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Around the Horn: Don’t Blame Me

     In the world of athletics, there always seems to be someone complaining, blaming someone else for their mistake or making excuses. It’s not just one sport either. It’s across the board whether it’s a pitcher who threw a bad pitch, a receiver who didn’t catch a pass or a basketball player passing to the wrong person. It seems like athletes seem to be too full of themselves to admit mistakes or failure.

     I watched the Cowboys game on Halloween when they played the Jacksonville Jaguars. Everyone seemed to be ragging on Jon Kitna and saying that it was his fault for the loss, his passes were terrible and he needs to learn to hit his targets better. Last time I checked the Cowboys weren’t doing good with Tony Romo so blaming Kitna for the loss is irrelevant. From where I sat, his passes weren’t bad. His receivers obviously didn’t know how to catch a ball. It was because of the receivers not catching a good pass that led to several interceptions. Finally, being a quarterback isn’t the easy job that some fans seem to think it is. You have to memorize a whole playbook, know every route in that book and throw under pressure all the while knowing that if you don’t get rid of the ball quick enough, someone almost three times your size is going to knock you flat on your back. It’s those types of situations that make me have a lot more respect for football players.

     One lesson I’ve learned is to just suck it up and take responsibility. I had one instance in my softball career that I never will forget. We were playing in a softball tournament in Garland. It was during a super close game and my coach gave me the bunt signal on the first pitch that I totally missed. I took the pitch for a strike. My coach called for a time out and signaled for me to come over to talk. He grabbed my facemask to where our eyes were even and asked me why I missed the signal. I told him I didn’t know what the signal was. He got pretty mad as he told me what the signal was and that I better not miss it again. The next pitch I laid down a bunt and the game went on as normal. I wasn’t the only girl who missed a signal. After the game, we had to run for every signal we missed and had to go over the signals until they were ingrained in our brains. If we tried to make an excuse, we ran. If we tried to blame someone else, we ran. By the end of the day, it was best just to learn the signals and not say anything else.

     One athlete who does this and just rubs me the wrong way is Terrell Owens, wide receiver for the Cincinnati Bengals. All he does is complain. I personally think he’s a drama queen and it all has to be about him. In 2005, Owens made a big deal about the Philadelphia Eagles not recognizing the fact that he had scored his 100th career touchdown. No offense to Owens but it’s your job. It’s his job to score touchdowns. Scoring that many touchdowns is impressive and is a big deal, but at the end of the day, knowing that you did that should be enough. You shouldn’t have to be recognized by everyone around you to know that you did something good. In December 2006, Owens spit in the face of Atlanta Falcons cornerback DeAngelo Hall. Owens claimed that he was frustrated and that Hall was all up in his face. Football is a sport that is in your face and if Owens can’t handle it, then maybe he should stop playing. Also, blaming Hall for something that he didn’t do is very childish.

     Athletes overall should take this into consideration. Athletes are paid to play and execute their jobs. They aren’t brought into the professional leagues to mess around or to waste each other’s time. They aren’t paid to criticize other players. Because this is the case, athletes should just put on their big boy/girl pants and deal with it. They need to just do what they’re paid to do and keep their mouths shut.

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