I am grateful for my Dad for instilling in me a sense of sportsmanship and putting it all in perspective. My dad had a bar in his leg instead of a knee from the time he was five years old, and he hated to see guys injured. We went to a Seahawks game in maybe 1980 and a guy on the 49ers got hurt and was down on the field. Here I was 7 years old at my first NFL game thinking it was cool that our team had taken out the other guy (I was already big into boxing and wrestling and of course the point was to take out your opponent). The guy got up and walked off the field after about a minute and looked to be ok. The fans cheered for him like he was one of their own, and I looked at my Dad and said, "Why are they cheering for a guy on the other team so loud? I wanted to boo that he got up!". My Dad looked at me and said, "Because it's the right thing to do. You don't EVER want to see an opponent get hurt, you don't ever want to win a game because their players got injured, and you always are relieved when the guy gets up and he's ok. So we clap and cheer for him when he gets up and is ok, or we cheer for him if they have to take him off on a stretcher to let him know that we are good sports."
It made a lot of sense. I get the feeling that a lot of folks never got that lesson, but I learned it early in Seattle and after reading this thread I see a lot of other folks did too. I never want to win a game because everybody is hurt, and I never want to lose a game because all of our players are hurt. I also don't want referees deciding games. I'm truly grateful for my Dad for teaching me this lesson at my first pro game. It's something I've instilled in my son and I would never wish injury on an opponent, and I hope Manningham comes back as good as ever.
As somebody who has lived with a lot of injuries, I can tell you that I wouldn't wish them on anybody. I know they are going to happen, and that is the hard part of the game for me. But if it happens on a clean play, then we chalk it up to bad luck and hope the man heals.
I feel a bit of frustration that 49ers fans are going off claiming the Seahawks are dirty and intentionally injuring players. I've seen dirty play, and I don't think the Hawks were playing dirty. I think they were playing with the same mindset Patrick Willis of their team does. Hit hard, but hit legally and do everything you can to prevent TD's. That's what Kam did and got penalized for it. Very frustrating.
I did see a couple of very dirty plays... one took place on Jeremy Lane when the offensive tackle of the 9ers ran straight at him in the endzone late in the game and knocked him down (legal, not really dirty, but just lame), but then he proceeded to grab him by the head and slam it into the turf. That to me was a dirty play. Kam's play was NOT dirty. Then the spear and slam on the head of Baldwin was dirty, and Harbaugh's reaction of complaining about it really struck me as odd. I think realistically that if our player had done that he'd be directed toward the bench and Pete would have had a discussion with him then and there about what is and isn't acceptable and the importance of keeping his cool. Instead Harbaugh goes off on the ref for a solid minute and won't let it drop 2 or 3 plays later. It was a dangerous play that very well could have resulted in a broken neck for Doug Baldwin... Harbaugh had a front row seat, and he has the audacity to complain. Pretty weird, especially when it was a kid he had coached in college. You'd think he'd be concerned for the player's safety and telling his own players to be careful to not cost his team additional yardage, even if he doesn't care about the possibility of snapping a man's neck, but he is more concerned with going off on the refs. Weird all around.
R.I.P. Dad. I miss you. You will never be forgotten
1/12/39 - 8/7/08