To the editor:
On Dec. 19, the Journal-World published a story entitled “The Other Guys,” which distinguished two “star” players on the Lawrence High School varsity boys’ basketball team from the “other” boys on the team. This unfortunate nickname was repeated by one of the “stars” in a post-game interview.
As someone who knows two of those “other guys,” I was highly offended by that designation. It immediately reduces the team to just two players who are simply supported by the other kids in uniform. Don’t you know that basketball is a TEAM sport? Don’t you know that learning to work as a team is a character-building experience for boys of this age? How dare you interfere with their development as caring, sharing young men with strong self-esteem and the ability to celebrate the good in others.
Maybe sportswriters regularly slap quippy titles on the athletes they cover. Maybe it’s acceptable for NBA players — men who have the stats, the egos and the salaries to justify those nicknames. But let’s not forget that the LHS Lions are boys who are becoming men. Don’t underestimate the long-term damage you can do by labeling these young people just for a clever headline. Let’s do a better job of building up ALL of these boys instead of just two whose scoring stats are made possible by the hard work and the awesome talent of the so-called “other guys.”