The Spectacle Blog

We’re All the Same

By on 12.5.13 | 3:18PM

Yesterday, the Charleston Gazette learned of a policy proposed by the Kanawha County Board of Education that would force equal playing time for all players on sports teams at South Charleston Middle School.

What’s the rationale here?  

“[If] a kid sits on that bench all through middle school, they will not attempt to be engaged in high school. We know the kids that are most involved are the most successful," she said. "It's not just about bullying. It's an awkward age. There isn't a person that can say middle school was a great time. If we can make a minimal step to make kids feel better about themselves, we should."

That’s what school board member Becky Jordon had to say on the matter.

"I think this has been misunderstood,” she added. “Yes, there are a lot of young athletes that work really hard, and they deserve the right to play more. I just feel like it needs to be fair. I'm not saying take the superstars out of the game, but you know what? Give everyone a chance.

“We have some coaches that don't always treat everyone fair…" she continued, "and often times there are hurt feelings."

One wonders, first, how “not taking the superstars out of the game” will enable everyone to have a chance to play and, second, if the superstars aren’t taken out while others are, isn’t Jordon defeating the entire purpose of the fairness narrative she’s cooked up? Seems like welfare sports.

Essentially, “self-esteem” stands out as the only justification: This is an attempt to prevent the unknown and unknowable consequences that a “lack of self-esteem” could cause down the road. Getting out on the field when you aren’t equipped with what's necessary to succeed, however, neuters hard work and individuality, and is a real safety issue. It would fail to provide even the artificial self-esteem boost sought, and could even make things worse.

There’s a saying that goes: “It is better to be a silent and a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.” So too it is better to be tacitly worse at sports than others and ride the bench than to head out on the field and remove that doubt.

If parents care that much about playing time for their children, take their talents to the rec league. Equal playing time mandates are a bunch of hogwash.

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