There are various different meanings to the term “Good ‘Ole Boy Network,” ranging from so-called hillbilly-redneck behavior, to womanizing corporate executives, to foolish male behavior thought to be more manly than the actions of other more well-rounded men. The term often conjures up images of men in a lounge, smoking, drinking, belching, farting, and acting obnoxious, but there are also far more distinguished acting Good ‘Ole Boy Networks than this, and many of them are not so obvious. However, as I study all the known “definitions” of this term, I can’t land on a single one which describes an acceptable behavior nor one that is truly becoming of real men.
I bring this up because the Good ‘Ole Boy Network is alive and doing well and even seems to be experiencing a bit of a rebirth in today’s culture. This fact is nothing our society should be proud of.
I first started to notice this Good ‘Ole Boy Network rebirth while watching my grandson play middle school football, several years ago. I noticed it continued to grow and pull in/recruit far too many good unsuspecting young men into its cobweb of childish behaviors and its significant breeding of influence and prejudice.
To provide some background, not for the purpose of boasting, but for the sole purpose of proving I have the credentials to analyze and comment on such a thing, I was a 4-sport High Scholl athlete, who dabbled a bit on the college fields as well. All-American in one sport and all state in two, and some 40+ years after my graduation, I still individually hold 6 school records and share a 7th with my High School best friend. I was a licensed referee in 4 sports for 20 years, and I also coached 16 seasons, finishing my coaching career with a 70%-win record. So, I know a thing or two about the subject, at least when it comes to sports.
Now when it comes to the Good ‘Ole Boy Network, it is commonly, and often mistakenly, aligned with small, mostly rural schools. But the great exodus of many caring parents from the overcrowded cities to the smaller more rural schools, I believe, has changed this. Today I believe it is far more prevalent in that tier of school systems between the large power-house programs and the small schools; let’s say the middle to mid-large schools.
Anyway, the school system I am referencing with my grandson, is possibly the largest example of the Good ‘Ole Boy Network in Indiana and continues to prove, at least in the team sports, how the Good ‘Ole Boy Network is continually a failure when it comes to fielding successful sports programs, but more importantly, it fails miserably at training and raising young men.
It should be noted that I have waited several years after my grandson’s graduation to write this, so to not allow the Good ‘Ole Boy Network to retaliate against him. I also feel it needs to be pointed out that I am not a disgruntled grandfather unhappy my grandson rode the bench. He in fact got to play quite a bit and performed very well in his limited time on the field.
What usually happens, as it has at this school, is that there are not enough teachers who wish to coach to properly fill the coaching staff needs. So, coaches and school administrators reach out to parents of known young athletes who tend to excel. These parents become assistant coaches and so the quid-pro-quo relationship begins. For the next several years, you see the coaches’ sons get the majority of playing time while numerous equally, and sometime more, qualified and capable players sit on the sidelines, just hoping to get an opportunity. However, these coaches’ sons get overplayed, exhausted, and sometimes injured instead of allowing the kids on the bench to play more. Allowing more players on the field, develops the younger players faster, keeps the overplayed players more fresh/rested, and minimizes the amount of injuries. The later leading to better teams, better teammates, and a true love of the game for ALL!
Yet these Good ‘Ole Boy Network coaches all pat themselves on the back for what a great job they have done building a program that always underachieves and never wins the ultimate prize, wrongly develops young men to believe that their (Good ‘Ole Boy Network) way is the right way, and sours many parents and kids alike on the laurels of sports and the competitive way of life. This leads to young men thinking women are inferior, other men who aren’t part of their “Network” are inferior, and that no one is as good as them and their slanted and biased views.
I recently happened upon too such men in Boston’s Logan airport. Sitting next to them in a restaurant for lunch, these two went on about their athletic prowess, their terrible disrespectful treatment of their wives, and the fact that their kids were just objects for their amusement. My view may seem harsh, but this is exactly what they were saying to each other as they boasted and bragged about their lives, their many accomplishments, and the many women who “chased after them.”
Obviously, people who think, act, and live this way care nothing about others, nothing about God, nor what will happen to them come judgement day. Jesus taught us that we are to love one another - even our enemies, that our wives are special - the brides of the church, and that our children are precious to be nurtured and taught in the Word of God. The Good ‘Ole Boy Network does nothing to honor God nor the Words of Jesus. In fact, even the Romans of Jesus day and the Jewish leaders, were more compassionate and caring, albeit ever so slightly more, than most Good ‘Ole Boys examples that I’ve encountered.
A true man not only respects everyone but he treats all with respect, especially his wife and kids. A true man will have the following attributes, actions, and attitudes:
1. For him, God comes first
2. He is pure-hearted
3. He has integrity
4. He is hard-working
5. He is naturally disciplined
6. He never gives up
7. He is generous
8. He is helpful
9. He is responsible
10. He can forgive
11. He is wise
12. He respects others
13. He is serious about his relationship
14. He is sincere
15. He usually leads a chaste life
A TRUE man is a godly man and he fears and loves God. The characteristics of a godly man make him stand out and move forward amidst tough competition. True men are different due to their strong devotion to God. They are good and are deeply rooted in living an honest and modest life.
The Good ‘Ole Boys Network, no matter your definition, cannot be filled with Godly men. They are not good for our culture, they are not good for society, nor are they good husbands and/or fathers. I’m sure there are men who are part of a Good ‘Ole Boy Networks, who aren’t terrible people. But they will never achieve all the glories God wants for them or can provide for them. Because they choose to follow such people and belong to such a group, they will always underachieve.
God wants more for these people, our young men, and for all of us – We all simply need to be in God’s network, living a relationship with Jesus, to achieve all that we can for the glory of God, for our family and friends, and for the development of our young people. Something the Good ‘Ole Boys Network can never deliver or achieve.