Mere hours after killing a pedestrian along a highway, Jim Boeheim–Syracuse University’s head basketball coach– received a standing ovation from loyal fans. Since 1976, Boeheim has been the coach (details). With a remarkably successful, fairly consistent track record of winning all along– reaching, as recently as 2016, the NCAA Tournament Final Four (a benchmark for pinnacle achievement in college basketball).
The issue as we see it is two fold here. First, too many in high power and control just never know when to step away. From John McCain’s 35 years in Washington, DC to Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg to Penn State’s legendary football coach Joe Paterno, these folks have to stay on… forever. In the case of politicians and Supreme Court justices you basically have to die in office– who close to those positions of power is going to give that up? In the case of college coaches, they become legends– to themselves, to their programs and no one evidently can imagine a world without each other. The fans need that coach?
The standing ovation awkwardly conveys (story) that evidently they really do. A sad occasion, of which fans rally around Boeheim for something none of us ever would want to go through. But the show goes on just a couple days later because #1 ranked Duke is in town? There are all kinds of reasons to come up with why giving a little applause could be rationalized. No one would want a rush of judgment against themselves or the burden of guilt of such an accident. And yet, many Americans wouldn’t be receiving a heroes welcome for running over someone. And if you aren’t the long-time coach or politician you aren’t getting the benefit of the doubt and even glory showered upon you for this type of tragic incident.
As a society, really, it is time to step back and wonder that a lot of America’s problems are grounded in this cult of personality worship. Jim Boeheim does not deserve a “loud ovation” (story) for driving around the scene of an accident and then killing a pedestrian that was involved in that accident (more details, video).
America is increasingly unable to embrace anything new and different. We vote the same old politicians in over and over again. We are riding the coattails of our success and cheering on the same old, same old, no matter what comes along. And leaders too, don’t have the introspection or humility to step back and say, you know, its been a good run.
Syracuse fans showed Americans deep desire to show concern and care for others. A community rallied around the family of the lost victim. That is the part of this that needs to be tapped into. If only directed more often, and in other directions.