Now Please Remain Seated for the National Anthem?

We’ve all heard the sport announcer say “Now please rise for the playing of our national anthem”. The national anthem, the song of our country, is played before every sport match or event across the country, no matter if it’s a high school basketball game being played in a tiny Nebraska town or an NFL football game being played in the big city of Seattle. The national anthem has been a highly iconic symbol of our country ever since it was first written. Because the national anthem has such a great meaning to our country, it should be required to stand for the playing of our country’s song, right? Not necessarily.

When San Francisco 49er’s quarterback, Colin Kaepernick, refused to stand for the playing of the national anthem at the NFL game, it spiked some serious controversy about whether or not standing for the national anthem is truly a respectful thing to do. If it were me personally, I would be standing for the playing of the national anthem every time, no matter what. I respect our country and everything out country has done for us. According to the comparison article, Refusing to Stand for the National Anthem: Top 3 Pros and Cons, Barack Obama even said that the quarterback was “exercising his constitutional right to make a statement. I think there’s a long history of sports figures doing so.” So even according to the Constitution, it is not required to stand for the playing of the national anthem. Kaepernick was trying to make a statement and disagreed with all of the hate and racism that was occurring in the United States at that time. Not standing for the national anthem was definitely an effective way to make a statement that could be heard around the country, however, in my opinion, I feel that the national anthem and our country should be respected and shown that respect by taking a stand. The article “This is why you stand for the National Anthem” has some great points as to why athletes should stand for the national anthem and provides a basis of my opinion on why I, personally, will always stand for the national anthem.

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NCAA Drug Testing Policy

The NCAA has established some very specific drug testing policies for its athletes. These drug testing policies can be found here in the complete NCAA Drug Testing Program Booklet. In my opinion, the majority of the rules and drug testing procedures that the NCAA has in place are very satisfactory.

One area of controversy is that street drugs should not be on the list of drugs banned by the NCAA. If street drugs were taken off of the list of banned drugs, NCAA athletes may be more inclined to use them. In this case, it would be completely the decision of the athlete to use drugs that have a very high likelihood of having a negative affect on his or her athletic performance and more importantly, his or her overall health and well-being. What I am saying here, is that I think it is a good thing to have street drugs on the list of banned drugs because it is an effort to try and keep the athletes safe and healthy.

One aspect of the NCAA banned drug list that I do not like, however, is that the list of banned drugs is listed by class, not by specific drug. The list of drug classes that are banned can be found here on the NCAA banned drugs poster. In my opinion, this leaves leeway for error or mistakes to be made by coaches, athletes, and athletic directors because there is a lack of specific drugs listed. I think that there should be a complete list of drugs, chemicals, and substances that are banned by the NCAA rather than just a list of classes of drugs. I realize that this would require a significant amount of effort, however, I think it would clarify the banned drugs much better.

http://www.ncaa.org/sites/default/files/2016SSI_DrugTestingProgramBooklet_20160728.pdf

http://www.ncaa.org/sites/default/files/3.%20Banned%20Drugs%20Poster.pdf

Participation Trophies: Self-esteem Boosters or Motivation Killers?

In today’s world of youth sports, participation trophies are awarded to young athletes more often than not, it seems. No matter if the kids won or lost the season or even a single game, the same golden trophies are awarded to each and every child. In some cases, even the children who showed up to just one practice or even not at all receive a trophy.

Parents and coaches who support giving out participation trophies to young athletes say that they want the kids to feel “special”. They say that each child deserves the trophy for simply working as part of the team and finishing the season. Every kid should be a winner. According to Ashley Merryman, in her article titled Forget the Trophies, Let Kids Know it’s OK to Lose, participation trophies are giving kids the total wrong message. It is telling them losing is so horrible that it just can’t happen. Parents and coaches may not want to hurt kids feelings, but in my opinion, they need to look at the bigger picture.

If kids are awarded participation trophies all throughout their childhood, think of how their mindset will be later on in their high school, college, and adult lives. They will think that simply showing up and putting in some sort of effort entitles them to some kind of award. Kids need to know that losing is OK. Losing and making mistakes is what builds you up and enables you to improve and really succeed, not only as an athlete, but as a student, employee, and many other areas. Youth sports are something where kids develop work ethic, teamwork skills, character, and determination. That all is taken away if participation trophies take the stage. Life doesn’t just hand out awards for trying, and so neither should youth sports.

Reference Articles:

http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2016/10/06/should-every-young-athlete-get-a-trophy/forget-trophies-let-kids-know-its-ok-to-lose

http://www.mercurynews.com/2015/09/25/should-kids-in-sports-get-trophies-for-just-participating/