Sonny Fulks
Sonny Fulks
Managing Editor

Sonny Fulks is a graduate of Ohio State University where he pitched four varsity seasons for the Buckeyes from 1971 through 1974. He furthered his baseball experience as a minor league umpire for seven seasons, working for the Florida State League (A), the Southern League (AA), and the American Association (AAA). He has written for numerous websites, and for the past fourteen years has served as columnist and photo editor for The Gettysburg Magazine, published by the University of Nebraska Press, in Lincoln Nebraska. His interests include history, support for amateur baseball, the outdoors, and he has a music degree from Ohio State University.

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The oldest book on earth proclaims that out of our mouths come that which lives in our hearts. Today’s rhetoric from our freedom to speak paints some frightening examples.

In the wake of the Dallas shootings there have been some pretty horrific sound bites from across our culture.

Frightening, when you think about what some are willing to say just because they have a microphone in their face and an unexpected chance to speak.

I’ve heard black Americans ( a former Miss Alabama) call the shooter in Dallas a “martyr”.

I’ve heard others call for the abolishment of policing altogether, suggesting that we depend on those from within the communities of our cities to “come together and police themselves.”

I hear from some that there are too many rules, and that people shouldn’t judge, or punish others for breaking those rules, because they don’t understand…or walk in those people’s shoes.

This now, after Dallas. And now more politics, and people who claim they’re better off without standards and enforcement than with it. Let anarchy reign!

But, as well, I’ll share a recent statement received from someone on a topic apart from the troubles and issues of our inner-cities. No race, no brutality, and no loss of life. Just this about sports and recognition……

“I cannot read your website anymore because all you talk about is winning, and too much about the same kids over and over who always end up with they picture in the paper and they get the money. There’s a lot of kids out there who play too and they don’t get “#$@%” because I guess they don’t win. Shame on you for saying everyone has to be like those kids with the money to get noticed.”

There’s a lot wrong with this, of course, but the thing that’s most wrong is the ever-growing cry from amongst from some in the culture – that the higher standards of accomplishment and excellence no longer have a place. Lower the bar so that we all really can be just alike. And Good Lord…what have we lost to even think about that?

Why is winning important? Because there’s simply no other alternative in life. There’s no payoff for the person unwilling to work to finish on top. No goals, no life!

Why are standards important? Because America wasn’t built on the theory of mediocrity, nor has any other nation in the world come close to challenging because it had a lower standard.

And how does sports and competition figure in the cultural picture of our past, present, and future? Well, for one, for some odd reason it’s always seemed to matter that one team, or one individual, finish ahead of the others. There are no record books for losing…except in comparison to winning.

Winning is relative, of course.  Ernie Banks never won a World Series in all his years with the Cubs, but achieved hall of fame status.  You can say, as well, for Dan Marino (Miami Dolphins).  And Hank Aaron’s accomplishments included but one title in his 23-year career.  Yet, he set the standards.

Our records, our heroes, and our legends are based on those who distinguished themselves – those determined to show that they had a higher level of skill and will to achieve. In 60 years I’ve never actually observed someone in sports who set out to lose just to prove a point.

But now, apparently, there are those who might believe that that the day has come. If you don’t achieve you get rewarded just the same. If you don’t win you still get a trophy. And for as much as we keep throwing money at the problem, according to the above person who wrote…we’re throwing the money at the wrong people for the wrong reasons.

sonny_inset1Now, c’mon. Does that make any sense?

But did Dallas make any sense?

I have no answer.  I just have an instinct about how we got to be what we are.  I’ve learned from the past, and our history. The good outperforms, and outweighs, the bad. And how we got here will yet take us where we need to go.

Otherwise, if winning doesn’t matter…will we ever know how much we’ve lost?

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