By Mark Zinno

I have always believed in evolving. Things are always changing. Either you can change with them or be left behind. With that, I understand times are dramatically different now then they were even five years ago, let alone 10 or 20. In the sports world, it has a set of rules all its own. Whether it’s good or bad, we’ve come to a “win-at-all-costs” and “championships are the only thing that matters” ideology. It started at the professional level and has quickly moved down into the college ranks. As a society, I think we’ve allowed it without much resistance because basically it is all adults living in an adult world. Even college students and student athletes are expected to be mature enough to handle it all.

We’d like to think that we, as a society, would not want that to permeate down to the high school and youth levels. Sadly, it has. The Jackie Robinson Little League team had all their wins from run to the title vacated because they had kids outside of their designated geographic district playing on their team.

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What the hell has happened to us?

I find it extremely hard to believe that this was a small group of coaches looking to get an advantage for their team and everyone else involved was just an innocent bystander. Kids knew. Their parents knew. The coaches knew. And everyone stood idly by hoping no one would notice. We’ve allowed Little League to be corrupted. Seriously! What the hell has happened to us?

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The absolute worst thing in society is to corrupt and harm children who don’t know better and can’t defend themselves. And it’s happening. And it’s pathetic! ¬†Look, no one is going to jail over this. No real harm was done. No one was physically hurt here and no laws were broken, so let’s keep this in context, but I can’t even stomach the concept that adults would allow this to happen. Furthermore, they were complicit it making it happen!

What the hell has happened to us?

I mean, when will it stop? Are we going to start giving kids performance enhancing drugs next? (God I hope not!) How many corners are we going to cut as adults and parents for our kids? Here’s a concept – teach your kids that it’s okay to lose in life! Not everything goes the way you want in the world. Deal with it! I’m all for making sure your kids have a better life than you do, but what are you telling your kids when you have to lie, cheat & steal to get it for them? It’s okay to lose! Not everyone gets a trophy. Not everyone deserves a medal. Teach your kids that. Or even more importantly, go hit them grounders until it’s dark. Practice with them on weekends. Be a parent!

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There is no way to correct this. The damage is done. And life will go on. But the stain of this will be remembered for a long time. The only hope we have is that the stain reminds us that we can ever act like this again. Sadly though, our society has become so de-sensitized to all of this, which is why no one has an answer to the simple question, “What the hell happened to us?”