In the next couple of weeks, we will have another college sports invasion. Folks will actually take off work or suddenly find an illness. IT departments across the country will notice an increase in bandwidth. Brackets will start flying around. Trash talk will fill social media. Yes, it is time for the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. The madness starts in mid March and this year will culminate at the beginning of April. Sixty Four teams playing with all of their hearts and hopes for all to see.
Men and Sports are huge. It’s in our culture. And in certain parts of the country it is more than culture. It is a life unto itself. I’m from an area of the country where college football signing day is followed more closely then the NFL draft. Talk about pressure on a young man. Think about it. From the age of six, some boys are being groomed for that one moment. To sign. To go to college with the ultimate goal to go pro. Now, don’t get me wrong, there are some phenoms out there. Those with an extra special gift. But what about the vast majority? What about the average player? What happens to that young man’s esteem when “The Glory Days” are over?
For many young men, they find their identity in sports. And for many others, they loose their identity to sports.
I just want to simply pose a few questions this month about young men of color and sports. Why is it that our sons are so visibly celebrated in sports? Who do you see dominating in sports? In basketball it is primarily men of color.
Here’s an interesting graphic from the NCAA’s Race And Gender Database.
So why is this? Why are Division I school basketball rosters top heavy with African American men? Are all of the black men on these campuses viewed as athletes? What about the young men who are not athletes?
What about the ones who are attending purely on academic merit? And I know there are some outliers with Division I schools and academics. I am not saying that the student athletes attending D1 schools do not deserve it based on academic merit. But what I am saying is that for the next two weeks, folks are about to loose their mind following games where predominantly African American young men are playing on television. This is a powerful image for a young boy of color to see. Of course the younger ones, like my two tween boys, are going to want to strive for some of that shine. But are we truly celebrating our boys for who they are and what they can do outside of carrying a ball?
My oldest son loves to participate in sports but totally for recreation. I asked my son the other day if he was good at sports, and he confidently said yes. Sorry for the brag, but he is quite the soccer player. However, being a great
I know I asked a lot of questions in this post. But the reason for this series is to start a dialog. So the conversation. Am I crazy? Are the only things others celebrate of our young men is their athletic ability? What about the boy who is a creative thinker or an innovator? How should we celebrate our sons? Leave a comment. Or if you have a blog post that enhances this conversation, link up with us with the link button. And this week if you have a son, tell him that you are proud of him no matter what.