Have you ever been to a little league baseball game, a junior
soccer league game, or other sporting event where the young and innocent
play their hearts out for the joy of the game? Often times winning
or losing is not nearly as important as whether the after game festivities
include burgers or pizza. Game playing is an important developmental
opportunity for children of all ages. We learn about being good sports.
We learn to treat others with respect. We learn that a bully
that stands alone is no match for a coordinated team effort. We learn
there is no respect for a cry-baby, a sore loser or a an arrogant winner.
Then, the parents show up. Loving and supportive, they kiss our
ouch-ies, soothe our disappointment, and rejoice in our triumphs. But,
then there's that other kid's mom or dad. Maybe they were beaten
as a child. Maybe their own dog bit them when they were young. I
don't know. You know the type - yelling at the ump when a call goes
badly against their precious offspring, threatening the little tyke
that bumped into their child and knocked him or her down, protesting the
outcome of the match long after the kids are loaded up in the van with
visions of milkshakes dancing in their heads.
Sure, there's the occasional bad call. And, if the rules of the game
allow for a correction or reversal following a request for review, then
make the correction and continue with play. If the rules don't allow
such corrections, then we have three choices: 1) Understand
that by engaging in the game we agree to the rules as stated and get over
it. 2) Lobby to have the rules changed through official processes
outside of the game. 3) go play another game.
Umpires, judges, referees and other game officials are in a position of
power. Their position is equivalent to that of a judge and jury in
a court of law. The responsibility lies with that individual. Corruption
at this level cannot be tolerated. Corruption in sports officiating
makes a mockery of the effort of the participants. Mistakes can and
do occur. Don't confuse an honest mistake for corruption.
Now, to the Olympics. Yes, I believe there appears to be history
of deal-making and vote swapping in the world of ice skating for a long
time. Subjectively judged events such as figure skating (individual,
pairs, dancing) are notoriously difficult. That's why there are
multiple judges. The effect is to average out some of the subjectivity
and come to a reasonable, if not perfect, consensus. To the credit
of the sport, swift action was taken and an obvious error was corrected.
Allegations of corruption have definitely damaged the credibility
of the sport. Bold and sweeping corrective measures will repair the
credibility more quickly than a media parade of whining and bickering skating
So, shame on ANY official that allows their political position get in the
way of fairly dealing with the participants of the event. These people
have invested a huge portion of their life energy into developing their
skills and talents to the highest level of perfection. Again, corruption
cannot be tolerated at this level.
OK, that leaves us with the 'parents' standing on the sidelines. Give
me a break, your whole country is going to boycott the next Olympics because
a call didn't go your way? Fine! Please, go play in your own
sandbox. Throw your own little party. Give all your athletes
gold medals. Invite the other dissenters to participate in your games.
That way you'll feel better when you beat them, too. And, if
anyone complains about corruption, just throw them out of your country.
It's really sad, you know:... It's no wonder so many of your
athletes train in our country!