for a time is was u-c-l-a steal! steal! steal! instead of the traditional cheer u-c-l-a fight! fight! fight!
it was a petty theft. it was a stain to one of the greatest college basketball programs in history, it was an embarrassment to one of the most esteemed universities in the world, it was an embarrassment to a superpower nation, the united states, and the handling of the matter diplomatically may have cost the usa political capital with the superpower nation, china.
college students are not the smartest people in the world. i too was a college student at their college and engaged in foolish conduct. therefore, i understand how they could have made a mistake. for the students involved, however, their mistake was headline news.
the issue and challenge for them being whether they would be able to move forward in their lives on a better path. we all need second chances. they were entitled to theirs.
according to an la times article, “[t]he three players had become college basketball pariahs after stealing designer and throwaway sunglasses in addition to cheap beaded bracelets from three stores in hangzhou, china, on the eve of the bruins’ 2017-18 season. in an instant, in the eyes of some classmates and rivals alike, they went from promising freshmen to everlasting imbeciles.” latimes
“they would receive season-long suspensions, their punishment eventually lifted even if there was no way to scrub their mistake from memory.” “i didn’t want to feel like i was trying to run away from the situation or anything like that,” one player said recently. “i felt like if i was at a good position where i was at, then i just had to stand tall, keep my head held high and overcome it.” latimes
the aftermath is that two of the three players remained with the program and took their punishment and remain playing for the team. one left school.
their coach told “the two players that he would never mention what happened in china, that he was eager to help them show everybody they were great guys.” besides, the coach reasoned, who hasn’t gone through early adulthood without any significant regrets? “i think we all did something really stupid when we were teenagers, we just didn’t get caught,” the coach said. “people want to say, ‘well, no, i didn’t.’ ok. ok. i don’t wave the bible around, but somebody knows the truth about all of us. i don’t think any of us walk the earth without making a mistake; theirs just happened to be really bad timing and really public.” latimes
to coach cronin: the bible is not a banner or flag that people bring out wave to either cheer on a team or distract the opponent when they are shooting free throws. the bible is something to be studied and cherished. the bible offers important advice to all of your players. according to the bible, the first child conceived on this planet made mistakes. he was given advise accordingly. i understand your job is teaching basketball. it is unfair, however, place the bible in such a negative light on the issue.
the torah states “and the lord said to cain, “why are you annoyed, and why has your countenance fallen? is it not so that if you improve, it will be forgiven you? If you do not improve, however, at the entrance, sin is lying, and to you is its longing, but you can rule over it.” genesis 4:6-7.
is it not important to know that humans making mistakes goes all the way back in time? these players are not the first and they will not be the last in making a mistake. god understood this very early on and advised a youth that the way to get out of your mistakes is to improve as a person.
for the two players who remained with the team, they appear to be doing well. they are contributors to the team and are getting better each year. this year, the team is projected to be very competitive. thus, congratulations to them for getting on with their lives.
for the student that left school rather than accept punishment, i am unaware as to whether he has taken any time to work through his moral mistake. he does have a strong father. his father, from what i have seen of his children, has raised his kids well. i hope that he spent some time with his son addressing the issue in a positive matter.
in sum, for those who have thoughts of misconduct, this story is a cautionary tale. for those who have made mistakes, the story tells you that it is not too late to get on with your life. god believes and hopes that you can improve. it is for you to take your time and opportunity to do so. for secular teachers, you need to crack open a bible and see the moral values and inspiration that this book can provide to your students. for those who have to deal with individuals who have made mistakes, please have the time and patience to turn a negative into a positive.