Gongol.com Archives: February 2024

Brian Gongol

February 15, 2024

News Respect your juniors

While it is both disappointing and unfortunate, it comes as no surprise that at least some of the women who made names for themselves in college basketball have been resistant to celebrate the successes of Caitlin Clark, who has just set the record for scoring by an NCAA Division I player. ■ In any field, whether in sports or beyond, it isn't uncommon for members of an old guard to dismiss the bright stars of a succeeding generation, often with subtle implications that the path was somehow easier for the newcomers, or that the latest talent is somehow either selfish or undeserving of accolades. It is an artifact of classic scarcity thinking, and it's usually just...sad, really. ■ Scarcity thinking fixates on how the "pie" is divided, rather than on the size of it. Old-guards fall for it all the time, and they can often be forgiven for the impulse. Someone who lived before Title IX was enacted could be forgiven for having vestigal memories of scrapping for even minimal resources. ■ But a major part of human maturity is found in learning to arrest one's counter-productive impulses. Imagine bringing your great-great-grandparents back to life, and finding that all they could do was make snide remarks about how easy your life is with running water, ready electricity, safe transportation, vaccines, and computers. ■ True, those things do make life easier. But when we freely celebrate the fruits of progress, we also implicitly praise the people who built that progress, often at great cost. ■ Everyone of adult age is part of at least one "old guard". Whatever old guard it is of which any one of us is part, it is incumbent upon us to see the successes of our successors as an endorsement of what we did to get them there. That's how we shift from obsessing about slicing the pie to putting energy into growing it. ■ Whether it's bringing attention to women's sports or any other pursuit, old guards need to know when it's time to shut up: Not just for the good of the cause, but to avoid undermining our own contributions to those who are reaching new heights.

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