Keri and I briefly lived in Boston and got to experience it’s ardent fervor for Red Sox baseball. We were able to attend several games at Fenway and became fans ourselves. (I figure you can root for one team in each league, thus I can root for the Braves and Red Sox.) The Red Sox – Yankees rivalry is well documented (and perhaps even over-hyped by ESPN, itself geographically situated between the two cities). The rivalry has been particularly heated in the last couple of years with fighting and trash talking on both sides. Having attended a Yankees-Sox game myself, I can testify to the fact that the fighting does not just happen on the field, but goes on regularly in the bleachers (no doubt with a little help from Bud.)
Now a school in Acton, MA has issued a challenge to both teams: Shake hands before your opening-day game at Fenway. Apparently, the Merriam School was having with kids who rooted for one team taunting and bickering with those who rooted for the other. So they really had to work at developing peace and sportsmanship, and decided to extend the challenge to their heroes. They matter-of-factly thought that since they shook hands with the other team in Little League, there was no reason such an act of sportsmanship shouldn’t take place in the Big Leagues. I agree. Turns out, though, that an ESPN survey found that around 58% disagree with the idea of an opening day handshake (at least as of the time this post was written.)
We’re talking about a sport whose integrity is in serious question because of steroids. The use of steroids is without question cheating, and is indicative of a “win-at-all-cost” mentality that extends beyond this one sport, and beyond sports in general. A little sportsmanship won’t solve these kinds of deep-seeded problems, but it would help.