Respect: A Lack Thereof


On August 31, Weston Whipkey, 11, prepares defensively for a corner kick from the opposing team in a junior varsity soccer game (Photo by L. Haney).

Weston Whipkey, Staff Writer

Effort and labor can often be hidden from the plain eye with only the results showing. Sports are one common display of this. An athlete could work incredibly hard at their practice but not perform well at a game or competition. For society, people do not recognize the practice, the effort, or the strain, but rather they focus on the failure, the mishap, and the embarrassment. This effect results in people under-appreciating one’s struggle and work which leads to a lack of respect for an individual. It could be a tone of voice, word choice, or blatant slander in front of a person who is viewed with ignorance. 

How does this affect an individual? It is a downward spiral. Say that our theoretical athlete from earlier receives disrespect, then they will have a lower self esteem. Self esteem affects their performance and can lead to  playing worse. Thus, the cycle begins again. Additionally, the athlete could feel socially distant or they have a feeling of lack of value in their sport. The problem does not originate from the athlete, but from the athlete’s surrounding society. It is often ignorance and egotistical mindsets that allow an individual to disrespect another person.

I, myself, have experienced this lack of respect. However, I have previously stayed silent, as I felt my response to disrespect would have no effect. I am a goalkeeper for the soccer team here at the high school, but having a position on the field that tends to stand out, things are not as bright as it may seem. Many goalkeepers like myself have often remarked that the audience does not usually recognize the “saves” you make, but rather the goals that you have let happen. To add, my skills as a goalkeeper vary from the skills of every other position in soccer which automatically places me aside from everyone else, and I also do not have the social attitude of most players on the team which isolates me even more. 

For goalkeepers, there is only one goalkeeper position on the field which means that if there are two goalkeepers, one will be benched while the other, more skilled goalkeeper, will play for the majority of games. I am one such goalkeeper who is benched on the varsity team. So, the question must be asked, how will a person view a soccer player who is benched the majority of the time, has a different social demeanor than most, and does not have a similar position to anyone else on the team? It would seem easy for most to disrespect me. 

I believe that I put in a lot of effort when it comes to practices, yet I still feel disrespected and ignored by a large portion of people for my situation. I am surely not the only one who feels they are dealt a wrong hand of cards, and should not be punished for an outside appearance of inferiority and laziness. Students or teachers, it doesn’t matter. No one should be disrespected just because of their differences. Nobody. My hope in writing this testimony is to bring light to this issue, and hopefully at least one person will realize their actions, and treat another with respect, with regards to the phrase, “do not judge a book by its cover.”