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Letter: Athletes' cyber behavior same as real world

Published 9:12 am, Wednesday, March 27, 2013
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I read your March 22 article about indiscreet tweets, etc. with interest. (The Digital Dilemma: Indiscreet tweets, cyber taunts soiling school sports.")

I would like to add that the behavior our student athletes demonstrate through their cyber behavior is only a different shade of the same behavior observed throughout their school day. Athletes form tight cliques. A student who is on the baseball team one year is a friend, only to find himself with nowhere to sit at lunch the following year when he fails to make the team. The girls running for track practice run in "friend groups" that preclude integration of a new person or "non-friend group" team member from joining in the group run, leaving her to run on her own. Tennis and gymnastics are inherently competitive as only one person can be the winner.

Though a strong, experienced coach could work hard to promote good sportsmanship, it has been my experience that the majority of coaches are focused on the win and do not notice the nasty, unsupportive, non-team-like behavior that happens throughout every practice. So why are we surprised, when as an extension of their socializing and communication, our student athletes demonstrate a less inhibited version of those behaviors.

Jill Greenberg

Westport

The writer is a psychologist with a practice in Norwalk.