Amar’e: Anger or Accident?

As a child, when I fought with my sister two years younger than me, my father told me to “count to ten.” And if that didn’t work, he’d say,  “count to 20.”

I had hoped that Amar’e Stoudemire’s encounter with a fire extinguisher Monday after the Knicks’ 104-94 loss to the Miami Heat would provide a teachable moment to parents, educators, and coaches.  What can be learned from his impetuous action? Out of Game 3 in the playoffs tonight, the wounded Stoudemire is expecting to return to play by Sunday.

Adults working with or raising children sometimes witness volatile behavior. It’s our job to teach children how to control themselves, monitor their words, and refocus their anger into positive actions.  When athletes like Stoudemire misbehave, acting without thinking as if by instinct, the world watches. For many young people, who consider these athletes heroes, they think it’s ok.

Should these athletes be held to a higher moral standard? Yes. They are role models. Walk into any urban middle or high school, ask a group of boys what they want to be when they grow up. Chances are you’ll hear quite a few respond: “a basketball player for the NBA, or a football player for the NFL.”

What’s making this incident worse is Stoudemire’s confession that he was merely walking by the fire extinguisher, swinging his arm and had no intention of smashing the glass, tearing his hand, and dripping blood all over.  He says he wouldn’t intentionally try to hurt himself in the midst of the playoffs.

I find this incredible. Who strolls by an inanimate object, hits or kicks it, without realizing damage could occur?

I wish he’d say: “Yes, I was mad and I wasn’t thinking. I let my anger cloud my judgment and I’m really sorry.”

He let down the team; he let down his fans.

Maybe he could even add that he hopes no one does what he did.  Maybe he could say, “I wish I counted to ten.”


About cyclingrandma

I was a journalist (Danbury News-Times, Ct), before becoming a teacher, and continue to write for professional journals. I have written several study guides for Penguin Books and write for Education Update, a newspaper based in New York City. ( I’ve interviewed many authors, college presidents, and scientists. I wrote “The Kentucky Derby’s Forgotten Jockeys” for Smithsonian Magazine's website, (April, 2009). Two essays have been published in book anthologies; one for Wisdom of Our Mothers, (Familia Books) and the other in “College Search and Parent Rescue: Essay for Parents by Parents of College-Going Students.” (St. Martin’s Press). I was a middle school Language Arts teacher for more than 10 years and have just completed a five year grant position under No Child Left Behind in Newark, NJ public schools. I have three children, two daughters-in law, and six grandchildren. I'm an avid cyclist, knitter, cook, and reader. I love theater, museums, and yoga.
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3 Responses to Amar’e: Anger or Accident?

  1. I agree. What an opportunity to say “I made a stupid mistake and it has caused suffering for both me and my team and my fans. ” Anger and disappointment can be destructive. Taking the ego out of what you do can prevent such errors in judgement but that takes work- reflection and insight. This team had a moment to recapture the glory and they are imploding at a time we really need them. I heard Willam Strickland this past weekend and his message was truly an inspiratio. His message is ” Make the Impossible Possible.”
    This was a missed opportunity.


  2. It’s not the mistakes you make, it’s the way you deal with them…


  3. This is an awesome post – sorry I missed it when it first came out. It’s awesome – of course for the message to these ‘role models’ – it’s also awesome because I hear Dad’s voice resounding in my ears as I read!
    Indeed. I wish this jerk counted to ten or since that didn’t happen; made a public statement as to how he over-reacted. My students absolutely emulate so many of these athletes who engage in far worse activities than inflicting harm on themselves – so many of their favorite stars have been involved in burglary, drugs (both dealing and using), dog-fighting and even homicide. Yet it’s their prowess on the ball field is that registers in the minds of my students. If only the ‘other’ sides of their stories would be told.


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