The Richard Sherman thing went wild until totally overdone with everyone weighing in on his post-game display. After mulling it over and trying to see the side of people who support him, calling his reaction evidence of his “passion,” I came to one thought: how would I have felt if my child behaved the same way? I don’t mean my child as a large, adult NFL player, but on the small ball level, how would I feel if my kid did this on the field now?
I am ultra competitive to the point where I have made both of my kids cry during video games. I won and celebrated in a small way, and they cried, even though I never said anything about their quality of play or that I’m better than them or got into their face. Losing sucks, even when it’s low stakes and to your mom. When my kid makes a basket or scores a goal, high fiving teammates is earned (and high fiving a teammate after they have done something good is part of being a team, too), but taunting or getting into the face of an opponent is unacceptable. Had my child ever behaved the way Richard Sherman did, I would have been livid, embarrassed, and our ride home would have been one long talk about sportsmanship. Winning is easy, yet last Sunday night, we saw that it wasn’t true for everyone.
Be a passionate player. Celebrate after your big play or big win, but once the play or game is over is when the trash talk ends. Imagine a seven year old taking off after an opponent he just beat, to crow in his face. It’s awful and obnoxious, and coaches get on it and parents on the sidelines get upset. If Sherman’s supporters can honestly say that if their kid acted in the same manner, that they would be proud and defend it as expressing passion, then I will believe their argument for Sherman. If you’d have a problem with your Pop Warner player acting the way Sherman did, then let’s not defend his behavior. Calling out bad behavior on your own team doesn’t make you less of a fan, it shows strength of character.
No matter which two teams advanced after last Sunday, the Superbowl was going to be the old v. the new. The traditional quarterback v. the new mobile quarterback. I had wanted the new style to win out, but after watching the way Sherman ended the game, I’ve changed my mind. In this case, the new kid has much to learn from the old school.