Play better, end the whine fest - The Buffalo News
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Play better, end the whine fest

My kids have heard the speech a thousand times. I don’t want to hear any complaining about the officials. Play better. I don’t want to hear any moaning about the coach. Play better. I don’t want to hear any whining about opponents talking trash on the field/ice/court/backyard/street/living room.

Play better.

But why would they listen to me when all they hear is incessant whining that has taken over sports? Not only has it become accepted these days, it’s encouraged. It has given entirely new meaning to a message that has been handed down from generation to generation: Act like a professional.

The last thing anyone needs is children acting like professionals because all too often professionals are acting like children. Sports have become a giant team of A-Rods who are coached by Nick Sabans, managed by Danny Ainges and owned by Mark Cubans. When in doubt, pout.

It’s endless.

Landon Donovan and his legion of loyalists moped last week when he was left off the U.S. roster for the World Cup. Sure enough, he scored two goals and set up another Sunday. Boy, his supporters said, he really showed them. Actually, he showed them the passion that was lacking before the team was picked.

Hey, Landon, if you’re not happy, play better, play harder – sooner.

The Red Sox are in last place in the American League East. They had a .240 team batting average, third-worst in the AL. Their starting pitchers allowed 24 earned runs in five games before Monday. Reliever Craig Breslow gave up five runs in the seventh inning alone Sunday in an 8-5 loss to the Rays.

But the defending champs weren’t nearly as angry with themselves after the Rays handed them their 10th straight loss as they were about Yunel Escobar swiping third. Boston redirected its ire after Escobar stole on defensive indifference during their big inning. In other words, he took a base they gave him.

The Red Sox started whining from the dugout, which led to Escobar barking back and pointing toward Boston’s bench, which led to Jonny Gomes racing from left field to push Escobar, which led to three ejections and juvenile comments after the game about whether it broke the so-called Baseball Code.

“I thought it was a little icky,” Red Sox bench coach Torrey Lovullo told the Boston Globe after the game.

A little icky? This is big-boy baseball. The Rays showed how a team can score five runs in a given inning. The Red Sox did the same Monday against the Braves. Joe Maddon recalled how former Red Sox star Jacoby Ellsbury stole second when Boston had an 8-2 lead in the playoffs last year.

Hey, Red Sox, play better.

Canadiens coach Michel Therrien has been crying about the Rangers throughout the Eastern Conference finals. Montreal has been without star goalie Carey Price, knocked out of the series after a collision in Game One. Therrien had two Rangers assistant coaches removed from watching practice before Game Four.

Rangers coach Alain Vigneault couldn’t allow Therrien to whine by himself, so he joined the war of words. Every time a call goes the other way, or they feel the slightest of slights, they’re whining. It was refreshing to hear Vigneault file a guilty plea on behalf of his team for penalties called against the Rangers on Sunday.

But that only came after they won in overtime, of course. The tone would have been different if the Habs won in OT and tied the series. Instead, the Canadiens are stuck in a 3-1 hole. They’re looking for answers, knowing they have excuses. And goaltending has not been their biggest problem.

The Canadiens need to ... play better. It’s what the Rangers did after trailing Pittsburgh, 3-1, in the series in the second round.

It reached a point of ridiculous a few days ago when Pacers trash-talking guard Lance Stephenson whined about LeBron James’ mouth. Stephenson claimed it was a sign of weakness from James, who had scored 26 points in victory against the Pacers while Stephenson scored 10 in defeat. James fired off a few verbal jabs during the game, but that wasn’t what bothered Stephenson. He was offended because James apparently isn’t a good trash-talker. Basically, Stephenson whined because James wasn’t on the same verbal level as all-time talkers Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson and Larry Bird. All this from Stephenson, a guy who has been whining since he stepped foot into the NBA.

NASCAR drivers can’t complete a lap without whining about one another. Everybody whines about video replay in sports, which was designed in part to prevent whining. The Cubs are whining about rooftop fans getting a free view, which takes away sponsorship money and leaves an inferior product on the field. For heaven’s sake, play better.

By the way, I fully understand that I’m whining about other people whining. But for the 1,000th time, kids, do as I say – not as I do. Leave the whining to professionals like me. After all, nobody whines more than parents.


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