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Archive for January, 2013

20130121-103938.jpg“You are pathetic!”

The shouted words reverberated in my ears as we walked in the door last Saturday, and I immediately knew. I could see their owner jumping up and down, with the referee only a few small feet from his critic. Indeed, we had arrived at the scene of the crime, albeit a crime of passion.

Before we go on, some definitions are in order: “Pathetic, meaning, miserably inadequate”, to which I might say to last weekend’s protester, “Touch√©“?

How about “vitriolic“?

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These utterances occurred in a small Oklahoma hamlet, during a “game” designed to improve the health of its participants. How sadly ironic. You see, only a year prior to this past weekend, some residents of said unmentioned hamlet were in our neighborhood for a similar roundball match up, and the cursing and anger were present even then. Our young protagonist in the picture above was on the receiving end of the rhetoric, and he was not even on the floor or in uniform.

We spoke that night last year (my young protagonist friend and I) and at times over the year to follow, about what the rematch would be like “on their turf”. While it did not surprise, it sadly did serve to disappoint.

Is this what we’ve come to? Were he here today, BBall inventor Dr. James Naismith would likely not be smiling, and I can’t say that I would blame him.

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Our beloved “KD” has begun crossing the line publicly this year, and its a little sad to watch. I have examined and found myself guilty a time or two of possessing and expressing some “vitriol” during a game or two recently, but thankfully without said profanity. Still, that is no excuse.

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Here is some history of the game for us, courtesy of “Wikipedia”:

At Springfield YMCA, Naismith struggled with a rowdy class which was confined to indoor games throughout the harsh New England winter and thus was perpetually short-tempered. Under orders from Dr. Luther Gulick, head of Springfield YMCA Physical Education, Naismith was given 14 days to create an indoor game that would provide an “athletic distraction”: Gulick demanded that it would not take up much room, could help its track athletes to keep in shape and explicitly emphasized to “make it fair for all players and not too rough.”

Therein lies a great reminder: “…not too rough”. It’s a great message for us all, and a reminder of what it’s all about. It is only a game, and the true battles royale are of the heart, and not on the hardwood. Our true enemies are enthroned anger, hate, resentment, crime, poverty, and the like, and not our opponents in a contest of skill and will.

KD’s grandma took him to task in the public eye a week or two ago, and I wish we could all take a lesson from her message.

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Our young protagonist and I have visited this year about containing our anger, both on the court and in the stands, and thankfully we both passed muster in a tough place Saturday night, with him ultimately standing tall at half court the victor in both score and sportsmanship on that night.

We both pledge to continue that battle. I only hope KD can do the same. Thankfully we have his grandma to remind us.

I wonder if she likes small town basketball, as well? We’ve got room in our car…

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