I started playing football and baseball in the pee-wee leagues when I was just a child. These two sports remained a fixed part of my life through high school, college, and the military. Over the years there have been many changes to the sports I played and loved—not all of them good. But one thing that has not changed is this unwritten but immutable rule: if you want to win reward your producers. What this rule of thumb indicates is that winning teams operate on the basis of merit. From the pee-wee leagues onward our coaches followed this rule to the letter. On every team I was a part of, players made the team by producing. In baseball, the best hitters, pitchers, and fielders made the team. Those who could not produce in these categories didn’t. In football, the best blockers, tacklers, receivers, and passers made the team. Those who could not produce in these categories did not.
Once on the team, we had to compete constantly to make the starting team and keep our positions on it. Those who produced started. Those who didn’t warmed the bench. Nothing was given to us. We were never safe in our positions. The only consideration in making team decisions was merit. On any given day, any member of the team who failed to produce could be benched and replaced in the starting lineup by another eager player who was happy to have the opportunity. As a result, my teammates and I knew that we had to hustle, consistently outperform others who wanted our positions, and produce. Excuses were not accepted. In other words, baseball and football were and I believe still are meritorious enterprises that reflect the natural order of the world
I do not like some of what I see on the playing fields today, but I do like that high school, college, and professional football and baseball teams still appear to reward their producers. At least on the baseball diamond and the football field, liberal notions of rewarding the non-producers in society have not yet taken hold. In saying this I acknowledge that I am discounting the youth soccer and T-Ball leagues in which every child makes the team and every team gets a trophy—win or lose. This is a bad trend, but it is grist for another mill. High school, college, and professional teams still appear to expect their players to produce or get out of the way. It was once like this in American society. If only we could return to those times when the concept of merit was the norm rather than entitlement and inclusion, our country would be better off.
Unfortunately, liberal politicians have learned that using government handouts to incentivize idleness and, in turn, promote the entitlement mentality is an effective way to build a loyal constituency—one that is so addicted to government handouts it can be depended on to vote for those who provide the handouts. Said another way, liberals have enacted government policies that reward the benchwarmers and punish the producers. What do you suppose would happen if sports teams followed the lead of liberal politicians and began rewarding their benchwarmers while punishing their producers? What would happen, of course, is what we see happening in American society. Entitlement would become the norm and productivity would be diminished.
Liberals have been successful in transforming America from a merit-based society into an entitlement society, a society where the benchwarmers are rewarded and the producers punished. Even liberals understand that rewarding the benchwarmers and punishing producers is a formula for failure in sports. How many people would attend baseball or football games if this is how high school, college, or professional teams operated? The stadiums would be empty except for the inept players on the field. It is time that America got back to rewarding winners—those who do the hard work necessary to produce in their occupations, professions, and life in general. Provisions should certainly be made to care for those in society who cannot be productive, but we should not continue to provide for people who are capable of providing for themselves but don’t because they would rather take the easy way of accepting government handouts and entitlements. What does it say about our country when the federal government recruits people to go on the welfare rolls rather than helping them get off the government gravy train?