Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Dany Heatley & The Loss of Excellence in Sport

The bottom line with regard to the ‘Heatley Affair’ is that Dany Heatley epitomizes the spoiled brat attitude that many of the NHL’s superstars seem to have acquired since professional sports salaries became exponentially more ridiculous. Mr. Molloy’s apologetic musings in The Ottawa Citizen concerning Mr. Heatley does little to quell the indignation felt towards the ‘superstar’. The people Mr. Molloy is attempting to convince to cut Heatley a little slack are, by and large, hard working individuals who find it next to impossible to take their families to professional hockey games due to the prohibitive expense involved. Granted, this onus does not fall entirely towards the players since the owners and the league executives must also bear responsibility for the restrictive environment that asinine salaries have created.

However, aside from the purely economic grievances expressed, many fans are becoming increasingly troubled by the lack of responsibility and commitment that athletes exhibit when they sign multi-million dollar contracts.
Gone are the days of dedicating oneself to achieving the common goal shared by both parties, especially if one’s fragile ego is bruised in the process. True aficionados of athletic competition recognize and appreciate both the physical abilities that make an athlete great as well as the excellence of character that differentiates a truly great athlete. Mr. Heatley has done himself a disservice by failing to pursue a career that is defined by excellence of character—failing to practice the virtues of loyalty, integrity and dedication to a common cause. The ‘Heatley Affair’is an unfortunate example of a truly skilled player succumbing to the selfishness that afflicts a individual's chosen craft when it is not enhanced by an accompanying quest for excellence. Ironically, Mr. Heatley’s participation in the Olympic Games should have familiarized him with the notion of athletic excellence envisioned by, the originators of the Olympic Games, the Greeks of The Golden Age.

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