Bits & Pieces: Without opposing views, 'Ethics in Sports' panel discussion falls flat

Howard Community College Athletic Director Diane Schumacher tried valiantly to make the "Ethics in Sports" panel discussion March 22 an informative session and one that would result in people thinking about what role ethics plays on hot topics in our current sports scene.

It didn't happen, but not because of her efforts. It didn't happen because the panel seemed to be in accord on every subject. For example, the first subject posed by Diane was: should college athletes receive a stipend of some sort. The panelists all agreed and I thought: Wow! Am I the only person here to disagree?

College athletes are already receiving scholarships and nobody on the panel seemed to place any value on that. I consider that a major stipend. I struggled through college with no scholarship or stipend and made it.

I enjoy panel discussions when there are people on the panel who disagree with one another. I want to hear other points of view. But almost every other topic, the panel all appeared to agree. So in my humble opinion, it was the composition of the panel — all volunteers, I should add — that was not quite right for this type of discussion.

The best part of the discussion came at the end when one panel member summed up our current culture as far as sports and ethics are concerned. He believes that the problems come from the culture of money, the culture of violence and the culture of winning. Ethics sits somewhere in the background.

How right he is. As long as money controls things, you can never get the sport system back to where ethics plays an important role.

Luck was on Bickerton's side

George Bickerton is one lucky man. This 74-year-old Hall of Famer doesn't smoke, has low bad cholesterol, has no problem with blood pressure and was the picture of good health to all of us who saw him on a regular basis. Nevertheless, he underwent open heart surgery March 2 at Union Memorial Hospital for the similar type of an aorta problem that proved fatal to actor John Ritter, in 2003.

During a routine checkup, George's cardiologist noticed an irregularity after putting George through a stress test, an echo cardiogram and a CAT scan.

After the tests were completed, George received a phone call from his cardiologist. "I knew then that this was not good news," his wife Joyce said.

The cardiologist's detection of the problem came at a good time. The Bickertons were a few days away from going on a cruise.

According to Joyce, George spent 20 days at Union Memorial and was scheduled to come home this past weekend.

Hodges is up and around

I was deeply concerned when I heard that Jean Hodges, who was inducted into the Howard County Community Sports Hall of Fame in October for her work with the Kangaroo Kids jump rope team, had suffered a stroke. I told several friends who attended her induction that I had never seen Jean happier.

Now I am happy to report that Jean was at the Kangaroo Kids Spring Jump Festival recently at the Meadowbrook Athletic Complex. She was using a walker and she doesn't move as quickly as she used to, but I am sure that she, nevertheless, enjoyed the program which was dedicated to her. And to show how the adage "what goes around comes around," the travel team's routine that day was one that Jean had originally choreographed years ago.

Delighted to see this wonderful woman up and around.

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