Professionals on and off the field

Eric Wong

Watching how teams act away from the field can be eye-opening

On a typical fall Friday, the MVHS campus boasts about 30 to 40 burly male students dressed in a button-up shirt, a tie, and slacks.  Maybe they’re supposed to be ready to “take care of business” but I honestly wouldn’t trust them with mine. With some of the football team choosing to go with the un-tucked shirt and all of the team donning sneakers instead of dress shoes, the message that they send seems to be more of an “I just threw on what I had and I’m not ready to play or anything.” What happened to “I look professional and focused and ready to dominate my opponents tonight”?

The clothes are the least of my worries though.  Some of the players that I see around campus choose to fit the football player stereotype of being an anger-prone, dumb jock so well that it almost seems like being civilized has gone out of style for them.  With a tendency for having a foul mouth or displaying rude behavior, they have marred their glorified image of being the masculine athletes that put their bodies on the line every week for the glory of their team.  Maybe they can don the purple helmet and pads and work with teammates on Friday nights, but every other day, their face guards are off. Every other day, each of the players have to represent the school and streams of curse words and unkempt behavior just doesn’t cut it.

Even when the purple, white, or gold jerseys are off, we are held to certain standards.  All of us always ambassadors of MVHS during our four years here and everything we do will be viewed as a reflection of a MVHS student.  If we are on anything but our best behaviors, we cast our peers into a bad light.  We give the teams, clubs, and any organizations we are part of a bad reputation, leaving a stain that can’t be removed with time.   

So I say to the scruffy, improperly dressed players: Tuck in your shirts and put on a pair of shiny, black dress shoes.  Iron your clothes before you put them on Friday morning and make sure there aren’t any stains.  No one will hear your cursing on the field for letting your man get past you or for fumbling the ball.  No one will remember how many times the team won and lost when they were in sophomore year.  But everyone will remember you for who you are: how you act, what you say, and how you dress off the field.

And each of us should hold ourselves to the same standards, pretending we are famous athletes that everyone is looking up to and watching.  Even if we are with friends, at a store, at a restaurant, where we think no one is watching, we can’t let ourselves do something stupid.  We are reflections of every group or organization we are in and every friend that we have.  Letting ourselves down with a bad judgment call doesn’t just affect ourselves, but also everyone around us.  So remember to always act your best. Ultimately, like it or not, someone is always watching us.