Hunter Smith, a good character

I watch the television channel ESPN Classic more for the classic than for the sports. However, last week I saw a feature that really caught my eye. Hunter Smith was a punter and snap-holder for the Washington Redskins football team. He is a twelve year veteran and has an exceptional career at his post. He has even thrown and ran for a touchdown during his brief appearances on the field. His career has been one of consistency both at punter and more importantly, at least to this story, as a kick holder. December 12th, 2010 came down to a final play, an extra point kick to send the game into overtime. Hunter Smith received the snap and bobbled it and Washington lost the game. The ball was wet, the snap was incredibly high and hard to handle plus the Redskins lost the opportunity to win several times that day through mistakes of other players. Hunter Smith was released from the the team for his mistake. I am slow to second-guess any boss as they see a larger picture than most onlookers, however this seems unfair. During the post-game interview, Hunter Smith took full responsibility for the failed extra point. He had not been let go from the team yet, so a more clever person might have tried to spread the blame around to other team mates. Here’s is the thing; this world has plenty of “clever” people and they cheapen our world, what we really need are some folks with the sort of character displayed by Hunter Smith. It starts in the elementary school. A child gets poor scores or causes trouble. His or her parents should support school-sanctioned disciplinary actions or ask the child to improve his/her report card, instead they become clever and scheme. They blame the teacher or the school and yell and scream until the school backs down. The child then learns to cleverly scheme from the very people charged to develop the child’s character. This results in a child that never grows and matures. This child will also have a rude awakening when they enter the real world and find that mommy and daddy can not always display their own lack of character and be rewarded for it like back in grade school. It is said there is no more important job than parenting because it affects people for generations. It must be a legacy of character and not one of clever deceit that begins with mom and dad. We are a litigious society, we have enough attorneys now in the United States to assign each of them as a character in every existing lawyer joke-and they need work. No one ever accepts responsibility for anything-even when they burn their mouth on hot coffee. People now sue fast food companies for their own obesity instead of taking responsibility for themselves and pushing away from the table. President Harry Truman had a sign on his desk that said “the buck stops here.” The buck never stops anymore until it gets it’s day (deserved or otherwise) in court. The kind of character displayed by Hunter Smith who, even when thrown into that horribly unfair situation with a wet football and the high snap, stood up and accepted his situation seems rare. His parents must have told him he would sometimes fail and that he should deal with it with good character and do his best. He also accepted the responsibility without blaming others or playing it out in the court of public opinion. People look to the superstars of sports for role models, however in this case the special teams ruled the day. Not bad for a kick holder.

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