After attending the Class 3A region wrestling tournament last week at Carbon High, I was reminded of just how highly today's society places sports on it's priority list.
The huge controversy which surrounded the tourney did not focus around bad officiating or poor sportsmanship, rather it focused upon the North Sanpete wrestler who was banned from the tournament because of an incident that occurred earlier in the week at his school.
For those who are not aware of the situation, the athlete was suspended from school for participating in a hazing incident which involved a sophomore student at the school.
The wrestler along with several other athletes tied the boy and then publicly humiliated him by shaving his genital area while other students looked on.
Of course, the incident prompted immediate action on the part of the school. The disgraceful fact that then popped it's ugly head up was the fact that the region wrestling tourney was just around the corner and the athlete who was suspended was one of the school's top wrestlers.
The athlete's parents then took the matter to a court room where they insisted that the student be allowed to participate in the event. The suspension should not have included the region tourney.
What kind of message is this sending to Utah students, when an athlete's parents decide to excuse an inexcusable act of hazing in order to include their son in a sporting event; one which is a privilege not a right for a student to participate in?
As a parent myself, I would take matters into my own hands if my child had participated in such a horrific event, one which not only humiliates another student, but one which is inhumane.
I'm sure I'm not the only parent who would have made the decision myself to exclude my child from the wrestling event as a punishment for their action. Instead, these parents decided to defend their child and in a sense approve of the hazing actions.
The thing that worries me is that there are surely thousands of parents who probably would have done the same as the North Sanpete athlete's parents did.
It just strikes me as amazing that the decision of allowing this athlete to compete in a sporting event came down to a judge to decide. Why? What is wrong with good old fashioned common sense and proper parenting skills.
By making such a big stink about the incident, the parents have now opened the flood gates to allow their child to participate in any type of activity whether good or bad without the chance of a disciplinary action occurring. The parents defended the child in this incident, what's next?
Sports is an extracurricular activity which athletes choose to participate in. If rules are broken, no matter how minor, the athlete should not be allowed to compete.
If a student's grades are failing, the athlete is then penalized. But if a student participates in an unkind and foolish act of hazing, the athlete should be allowed to compete. I think not!
The thing that has me upset about the whole incident is the attention that was focused upon this single athlete. The attention was not directed toward the student as a dedicated and talented athlete, rather it was directed toward a student who committed an unacceptable act and expected to not be penalized for his actions.
What about the poor kid who was humiliated in front of his peers? He was only a stepping stone for an athlete who was bound to get his own way no matter who he hurt. Or what about all the talented athletes who did compete in the tourney who deserved the public spotlight? What a shame.