The Breakdown: No matter how it seems, there’s still some hope in sports |

The Breakdown: No matter how it seems, there’s still some hope in sports

summit daily news
Summit County, Co Colorado
Sports editor Bryce Evans

Imagine going to an MLB game this season with a 5-year-old kid who loves baseball. You scan the field, looking at all the millionaire players ripping home runs and shagging fly balls.

Sure, they’re making plays and doing things that you can’t see at any other level of the sport in the world; they’re the best there is.

But could you, without any hesitation or doubt, look at that kid next to you and tell them, “Watch so-and-so, that’s how you play this game?”

Charles Barkley once said in a famous TV commercial that he’s not a role model.

Support Local Journalism

That may be pretty obvious considering his recent arrest for a DUI or the time that he threw a man out a bar window for purposely spilling a drink on him.

But that’s not really my point.

In light of recent events ” in nearly every professional sport ” it’s become increasingly harder to have any faith in pro athletes.

From A-Rod’s juicing (and lying) to Michael Vick’s work with animals, athletes just keep letting down all the people that look up to them.

And that’s not to say that there are no positive role models in sports, because there definitely are some. People like Tiger Woods or Peyton Manning or even the Nuggets’ Chauncey Billups are athletes that you can say do things the right way.

People like that are few and far between, though.

Now, I constantly argue that sports are a great way to teach people life lessons and to build character. However, I don’t think that comes from watching sports on TV. How much can you really learn from watching someone that lives in a fantasy world where they can justify making millions of dollars for playing a game while a teacher struggles to pay rent or a social worker can’t afford to put food on their family’s table?

I’d say not much.

If you want to learn some life lessons from sports, spend a few minutes with Summit High’s wrestling coach Jack Byrne and ask him about his team’s experience in the regional tournament a couple weeks ago. I’d doubt that you’d hear too much about pins and points, or wins and losses. Even though his team did very well in the meet, he’d rather tell you how the kids decided to donate $300 to an opposing wrestler and his family after he’d had been diagnosed with cancer the week prior.

“Our kids just realized that we’re all in this together,” Byrne told me after the meet. ” … The kids just saw the bigger picture.”

The money was from the Tigers’ early-season fundraising, in which they raised $800. The rest of the money is going toward buying toys for The Children’s Hospital in Denver.

How about building some character?

The SHS boys’ basketball team closed out its winless season Wednesday night with its 22nd loss. Watching that final loss to Golden, you’d never guess that you were watching a team that hadn’t tasted victory once, that basically had nothing to play for. They played hard for all 32 minutes, never gave up as the score slipped away from them in the third quarter and played unselfishly the whole night.

“It’s hard to not win a game and keep doing something that you might not want to do,” said senior Talon Roggasch, who had never played hoops before this season and only went out for the team because Summit was severely low on numbers. “For the sake of pride and the team, everyone hung through, and I’m proud of every single player that stuck with it.”

My point is that the valuable part of sports aren’t learned through watching millionaires on TV or even catching a game in the stands. Don’t get me wrong, I love watching pro sports, maybe a bit too much, but you don’t get much out of it except entertainment.

Sports become important when you’re standing on a court only playing for the other four people out there with you.

Sports matter when you can look beyond wins and losses to do the right thing.

Although I don’t think I could point to any pro player and feel comfortable telling a 5-year-old kid that they’re someone to look up to, I know that if they pick up a bat or a glove, they’ll be better for it.

That’s why ” even if I can’t believe in a Charles Barkley ” I’ll always have faith in sports.

Like it? Hate it? Have a better idea for a story? Let Bryce know at bevans@

Support Local Journalism

As a Summit Daily News reader, you make our work possible.

Now more than ever, your financial support is critical to help us keep our communities informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having on our residents and businesses. Every contribution, no matter the size, will make a difference.

Your donation will be used exclusively to support quality, local journalism.


Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.