Memo to the NCAA

Perhaps it’s a new phenomenon, or perhaps I’m becoming more curmudgeonly, but it’s gotten that I cannot abide watching the aftermath of NCAA basketball games. It’s almost a certainty now that, in the event of a close game, at least one player on the losing team will wallow about on the floor, covering his face and grimacing and crying like, well, a big fat baby. It’s especially nauseating when juxtaposed with all the camera-mugging, muscle-flexing, gang-posing, I’m-a-big-man-because-I-play-with-a-ball boisterousness that defines most modern college athletics.

On the other hand, I suppose this dissonance is captured, for college basketball, in a single image: the spectacle of muscular, tattooed, seeming warriors strutting about in baggy silk culottes that might as well come with a matching man-purse.

But even if you dress like a sissy, need you act like one? I understand it’s an important game, and that you desperately want to win, and that you yearn for victory with all your precious, over-inflated heart. But man up. The other team was better. Or maybe just luckier. Or maybe you should have practiced your free throws harder last summer. Whatever the reason, the gods of basketball have found you wanting. So pull up your big-girl panties and get over it. And if you’re going to cry like a big overgrown sissy, at least have the self-respect to do it in the locker room.


  1. Gray

    I believe that if you have devoted your entire life to excelling in something as skill specific as basketball and you have reached the limit of your playing ability (i.e. you are not good enough to play at a higher level or to play significantly at a higher level) and the game that you just lost is the end of the road. I understand the tears, but I don’t like to see it. So my frustration is more directed at the network director for showing too much of that.

    I believe that society at large would be a better place if more people were that passionate about being good, that good at something and then actually caring when they fall short.

    Just a thought…

  2. Marc V

    Just playing for the cameras, part of the big show …

    I turned the channel with about 30 seconds to go and the Dookies seemingly headed for Hoosierland. Did they act with the proper restraint after the game as would befit a team led by the emeritus genius of Krew-a-zooski? I’m sure the Tarheels were the model of modicum last year ;), and they have a chance this year to repeat their display of cultured manners in NY.

  3. Amy

    we’ve found televised sports to be excellent teaching opportunities for the boys. Paul records games and plays back moments of poor sportmanship, like dives in soccer, and together they imitate and mock the player rolling around on the ground clutching his shin. It’s incredibly effective – if one of them goes down in soccer they bounce right back up instantly!

  4. the wife


    i appreciate your point of view – excelling and caring when one falls short…however, there is nothing manly, honorable, or respectable about a man on the floor crying. i have seen many an excellent athlete show his disappointment through triumph of character over emotion – pain in the face, tears even, but always walking upright considerate of his opponent(s) and those witnessing his defeat. i think there is a fundamental difference between bemoaning a loss and grieving having fallen short. the former lies on the floor thinking of himself only, the latter displays his grief with concern for how his falling short affects something or someone other than himself.

    and yes, it would be nice if the networks didn’t display the ninnies.

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