Ever coach an athletic team? Ever been the parent of a young athlete? Ever bought after game cokes or snacks for the players or treated them to an ice cream? I have done all three.
In fact I remember jostling for position to get the post-game coke at the ball fields behind Concord Elementary a long time ago. Regardless of what color you ended up with, orange, lime green or dark brown, they were all cokes. The old joke of the Yankee stopping at a store in Kentucky and asking for a coke and the girl asking him, What kind you want? (It was funnier in the days before Diet Coke and Coke Zero and Cherry Coke, well you understand.Something about the University of Miami football story about the convicted Ponzi scheme caused the above the thoughts today. It was sort of that random connection that occurs listening to the radio while actually doing something else. What you say? Hear me out, I submit that buying cokes for kids at the Concord ball fields is almost exactly like slipping a $50 or a car to use for the night (or week or month) or giving a ride on your yacht to a college ballplayer. Look answer this question honestly, why did you buy those kids the cokes or the ice creams or get some better bats and balls out of your own pocket? Because it gave you pleasure to spend your money that way and to be kind to others. You enjoyed the happiness of the players, the excitement and to some extent you enjoyed, even for a few moments, being “the man”.
Why did the Ponzi scheme guy give money, booze and so forth to footballers? Same reason, it gave him pleasure and it made him “the man”.
Ok, it isn’t exactly the same thing, one violates rules (but generally not laws and I hesitate to say ethics) that athletes agreed to, and the other doesn’t. However, one can’t outlaw human nature and when these stories show up no one ever makes the point that this keeps happening because some folks like the players and enjoy seeing them happy and having fun. Sure sometimes guys do it to get inside info for betting, sometimes they do it because they want to corrupt kids, but I bet you that the most common reason is to help someone out and enjoy the pleasure that comes from that.
It will not ever stop under the current system, because humans can’t stop being human. Doubt me? Then think about this: imagine John Wall living in Lex for four years. Coach could keep it under control for one year, but four no way. John would not have had to spend a dime and much of the time folks would have just wanted the pleasure of being nice to a young man that they enjoyed watching play ball
Ok, so the Ponzi guy saw the athletes as prospective suckers, but in many cases these problems start because folks are being kind.
cross posted at darkbloodyground.blogspot.com