Over the past weekend, I was able to spend considerable time with my nephew Anthony, who just turned 14.

Anthony wants to go into the entertainment industry and he can tell you just about anything about any movie or television show, especially concerning the awards won.

Our discussions haven’t gotten to some of the classics yet, like the “Spaghetti Westerns” like 1966’s “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly” or “Il Buono, Il Brutto, Il Cattivo” in Italian. This column reflects that classic.

The Good

Despite all the troubles and woes in the world today, you don’t have to look far for positives.

Union and Borgia won softball tournaments last weekend and New Haven’s volleyball team won its own Round Robin. Many of our area cross country runners have put down the groundwork for greater success in conference and district meets.

This week’s Hermann Tournament should be a thriller. Hermann Head Coach Linda Lampkin, who is the ultimate authority on the event, states that there are at least five teams which have a good chance to win the event this year. That list has to start with defending champion Washington and includes last year’s state qualifiers Hermann, New Haven and Borgia. Pacific is another team capable of mixing it up with the top teams.

While Borgia is the area’s only undefeated football team, I see the potential for a lot of turnover within the other area competitions. The Four Rivers Conference race is wide open. Owensville, the defending champion, is looking a lot better after losing three of its first four games. The Pacific Indians have one of the best individual players in the area in Matt Strong. St. Clair has bounced back from its loss to Pacific and the St. James Tigers can’t be taken lightly, either.

I’ve seen a lot of good acts of sportsmanship as well. Many players have helped each other up, patted opponents on the back and have left any animosity out there when the play ends.

Borgia and St. Mary’s prayed together after they finally got to play Saturday. The game was postponed Friday due to civil unrest in St. Louis (please see The Ugly). The teams played for the top spot in the AAA Large Division with great vigor, but not anger. The athletes set an example for the rest of us to follow.

The same thing could be said for the Sullivan-Pacific game, where after a hard hit, players helped opponents up with a pat on the back. These people played the game hard, but fair. That’s how it should be.

The Bad

Under most weeks, this would be “The Ugly,” but unfortunately, there is worse than this going on.

I wasn’t at Union’s game at St. Clair, but I’ve been in contact with folks who either were at the game or are very concerned with what happened late in the contest.

Very late in the game, there was an incident where a St. Clair player was hit behind the play by a Union player. There was at least one ejection after that play. On the next play, there was another ejection after at least one punch was thrown in a scrum.

There is no room for this type of settling accounts at the end of a game. Play the game within the rules and move on. The outcome had been decided long before that point, so this was pointless.

I hope appropriate proper action has been taken by school leadership which has all of the facts.

What happened can’t be accepted. It turned a football game into a potentially dangerous situation. You have to exercise self-control and that’s one of the important lessons taught through high school sports.

For fans of both teams, you have to trust the system and not take justice into your own hands.

Still, that wasn’t the worst thing to happen.

The Ugly

Should politics and sports mix?

In my honest opinion, no.

I believe that most people, athletes and spectators, use sports as a chance to get away from the issues and problems of the real world and society. Sports have always been a place where the only colors that mattered were those of your team.

Unfortunately, that has changed.

In recent years, we’ve seen more and more athletes kneel, sit or otherwise “protest” during the national anthem, alienating fans.

Usually, that doesn’t hamper our core teams here. Sometimes, it does though. Protests, some which turned violent, over a court verdict in St. Louis forced St. Mary’s to postpone its football game with Borgia from Friday to Saturday.

Sporting events all around St. Louis were postponed, more for the safety and concern for the young athletes and the fans going to see them play. It’s unfortunate that the young athletes, who had nothing riding on the court case, are among the losers in the whole thing.

When did America come to these third-world riots and why?

Our “Nation of Laws” has changed in recent years. Don’t agree with a court verdict? Riot. Don’t agree with a speaker coming to your town or something which has stood for a century, etc., riot.

In short, behave like a young child and throw a temper tantrum until you get your way.

It’s not the American way and I don’t know why this has become acceptable.

America is not anarchy. It’s not a nation which cowers to violence. America is great because of the diversity which binds it and the fact that we’ve always been able to find compromise through thoughtful debate, not shouting epithets at each other. All people are created equal and have equal rights and that’s a core belief.

We’ve got a pretty darned good system. We just need to work within it, not against it.

There needs to be soul searching. If everyone would start with obeying the Golden Rule, treating your neighbors as you would wish to be treated, it would be a great start to heal the divisions which have come about in recent years. In short, show proper respect.

When we all start acting like Americans again, things will get better.