Getting Out More Often

Published 11:10 am Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Commentary by Dr. Don Newbury

The admonition–one made by generations–urges others to “get out more often.”

I’ve made such suggestions many times in a spirit of good humor.

The older one gets, however, the more important it is to seriously consider such suggestions. They likely “fit.” As long as folks can “get out,” predictable results include both invigoration and restoration!.

We recently attended a high school homecoming football game; it triggered reminders of yesteryear. We “drank in” the spirit of players, coaches and fans. It was “whisper quiet” as a student voiced a prayer over the loudspeaker. Reverence continued as the bands played school songs, and at midfield, the host cheerleaders presented “welcome gifts” to their visiting counterparts.

There was a spirit of gratefulness for our nation. There was no reluctance on the sidelines by players and coaches to stand at rapt attention when the National Anthem was played. As the final notes faded into the night, fans applauded generously as the game began.

Every pre-game aspect seemed to be a throwback to the 1950s. There was, however, one notable difference. Homecoming mums, steadily becoming larger over the years, were huge. If the absolute size limit isn’t reached soon, each mum will be carried–not worn–by two–maybe three–co-eds. Ultimately, they may be on wheels.

I’m serious. Some of the mums we saw were strapped on, big enough to serve as flotation devices. Some wearers wobbled as they walked, barely able to hoist the giant corsages that were constructed on a frame outlining the State of Texas. They had blinking lights, for crying out loud.

Some seemed billboard size. State troopers could have hidden behind them, and if anyone needed to change clothes, some were plenty big enough to assure total preservation of modesty.

Mums aside, however, it was a good evening. And in this setting, we could be reasonably sure the playing field was level. Too often–particularly in recent times–football fields are tilted greatly in both the collegiate and professional ranks. Some recent revelations are sickening.

The other day, I bought a new casual shirt from the 75% off sale rack. Imprinted thereon, however, was the brand name–Adidas.

Hours later, I heard the sad news that an Adidas employee has been arrested in connection with a repulsive scheme involving prospective college basketball players, coaches and the NBA. Now I understand why the shirt was on the sale rack, and why $15 tennis shoes often cost $150.

Adidas’ integrity is tainted; the same is true for colleges and universities whose coaches stray from the straight and narrow. It will take the Adidas people many years to “dig out,” just as it will for schools associated with tilting the playing fields

Playing by the rules used to matter more. Now, fingers of blame can be rightly pointed toward authority figures. When cheating becomes common and lightly regarded–as it indeed has–we should start at the top. Reference is to governing boards. A friend of more than 50 years serves on such a board. For several years, the university’s football team has made rapid and impressive progress. Turns out, the uncovering of “cover-ups” greatly taints a decade of winning seasons. Interviewed by a national TV analyst, my friend said he and his colleagues should have been more aware of the goings on. Admitting the board was riding the wave of awesome football wins, he added, “It’s hard to argue with awesome.”

I agree, but whatever is “awesome” must be carefully monitored. In the meantime, among the options for my Adidas shirt is to find a bonfire where they’re already burning shirts and school banners whose emblems are associated with the sadness of our time.

Thankfully, all news does not dishearten. The football squad from Fannin County High School in Georgia burst from the locker room on game night, all members carrying huge American flags.

   Dr. Newbury is a speaker in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex. Inquiries/comments to: Phone: 817-447-3872. Web site: Twitter: @donnewbury. Facebook, don newbury.