For What It’s Worth

Adult delinquents?

Much is said, written and reported about juvenile delinquents, but let’s not fool ourselves into thinking that delinquency is found only among juveniles. Adults exhibit delinquent behavior, as well.

One area of society in which unacceptable adult behavior occurs is in youth sports. You won’t have to surf the Internet long, read many newspaper articles, or watch numerous TV newscasts to encounter reports of unbelievable adult behavior. In the last couple of weeks, for instance, two such stories have received attention in the media.

One was a story about a father in Massachusetts who attended his daughter’s high school hockey games and was caught shining a laser light in the eyes of the goalie for the team his daughter was playing against. This was a man in his 40s, not a child who might not know better.

The man was arrested and acknowledged what he had done. In an interview with a TV reporter, he confessed to the action and admitted that, as a grown man, he should not have been guilty of such an action. Fortunately, there was no report of anyone being hurt or injured by the laser light.

However, in an incident in Indiana someone was injured, enough to be taken to a hospital and treated for a concussion.

During basketball practice at school, three girls on the team had a dispute of some kind and the coach ordered them to run laps as a punishment. That is a time-honored tradition by coaches. They have ordered athletes to run laps since the beginning of time, at least the beginning of sports. Apparently, though, this did not sit well with the father of one of the girls.

When he picked her up after practice, she told him about having to run the laps. According to the news accounts, the enraged father entered the gym, approached the assistant coach, knocked him to the floor, and then jumped on him and continued hitting the man. The coach was taken to a hospital and treated for a concussion. The father was arrested and charged with assault.

Dangerous or violent behavior by adults is not restricted to parents with children involved in sports. It also happens in places you would not expect it—like at a symphony concert.

Just last Thursday, a fistfight broke out in one of the boxes in Orchestra Hall in Chicago as the Chicago Symphony Orchestra was nearing the end of the second movement of Brahms Symphony No. 2. The Chicago Sun-Times reported that the ruckus began when a man in his 30s started punching a 67-year-old man, apparently in an argument over seats. Police said the older man had a cut on his forehead and the other man had left before they arrived.

How brave was that, a man punching someone twice his age? How unnecessary was it to fight over seats instead of verbally settling the disagreement?

Certainly, the type of behavior in these three incidents is not what most of us want to see modeled by adults. Juveniles observing such behavior may think that many adults are guilty of do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do behavior.

While the vast majority of us are not guilty of such violent behavior, we, nonetheless, could all probably do a better job of living the Golden Rule and being a better role model for our youth.

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