“No one wants to be a part of that. No one wants to see that ugliness.” This is how Kim Mulkey started her comments about a bench-clearing altercation between her LSU Lady Tigers and the USC Lady Gamecocks in the recent SEC Championship Game. When South Carolina senior Kamilla Cardoso and LSU sophomore Flau’jae Johnson got into it at one point late in the fourth quarter, Cardoso and almost the entirety of both teams’ benches wound up getting ejected. After this opening comment, however, Mulkey changed direction. “But I can tell you this; I wish she would’ve pushed Angel Reese. Don’t push a kid—you’re 6’8”—don’t push somebody that little. That was uncalled for in my opinion. Let those two girls that were jawing, let them go at it.” This line of thinking troubles me. I confess, I did not see the game. I have watched tape of the shoving and bench clearing. I have tried to find the fuller conversation by Mulkey. However, Mukley seems to say, “No one wants this ugliness if it is a mismatch of size like that which occurred in this scuffle." In other words, "This shoving is only uncalled if there is this mismatch of size. But let two girls go after it if they are size-matched better.” If that is what she is saying, I am bothered. This perspective just reinforces the broken idea that competition is striving against your opponent. My opponent is the enemy to overcome, to jaw against, to push, to shove, if it takes that to win the battle. In God’s mind, competition is to be a striving with your opponent, not a striving against. In this design, players are grateful for their opponents, because, without them, there is no game. Without them, there is no getting better. But the Fall ruined that design. Striving against one’s opponents became the norm of competition. Winning at all cost became the ultimate mantra for athletes and coaches. Why? Because competition went from being a place to express our glory as image-bearers of God to establishing our glory as broken, marred, corrupt people. What were your thoughts when you either saw the scuffle or heard the comments by either of the coaches? (Post in the comments.)

Posted by Bob Schindler - Community Host at 2024-03-12 13:14:18 UTC