Who’s got that Kneeling Feeling?

The heading rhymes with one of the most poignantly sad popular song “You’ve Lost that Loving Feeling” by the Righteous Brothers (Sorry, if you were not born when this song hit the scene; but you should check it out sometime – it is one of the greatest ballads ever over a lost love).

But I digress.  Much has been made of NFL players and a growing number of copy cats kneeling in protest of, let’s call it generically injustice.  I am not going to join the chorus of the pro or anti kneeling advocates, my voice would just drown in the almost hysterical cacophony surrounding the subject.

All I want is to do is shed some light on the issue from an angle that is rooted in direct personal observations.  With up front apologies to my daughter who was a star athlete: “darling, the following is not about you, it is about the system”.

My daughter played two years division I and another year division II basketball.  They give you a full scholarship and the chance to shine on the court, in return you give up your freedom.  The program makes sure that you are well taken care of, after all, you are a precious asset.  So, you are being told where and when to show up and what to do when you get there.  You are told when to go to bed and when to get up, and you are told what you can eat and what you should avoid.  In other words, the only time you are allowed to make a decision may be on the court – and that had better be a good one!

In other words, my daughter did not have a chance to become a functional adult during her late teens and early twenties.  I was frustrated to witness that when she left college, she had problems finding her bearings in society and functioning like a normal human being.  Eventually, she overcame this handicap, and I am proud to say that she has fully taken charge of her life.

The case of my daughter is one of a female athlete with no chance of ever becoming a pro and therefore only a handful of years of stunted growth.  Now think of the promising young male athlete.  He is being wooed and coddled as early as in middle school but certainly no later than high school.  Subsequently, he may spend a few years in college and then join the ranks of the professionals.  With that background it is highly unlikely that this young man has a clue how the world works.  Therefore, his opinions, while undoubtedly honest and well meaning, are irrelevant.

Mind you, the problem is not with those young athletes who somehow think that they are both entitled and obligated to opine on the issues of the day.  The problem is with us, the American public. Why in the world are we listening to these super talented and overprivileged children?  In what way are they representing something other than who they are, highly fortunate superstars?

It is mind-boggling to witness pundit after pundit projecting their own thoughts into those children on that field, instead of simply stating matter-of-factly “Just Stand up and Play, Please!”

The very same can be said for all other public performers. Of course, there are always exceptions, but overall the elevated status our society grants athletes and entertainers is a sign of societal decay.  A society that values performers over those who make things, serve others, teach others, and explore the universe will ultimately wind up in an unsustainable world of make belief that is bound to collapse in on itself.  I pray that my little daughter will not live to see that day.

j

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