. Marano sums it up this way: “Although error and experimentation are the true mothers of success, parents are taking pains to remove failure from the equation.”

Another article of particular interest of coaches examines how student-athletes view their coaches. Written by Michael B. Phillips & Colby B. Jubenville, the article points out that it’s not just coaches who are doing the evaluating.

“While coaches are constantly making evaluations about their athletes, student-athletes are also formulating assessments about their coaches’ personalities and behaviors.”

Yes, the way a coach carriees himself/herself can make all the difference. As astronomer Carl Sagan said, “… the fact that some geniuses were laughed at does not imply that all who are laughed at are geniuses. They laughed at Columbus, they laughed at Fulton, they laughed at the Wright brothers. But they also laughed at Bozo the Clown.”


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