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The Over-Taxed Sports Metaphor


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#1 qwazse

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Posted 17 November 2016 - 09:43 AM

From replies to Bryan's blog on BoRs, a classic line:

... most Scouts would NOT show up to their “sporting” event, or “marching band” event WITHOUT being in full uniform. (http://blog.scouting...#comment-168046)

 

Which jarred my memory (and I expound upon from what I wrote in reply in scoutingmagazine.com):

  • Players wear the uniform during the game. But often hit the showers and come out in civilian clothes for the “press conference” review.
  • Likewise with marching band. We dressed up for the show, but for the audition for first chair/major/etc … we are in plain clothes.
  • Tryouts? Same thing.
  • Conferences with the coach, film study, most rehearsals ... not in uniform.
  • Also, every band/sports banquet that I've seen, players wore their Sunday best, not their uniforms. All looked quite spiffy.

The “game day” for a troop may be meetings, courts of honor, travel to/from camp, or on the trail. If you’ve seen your scout uniformed sharply in all of those circumstances, then your board has the latitude to credit that — and his non-uniform neat appearance — during the review.

 

In other words, for public appearances, band members, cheerleaders, and athletes are uniform ... meticulously so; but, for backstage work (80% of the job), they are not.

 

I'm not saying that it's wrong to ask scouts, inasmuch as they are able, to wear their field uniform for the BoR. I'm just saying that the band/sports as a metaphor is justification for not wearing your uniform at every event related to your activity.


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#2 blw2

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Posted 17 November 2016 - 10:19 AM

well I would argue in this case, that the BOR most certainly IS part of the GAME

As is the 5 mile hike they went on last weekend.

and the canoe trip

etc....

 

and if I were to run with your analogy, in my thinking the routine troop meeting would fall more in line with the "backstage" work....

 

not saying I agree or disagree, just running with the logic exercise.....


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#3 NJCubScouter

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Posted 17 November 2016 - 10:47 AM

I think the more relevant part of that same comment on the blog is this:

 

 


Do you think they would be able to participate in their Football game if they didn’t bring their game jersey? Um, NO…What if they went to their SWIM event and didn’t have a swim suit and wanted to wear their basketball shorts? Um, NO they are DQ’d……. Or if they didn’t bring their marching band uniform and wanted to wear their jeans, t-shirt, sweatpants, Um NO……

 

 

In other words, the relevant consideration is not so much what the athlete/marching band member would do, but what the coach/band director would do.  Would the athlete or marching band member be PERMITTED to play in the game or participate in the band competition (or whatever) without wearing the uniform?  No, they wouldn't.

 

And if we are going to use the sports/Scouting analogy, I agree with blw2, the BOR is definitely part of the "game".  (Perhaps my perception is infuenced by the fact that in our troop, the BOR's take place during troop meetings, where the Scout is expected to be in uniform anyway.)

 

Personally I believe the rule SHOULD be that a unit is permitted to require that a Scout be in uniform for a BOR, IF the Scout owns a uniform, and if the Scout owns only a partial uniform, then he must be wearing that.  (In our troop every Scout owns a uniform, and if the Scout and his family cannot afford one, a uniform will essentially be provided for him, at least as a "loaner.")  If the uniform is "in the laundry", "in my room", or whatever, a troop should be ALLOWED to say, come back next week when you're ready.  (Which would work in our troop since we do BOR's "on demand", potentially every week.  It would be a different story if a troop does the BOR's much less frequently.)

 

But that's not the rule.


Edited by NJCubScouter, 17 November 2016 - 10:54 AM.

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#4 qwazse

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Posted 17 November 2016 - 11:55 AM

I can reasonably see someone viewing the BoR as an audition. Or, perhaps, trying out for the next rank.

The "game" could be meetings, courts of honor, parades, etc ...

 

It seems that much of BSA literature is intended to curb overzealous scouters who may be missing the larger picture of a scout who is a paragon of virtue, albeit out of uniform.


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#5 Stosh

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Posted 17 November 2016 - 12:10 PM

Scouting is supposed to be a game.....  The lessons learned from the game apply to their lives.....  So, when is a Scout not in the game?


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#6 fred johnson

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Posted 17 November 2016 - 12:44 PM

I believe sports is a worn out (no pun intended) analogy too and a bit of a stretch.  The real analogy is military, but ... do you want to use a military analogy.  


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#7 NJCubScouter

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Posted 17 November 2016 - 01:10 PM

It seems that much of BSA literature is intended to curb overzealous scouters who may be missing the larger picture of a scout who is a paragon of virtue, albeit out of uniform.

 

If it is "overzealous" to expect a Scout to wear a particular set of clothes at a particular meeting (the BOR), when he already owns it, when he already wears it at other meetings, when the uniform is one of the methods of Boy Scouting, well, call me overzealous.  I've been called worse.

 

If the Scout is a paragon of virtue, that's great, he can just as easily be a paragon in uniform as a paragon out of uniform.  If the BSA had to make a choice between paragons of virtue and the uniform, I would say choose the paragon every time.  In fact, If the BSA was to decide tomorrow that the uniform should be eliminated completely, I would be surprised but I would not quit in a huff.  But as long as we have the uniform, and as long as a Scout has a uniform, I don't think it is unreasonable to expect him to wear it at a BOR.


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#8 NJCubScouter

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Posted 17 November 2016 - 01:11 PM

Scouting is supposed to be a game.....  The lessons learned from the game apply to their lives.....  So, when is a Scout not in the game?

 

So are you saying the uniform should be worn 24/7/365?


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#9 walk in the woods

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Posted 17 November 2016 - 01:13 PM

I believe sports is a worn out (no pun intended) analogy too and a bit of a stretch.  The real analogy is military, but ... do you want to use a military analogy.  

Why not?  When I was in I had three types of uniforms, Dress (which we almost never wore) and two types of working (one for office folk and one for working folk).  They all counted as uniforms and you could potentially see any of them on any given day (a guy headed to Pier watch might be in Dress, a guy who worked in an office might be in his Johnny Cash or Good Humors, and a guy headed into the power plant was definitely in dungarees.  When I wasn't on duty I wasn't in uniform.  So from my perspective the analogy would be BSA Field Uniform for fussy indoor stuff and formal ceremonies, reasonable outdoor gear for all the good stuff (maybe with just a necker!), and something nobody cares about if it gets ruined for service projects.  


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#10 NJCubScouter

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Posted 17 November 2016 - 01:34 PM

I believe sports is a worn out (no pun intended) analogy too and a bit of a stretch.  The real analogy is military, but ... do you want to use a military analogy.  

 

I think sports is the better analogy, since we are talking about voluntary (and volunteer, as in unpaid) youth activities - although there is no escaping the fact that the idea of a uniform in Scouting was borrowed from the military.  


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#11 Stosh

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Posted 17 November 2016 - 02:08 PM

So are you saying the uniform should be worn 24/7/365?

 

I didn't say anything.  I only asked a question.  The question mark at the end of the comment is the give-away clue.

 

A police officer doesn't wear his uniform 24/7/365, nor does a firefighter.  A soldier has that option as well and so do the doctors and nurses at a hospital.  But when they do wish to be identified as such in a role they wish to fulfill, they wear the full uniform properly.   

 

On occasion if an off-duty police officer were to witness a robbery, he/she doesn't run home to get their uniform on before stepping in.  A scout may be in a similar role, but when he is functioning as a scout, it would be nice to be able to recognize him as such and not some kid that forgot to change clothes after playing basketball. 

 

I have boys who show up for scout activities more often in their sports uniforms than their scout uniforms and when they do show up with a partial uniform it is often incorrectly buttoned and untucked over their sport uniform.  It is obvious that they really don't care and that attitude gets generalized into the activities they are involved in.  It is obvious they "aren't in the game."  Not even for one hour.


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#12 David CO

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Posted 17 November 2016 - 02:10 PM

From replies to Bryan's blog on BoRs, a classic line:

... most Scouts would NOT show up to their “sporting” event, or “marching band” event WITHOUT being in full uniform. (http://blog.scouting...#comment-168046)

 

Which jarred my memory (and I expound upon from what I wrote in reply in scoutingmagazine.com):

  • Players wear the uniform during the game. But often hit the showers and come out in civilian clothes for the “press conference” review.
  • Likewise with marching band. We dressed up for the show, but for the audition for first chair/major/etc … we are in plain clothes.
  • Tryouts? Same thing.
  • Conferences with the coach, film study, most rehearsals ... not in uniform.
  • Also, every band/sports banquet that I've seen, players wore their Sunday best, not their uniforms. All looked quite spiffy.

The “game day” for a troop may be meetings, courts of honor, travel to/from camp, or on the trail. If you’ve seen your scout uniformed sharply in all of those circumstances, then your board has the latitude to credit that — and his non-uniform neat appearance — during the review.

 

In other words, for public appearances, band members, cheerleaders, and athletes are uniform ... meticulously so; but, for backstage work (80% of the job), they are not.

 

I'm not saying that it's wrong to ask scouts, inasmuch as they are able, to wear their field uniform for the BoR. I'm just saying that the band/sports as a metaphor is justification for not wearing your uniform at every event related to your activity.

 

Our game uniforms and practice jerseys can be expensive.  They are purchased by the Athletic Department and remain the property of the school.

 

After showering, the boys put their jerseys in a laundry bag, and the equipment managers take them to a laundry room.  Our game uniforms and practice jerseys do not go home with the boys.

 

Our boys usually wear jackets and ties when traveling on away games.


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#13 qwazse

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Posted 17 November 2016 - 02:18 PM

If it is "overzealous" to expect a Scout to wear a particular set of clothes at a particular meeting (the BOR), when he already owns it, when he already wears it at other meetings, when the uniform is one of the methods of Boy Scouting, well, call me overzealous.  I've been called worse.

 

If the Scout is a paragon of virtue, that's great, he can just as easily be a paragon in uniform as a paragon out of uniform.  If the BSA had to make a choice between paragons of virtue and the uniform, I would say choose the paragon every time.  In fact, If the BSA was to decide tomorrow that the uniform should be eliminated completely, I would be surprised but I would not quit in a huff.  But as long as we have the uniform, and as long as a Scout has a uniform, I don't think it is unreasonable to expect him to wear it at a BOR.

I have the same expectation. And maybe committee members call me overzealous. I feel they are a bit lax ... especially now that we merged and nearly any boy that wants pants can have them. Anyway, I acquiesce to them because at this point it's more their troop than mine. Most of the time, the boys show up looking sharp when they are in public (includes most meetings) anyway.

 

I do wish someone would have busted my sons a little bit more ... especially checking the socks.

 

That said, I understand that many of our older scouts are on a treadmill. And, if a fellow is coming from work looking sharp in his business suit, knowing that he could have stayed on the job instead of taking an hour out to come to a review (ours aren't always on meeting nights), I'm inclined to respect that. Him dashing to the closet and toss on a uniform doesn't tell me any more about his character than I should already know.


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#14 MattR

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Posted 17 November 2016 - 03:40 PM

I think the sports/scouts comparison doesn't hold. Sure at the game a player has to wear the uniform, but scouts go to a lot more "games". I played football when I was a kid and we wore our jerseys to school on game day. It was fun. But we only played 8 games a year. If we had to wear our uniforms every Monday for seven years, it would have gotten beyond old.

 

@qwazse, I think the real issue came out in your last message, you'd like it stricter and some adults wouldn't. I'm in the "it's a method, not the aim" camp. Yes, I want the scouts to look sharp and I always do, but right now I am much more interested in getting a small group of older scouts to start sticking up for some of the younger scouts. I have to choose my battles. However, more power to you if you can succeed at the battle.

 

Kind of on a side note, but I recently talked to a guy that grew up in Mexico and he told us about Mexican scouts (he's a US citizen now). Their uniforms and the uniforms that I saw on Skip's film just look much easier. From what I can tell, all of the patches go on the shoulder. There isn't much room so there isn't much bling. For the most part it looked like blue shirts and a necker. One thing I don't like about our uniforms is they aren't at all uniform, and I'm not talking about the different versions of the uniform. Everyone looks different because there are so many patches and awards that can be displayed on a uniform. Sometimes it looks like a walking trophy case and the adults are worse about it than the scouts. Knots, epaulets, OA insignia, council insignia, language strips. When I played football our jerseys were identical except for the number. We were part of a team. I don't get that sense at all looking at scout uniforms.


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#15 NJCubScouter

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Posted 17 November 2016 - 03:47 PM

That said, I understand that many of our older scouts are on a treadmill. And, if a fellow is coming from work looking sharp in his business suit, knowing that he could have stayed on the job instead of taking an hour out to come to a review (ours aren't always on meeting nights), I'm inclined to respect that. Him dashing to the closet and toss on a uniform doesn't tell me any more about his character than I should already know.

 

I would have no problem at all if a Scout turned up at a BOR wearing a business suit.  Well, under BSA rules I am not allowed to have a problem (or at least not allowed to express it) if the Scout is "dressed neatly" or whatever term the G2A uses.  But you know what I mean.  We have had kids show up in suits at meetings (usually late) a couple of times when they were coming from high school events where they had to wear suits.  But not when they had a BOR.  I do not recall a single time in our troop, in more than 10 years, when a Scout showed up for a meeting in which he had a BOR scheduled, without a uniform.  (There may have been a few times when it was just the shirt, along with a notarized affidavit from their parents about why they didn't have their pants (just kidding about the affidavit.))  The uniforming rate for meetings when they don't have a BOR is somewhat more varied.  (And I'll add a note of agreement with something Stosh said:  When a Scout is at a meeting and their uniform is elsewhere, usually the functioning portion of their brain seems to be elsewhere as well.)


Edited by NJCubScouter, 17 November 2016 - 04:01 PM.

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#16 NJCubScouter

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Posted 17 November 2016 - 03:51 PM

Knots, epaulets, OA insignia, council insignia, language strips. When I played football our jerseys were identical except for the number. We were part of a team. I don't get that sense at all looking at scout uniforms.

 

I think that derives somewhat from the military "ancestry" of the BSA uniform.  Although I don't know whether the ribbons, pins etc. are limited to the military dress uniform or are also worn on the "everyday" military uniforms, since I've never been.


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#17 dilrod

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Posted 17 November 2016 - 04:24 PM

I see the uniform as part of the game:  attention to detail, showing what team you are on, taking care of something and practicing good grooming (in between getting dirty).  


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#18 dilrod

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Posted 17 November 2016 - 04:32 PM

 

Sometimes it looks like a walking trophy case and the adults are worse about it than the scouts. Knots, epaulets, OA insignia, council insignia, language strips. When I played football our jerseys were identical except for the number. We were part of a team. I don't get that sense at all looking at scout uniforms.

 

This.  What some guys wear to Roundtable meetings are hideous.  How long does it take them to pin all that back on after they wash it???

 

The knots and special awards properly worn might inspire someone to work harder for their respective scout organization, or a young scout to work towards whatever he can earn.  But I don't think any kid looks at some overpatched peacock and thinks "oh yeah, I want to be that guy someday!"


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#19 David CO

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Posted 17 November 2016 - 05:25 PM

I agree.  The "walking trophy case" looks ridiculous.

 

I don't think there is any way to design a good uniform that serves equally well in a multi-purpose role as a field uniform, activity uniform, and dress uniform.

 

I vote for a having good, comfortable, floppy field uniform for outdoor activities, and forget about how it looks at meetings and ceremonies.


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#20 CalicoPenn

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Posted 18 November 2016 - 09:03 AM

In all the discussion about the sports/marching band/military analogies, something always seems to be conveniently ignored - just one word - perhaps because it just upsets our sense of righteousness, or maybe if we just gloss over it, it will go away.  That word is REQUIRED.   If you going to take the field as part of a sports team or a marching band, your uniform is a REQUIRED part of the activity.  If you're in the military and on duty, the uniform is a REQUIRED part of your duties.   

 

What makes the BSA different?  The BSA uses uniform wear as a method of Scouting - but they also make it clear in their literature that the uniform, though desirable, is NOT required for someone to participate in Scouting.  We can encourage, we can cajole, we can provide - but we cannot require uniform use.  We can certainly require that Scouts who are wearing uniforms (or parts of uniforms) wear it correctly.  Only wearing the shirt?  Buttoned and tucked in - neat and tidy - not unbuttoned flapping in the breeze like Superman's cape.  But we can't require a Scout or Scouter to obtain and wear a uniform. 

 

There is no legitimate comparison to sports teams, marching bands, fast food restaurants (which also have required uniforms) or the military.  Simply because the BSA does not require uniforms at all.


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