Julie Smith and the death of sportsmanship

Julie Smith and the death of sportsmanship

Post by USASoftballGo » Thu, 04 May 2000 04:00:00


So Julie Smith has won her arbitration... but at what price?

Has she cost her country a gold medal?  Possibly.  What she has done threatens
to break up a group that has been working hard these past 8 months to come
together as a team and force a reconstituted group to start from scratch.
Since the current group was named, it has played (and beaten!) Australia,
Japan, New Zealand, Canada, and Italy, 5 of the 7 teams it will face in the
Olympics.  They just faced several other national-level foreign teams on their
trip to Europe.  If the team is, in fact, reconstituted, it will not have the
opportunity to face any international competition at all.  That puts the team
at a disadvantage come September.  I have great belief in our team, and I pray
this doesn't damage their chances, but I can't help but feel that this is a
tremendous setback they'll have to overcome.

Will she destroy lives?  Possibly.  Imagine being one of these women on the
team, having spent these past 8 months as an Olympian, and then being
unceremoniously pulled from the team and stripped of the dream because of
Julie's actions.  Each of these women has made innumerable sacrifices to
represent their country, and they've had to build their entire lives around the
team.  Their families, their friends, their loved ones... they're all
emotionally tied in as well -- a lot of broken hearts and broken dreams, all
thanks to Julie.

There's been an awful lot of cheerleading for Julie's cause on this board,
mostly born of everybody's distrust of the ASA.  And hey, I'm not saying there
isn't anything to that.  They're certainly not perfect.  But if they can put a
gold medal-winning team out on the field in Sydney, they've done their job.
And because the number of roster slots is limited, of course there are going to
be people who feel they should have made it, and yes, their numbers may make a
good case for them.  But let's not forget: The idea is to field a TEAM.  A
team, in this case, is composed of 15 individuals whose abilities -- both as
athletes and as teammates -- complement each other and create a cohesive unit.
Are these necessarily the 15 best players, stats-wise?  Not necessarily.  We
need not look any further than the "Dream Team" of NHL All-Stars brought
together for Nagano... remember what an embarrassment that was, both on the ice
and off?  The U.S. Softball Team should be composed of the 15 players who, as a
unit, have the best chance of winning the gold.  And that, my friends, is the
judgment call placed in the hands of the selection committee.

As far as Julie Smith goes, that totally unbiased article (pardon me while I
snicker) by Ray Foster on the Fresno State Softball website repeatedly praises
her "superior leadership, conduct, attitude, experience, and maturity level."
At least on some of those points, I've heard differently from people who would
know.  Without getting into specifics and slinging more mud, I've been told
that her conduct and attitude were detrimental to team morale, and that her
athletic contributions to the team were not sufficient to overcome those
negatives.  And those who think she was ostracized for taking a stand on
sponsorships and other issues, she wasn't the only one.  I can think of at
least three others who were similarly vocal and still made the 2000 team.

It's a problem that's running rampant in our society -- whenever something goes
the way we don't want it, somebody has to be to blame.  Very few people are
willing to accept their fates as, well, fate.  Somebody must be held
accountable, because it's simply not possible that we legitimately failed to
make the cut.  What's next?  Will some baseball player sent to the minors
decide he was demoted unfairly because he had 7 RBI more than somebody who
wasn't sent down, and sue for reinstatement?

Yes, there's a lot at stake here -- as somebody stated earlier, there's
endor***t and bonus money out there -- and there are principles involved.
But to engage in an action that, if successful, could potentially damage both
the team (the team she wishes to contribute to!) and so many individuals
involved with the team shows an utter lack of sportsmanship.  And sportsmanship
should be one of the most important criteria for choosing the team.  So in
choosing this course of action, Julie Smith has created a paradox, proving
herself unworthy of membership on the team she so wanted to join.  

Maybe her martyrdom will, in fact, make the selection process more fair in
years to come.  And if that happens, congratulations Julie.  But it could have
and should have been done differently.  And realize that, in choosing this
particular course of action that can be so harmful to so many, you're placing
another nail in the coffin of sportsmanship.  Congratulations Julie.

 
 
 

Julie Smith and the death of sportsmanship

Post by BrooksBo » Thu, 04 May 2000 04:00:00

I think you are missing the point here.  At first I was of your thinking, but
then after
thinking about it and reading some, I reazlied she did have a good case.  Not
because of her ability, but because of the rules.  Someone posted earlier that
if someone has won every marathon for the past 10 years, but for any reason
doesn't take top 3 in the qualifier, they don't make the team.  That's it.
Well the softball team was supposed to be picked the same way.  Based on the
olympic trial, which Julie (and Amanda) both dominated compared to their peers
at their positions.  If the ASA/Olympic Committee, decided to (like hockey and
basketball) change the madate to state that they have ultimate say in who goes
(trust me, this will happen next time), then there would be no problem.  But
the rules lead everyone to believe that all picks would be based on the
qualifier and these girls should have gotten it.  Imagine if someone took top 3
at the marathon qualifier and then the committee changed its mind after and
decided to bump the guy who won for someone who took 5th or 6th.....Don't you
think that the dreams of the guy who won would have been crushed?  Is that
fair?  I don't think so.
Quote:
>So Julie Smith has won her arbitration... but at what price?

>Has she cost her country a gold medal?  Possibly.  What she has done
>threatens
>to break up a group that has been working hard these past 8 months to come
>together as a team and force a reconstituted group to start from scratch.
>Since the current group was named, it has played (and beaten!) Australia,
>Japan, New Zealand, Canada, and Italy, 5 of the 7 teams it will face in the
>Olympics.  They just faced several other national-level foreign teams on
>their
>trip to Europe.  If the team is, in fact, reconstituted, it will not have the
>opportunity to face any international competition at all.  That puts the team
>at a disadvantage come September.  I have great belief in our team, and I
>pray
>this doesn't damage their chances, but I can't help but feel that this is a
>tremendous setback they'll have to overcome.

>Will she destroy lives?  Possibly.  Imagine being one of these women on the
>team, having spent these past 8 months as an Olympian, and then being
>unceremoniously pulled from the team and stripped of the dream because of
>Julie's actions.  Each of these women has made innumerable sacrifices to
>represent their country, and they've had to build their entire lives around
>the
>team.  Their families, their friends, their loved ones... they're all
>emotionally tied in as well -- a lot of broken hearts and broken dreams, all
>thanks to Julie.

>There's been an awful lot of cheerleading for Julie's cause on this board,
>mostly born of everybody's distrust of the ASA.  And hey, I'm not saying
>there
>isn't anything to that.  They're certainly not perfect.  But if they can put
>a
>gold medal-winning team out on the field in Sydney, they've done their job.
>And because the number of roster slots is limited, of course there are going
>to
>be people who feel they should have made it, and yes, their numbers may make
>a
>good case for them.  But let's not forget: The idea is to field a TEAM.  A
>team, in this case, is composed of 15 individuals whose abilities -- both as
>athletes and as teammates -- complement each other and create a cohesive
>unit.
>Are these necessarily the 15 best players, stats-wise?  Not necessarily.  We
>need not look any further than the "Dream Team" of NHL All-Stars brought
>together for Nagano... remember what an embarrassment that was, both on the
>ice
>and off?  The U.S. Softball Team should be composed of the 15 players who, as
>a
>unit, have the best chance of winning the gold.  And that, my friends, is the
>judgment call placed in the hands of the selection committee.

>As far as Julie Smith goes, that totally unbiased article (pardon me while I
>snicker) by Ray Foster on the Fresno State Softball website repeatedly
>praises
>her "superior leadership, conduct, attitude, experience, and maturity level."

>At least on some of those points, I've heard differently from people who
>would
>know.  Without getting into specifics and slinging more mud, I've been told
>that her conduct and attitude were detrimental to team morale, and that her
>athletic contributions to the team were not sufficient to overcome those
>negatives.  And those who think she was ostracized for taking a stand on
>sponsorships and other issues, she wasn't the only one.  I can think of at
>least three others who were similarly vocal and still made the 2000 team.

>It's a problem that's running rampant in our society -- whenever something
>goes
>the way we don't want it, somebody has to be to blame.  Very few people are
>willing to accept their fates as, well, fate.  Somebody must be held
>accountable, because it's simply not possible that we legitimately failed to
>make the cut.  What's next?  Will some baseball player sent to the minors
>decide he was demoted unfairly because he had 7 RBI more than somebody who
>wasn't sent down, and sue for reinstatement?

>Yes, there's a lot at stake here -- as somebody stated earlier, there's
>endor***t and bonus money out there -- and there are principles involved.
>But to engage in an action that, if successful, could potentially damage both
>the team (the team she wishes to contribute to!) and so many individuals
>involved with the team shows an utter lack of sportsmanship.  And
>sportsmanship
>should be one of the most important criteria for choosing the team.  So in
>choosing this course of action, Julie Smith has created a paradox, proving
>herself unworthy of membership on the team she so wanted to join.  

>Maybe her martyrdom will, in fact, make the selection process more fair in
>years to come.  And if that happens, congratulations Julie.  But it could
>have
>and should have been done differently.  And realize that, in choosing this
>particular course of action that can be so harmful to so many, you're placing
>another nail in the coffin of sportsmanship.  Congratulations Julie.


 
 
 

Julie Smith and the death of sportsmanship

Post by junkpi.. » Thu, 04 May 2000 04:00:00



Quote:
> So Julie Smith has won her arbitration... but at what price?

Blah, blah blah. Thanks for that "unbiased" opinion, Mr/Ms Anonymous.
You conveniently forget that Julie Smith, Amanda Scott, and a gaggle of
top talent have also worked their butts off for the last eight years to
make that team. So tell us where Dot Richardson was at that time. That's
no slight on her chosen field, but she stunk up the place in most of her
chances. Certainly she's a great talent, but Smith, Lindenberg, Kellie
Kretchman and Terri Klement left Dottie and McFalls in the dust. And
Scott weight-layed Christa Williams and Lori Harrigan. Geeze, take a look
at the game Harrigan pitched last week in Italy where some rinky-dink
club team almost beat her. They had to bring in Williams to save her
butt.

When the head coach of the US Team dictates to the selection committee
who "he" wants on the team, he screws every player on it and every player
who didn't make it. He ought to be sent packing as well.

You saying none of these kids worked the last eight years to make that
team? You're an idiot. Sportmanship *lives* because of the sacrifice
Julie Smith made.

Mel Rosen

Sent via Deja.com http://www.deja.com/
Before you buy.

 
 
 

Julie Smith and the death of sportsmanship

Post by Agnt21 » Thu, 04 May 2000 04:00:00

Quote:
> You're an idiot. Sportmanship *lives*
>You're an idiot. Sportmanship *lives* because of the sacrifice
>Julie Smith made.

Nice comment.  You seem like an expert on sportsmanship!
 
 
 

Julie Smith and the death of sportsmanship

Post by junkpi.. » Thu, 04 May 2000 04:00:00



Quote:
> > You're an idiot. Sportmanship *lives*

> >You're an idiot. Sportmanship *lives* because of the sacrifice
> >Julie Smith made.

> Nice comment.  You seem like an expert on sportsmanship!

Ah, a voice of reason pipes in to support someone who just said the
Olympic team is fine the way it is, anonymously naturally. Don't want to
stick your neck out for the wrong cause? I dare Mr/Ms "Death of
Sportmanship" to explain that if Julie Smith was so wrong, why Fernandez
and Douty testified on behalf of Amanda Scott in her arbitration and why
officials from the US Olympic Committee testified on Smith's behalf at
her abritration and why you don't see any ASA coaches blamining Julie.
I'll tell you why. They were fed up with the selection process the last
time around.  This moaning and groaning implying the team members are the
only ones who did any work to make the team could be called nothing *but*
idiotic. I call 'em like I sees 'em. The whole process of selecting the
team was a sham, from ASA muckity-mucks to the head coach. If my kid had
been so treated by ASA I'd get more than a judgement out of them. I'd see
how much objectivity and fairness my attorney could extract from them
scoundals.  "Idiot"?  It's a little bitty word. I'll save the big guns
for ASA.

Mel Rosen

Sent via Deja.com http://www.deja.com/
Before you buy.

 
 
 

Julie Smith and the death of sportsmanship

Post by Guy Jimene » Thu, 04 May 2000 04:00:00

Just for fun, I've got to ring in from the Pro Dot camp.  While I can't
argue stats, ability, etc. if I were picking a team I'd always find a
place for a person like Dot Richardson.  A "team" benefits from someone
of her caliber and passion.  Having recently witnessed a hundred or so
young girls cheering for her and mobbing her before and after the
exhibition games, I know the sport will miss her when that eventual day
comes.  As an ambassador she has few equals.  For the time being, you're
going to have to bring more than a glove and a bat to beat her out.

On the flip side, how many of you coaches have passed on a player
because of the "baggage" they were carrying?  While it appears that the
rules called for a primarily objective selection process, how many of
you pick your own teams that way?  To eliminate the "intangibles" from
consideration can result in an incredible collection of athletes, but
will not necessarily result in a championship team.

Quote:
> Now maybe Amanda, and Julie Smith, who is 10X the player (or more) the
> player Dot Richardson is at second base, will have a fairer shot.
> So tell us where Dot Richardson was at that time. That's
> no slight on her chosen field, but she stunk up the place in most of her
> chances. Certainly she's a great talent, but Smith, Lindenberg, Kellie
> Kretchman and Terri Klement left Dottie and McFalls in the dust.

 
 
 

Julie Smith and the death of sportsmanship

Post by Har49587 » Thu, 04 May 2000 04:00:00

The potential consequences you ascribe to Julie Smith are misguided.  The
responsibility for any adverse results falls on the shoulders of the selection
committee.
 
 
 

Julie Smith and the death of sportsmanship

Post by Jazzso » Thu, 04 May 2000 04:00:00

Quote:
>(USASoftballGold) says
>So Julie Smith has won her arbitration... but at what price?

The creditability of the selection process. Its only a big price to pay for
these people who have not only messed up the Olympic team but ruined the womens
program.

You say that Julie has possibly cost the USA a gold medal. To this I say BULL
PUCKEY. Breaking up a group that has worked hard for 8 months. Again BULL
PUCKEY. They have been together on a very limited basis over the last 8 months.
They all know and have played ball with each other enough that it should not
matter.

Quote:

>Will she destroy lives?  Possibly.  Imagine being one of these women on the
>team, having spent these past 8 months as an Olympian, and then being
>unceremoniously pulled from the team and stripped of the dream because of
>Julie's actions

If they should not have been there in the first place too bad. They have gotten
to travel all over playing ball so they were well taken care of.You speak of
the broken hearts. Well address the selection committee cause they have done
more heart breaking and emotional damage by not following the rules than Julies
has by holding them accountable.

Quote:
>There's been an awful lot of cheerleading for Julie's cause on this board,
>mostly born of everybody's distrust of the ASA.  And hey, I'm not saying
>there
>isn't anything to that.  They're certainly not perfect.

No being perfect and screwing the program are two different things. The
committee and ASA have gone out their way to profit themselves at the expense
of others.

Quote:

>As far as Julie Smith goes, that totally unbiased article (pardon me while I
>snicker) by Ray Foster on the Fresno State Softball website repeatedly
>praises
>her "superior leadership, conduct, attitude, experience, and maturity level."

It was a little thick with smaltz. He also forgot endor***t deals and the 50
grand players will get for winning the gold.

Quote:
>Maybe her martyrdom will, in fact, make the selection process more fair in
>years to come.  And if that happens, congratulations Julie.  But it could
>have
>and should have been done differently.

No it could not have been done differently. The EX Director and committee
members are so full of their egos and trying to land jobs with organizations
like the USOC they forgot the reason they are there.

Quote:
> And realize that, in choosing this
>particular course of action that can be so harmful to so many, you're placing
>another nail in the coffin of sportsmanship.  Congratulations Julie.

Your right Congratulations Julie. You have done more good than you can even
imagine. You brought to light the injustice the committee has forced on the
program for years. You have not however pointed out all of it. You have pointed
out the friendship and favoritism that has plagued the Selection Committee for
years. Its too bad the coaching selections are not being looked at. Maybe if
they were Margo and Ralph would not be with the team.

No this was great for the game of softball and its players.

Don

 
 
 

Julie Smith and the death of sportsmanship

Post by USASoftballGo » Fri, 05 May 2000 04:00:00

To address Mel Rosen's criticisms that have appeared in replies to my original
post, which he obviously didn't read very well:

Quote:
> a voice of reason pipes in to support someone who just said the
> Olympic team is fine the way it is

I never said the process wasn't without its flaws... in fact, I believe my
quote about the ASA was that "they're certainly not perfect."  And if you had
read carefully, I never expressed any opinion as to whether the 15 players were
the best possible choices.  The main point of the post was that, whether you
agree with the selection process or not, this is the team that was fielded last
September and has worked to come together as a unit these past 8 months -- and
to break apart this team now, with less than 5 months until the Olympics and
with no chance for a "new" team to gain any international experience, would be
a severe blow to the program and possibly hinder its chances to win in Sydney.

Quote:
> I dare Mr/Ms "Death of Sportmanship" to explain that if Julie Smith was
> so wrong, why Fernandez and Douty testified on behalf of Amanda
> Scott in her arbitration

So Lisa Fernandez and Sheila Douty testified on Amanda Scott's behalf.  I
admire both of them, but it just goes to serve the point: Every interested
party -- players included -- has their own ideas about who should be on the
team.  Lisa, Sheila, you, me, and everybody else who contributes to this forum.
 Who's right?  That's not for you or me to say (though it would appear, Mel,
that you certainly can't ever be wrong).  And that's exactly why it is put into
the hands of a committee of (for the sake of the ASA-bashers, I'll add the word
"alleged") experts!  Of course, that's where all the second-guessing (and
arbitration) begins...

Quote:
>You conveniently forget that Julie Smith, Amanda Scott, and a gaggle of
>top talent have also worked their butts off for the last eight years to
>make that team.
> This moaning and groaning implying the team members are the
> only ones who did any work to make the team could be called nothing *but*
> idiotic.
>You saying none of these kids worked the last eight years to make that
>team? You're an idiot.

Alright, you make the same erroneous statement 3 times in 2 posts.  Read my
post again... who said anything about the team members being "the only ones who
did any work to make the team"?  The only time frame I referred to in my post
(with the exception of the Nagano hockey flashback) was September '99 to the
present.  I don't doubt that all 39 candidates worked extremely hard in their
attempts to make the team!  It's a shame that any of them had to be sent home
after advancing so far in the process, but you can't deny math: 24 had to go
home having fallen short of the goal.  

Quote:
>So tell us where Dot Richardson was at that time.

Couldn't tell you.  If you could tell us, that would make you a stalker.
Somebody alert the authorities!

Quote:
> If my kid had been so treated by ASA I'd get more than a judgement out
> of them. I'd see how much objectivity and fairness my attorney could
> extract from them scoundals.

Mel, your caustic blend of competitiveness and vindictiveness represents a
textbook case of the point I was trying to make in regard to the need to place
blame... and to demand that blame be placed at any cost.  Honestly, I feel
sorry for the athletic programs that had to put up with you as a parent!
 
 
 

Julie Smith and the death of sportsmanship

Post by BrooksBo » Fri, 05 May 2000 04:00:00

Guy--You are missing the point here.....In picking our teams, we don't have
predefined rules of how to pick the team.  If the team rule was that all kids
would be picked by one practice, then the kids who did great at the practice
would be left on, and those who didn't would be left off.  Doesn't matter if
the allamerican pitcher had a bad day and got rocked, she'd be off.  Thankfully
we don't have those rules.  If the ASA didn't want to abide by those rules,
don't make them.  Its that simple.
 
 
 

Julie Smith and the death of sportsmanship

Post by Bob Giesken » Fri, 05 May 2000 04:00:00

Quote:



> > So Julie Smith has won her arbitration... but at what price?

Geeze, take a look
> at the game Harrigan pitched last week in Italy where some rinky-dink
> club team almost beat her. They had to bring in Williams to save her
> butt.

Have you seen that game?
In fact I did, and unless the qualities of players on or off the Olympic
team, this near loss had nothing to do with Harrigan's pitching. It was the
way they played the offense that did the trick. Sloppy running, no slides,
uninspired hitting...The coaching staff went out of their heads for
that...Which resulted in a 20-0 win in 5 innings over Russia the next game,
were everybody was hot again. By the way, the rinkydink Italian team had
about 8 top guest players, of which 1 Australian pitcher and 1 American
pitcher of good level.
Harrigan by the way pitched the game against Holland very well, and the same
thing applies to the final game against the Italian national team.

Bob Gieskens