ORIGINALLY WRITTEN JOE KLEINSASSER
It’s been said that sports build character. Others say that sports build characters. There’s a kernel of truth in both statements, but the unvarnished truth is that sports reveal character.
If you have officiated, coached, played or watched sports for long, you will recognize that life, like sports, isn’t fair. There are more than enough bad calls, questionable coaching decisions, unforced errors, and clueless fans to go around.
Of course, we’re outraged by any perceived injustice. With that in mind, consider the following statement that’s attributed to State Rep. Mitchell Kaye of Georgia:
“We, the sensible people of the United States, in an attempt to help everyone get along, restore some semblance of justice, avoid any more riots, keep our nation safe, promote positive behavior, and secure the blessings of debt-free liberty to our great-great-great grandchildren, and ourselves, hereby try one more time to ordain and establish some common sense guidelines for the terminally whiny, guilt-ridden, deluded, and other mentally weak folk who surround us.
“We hold these truths to be self-evident: that a whole lot of people are confused by the Bill of Rights and are so dim that they require a Bill of No Rights.”
At this point, I will digress from Kaye’s list to my own Sports Bill of No Rights.
Article I: Grade school children do not have a right to wear the latest and most expensive tennis shoes. More power to them if their parents choose to buy the faddish shoes, but no one is guaranteed anything but functional athletic shoes.
Article II: Athletes do not have the right to playing time without earning it.
Article III: Athletes do not have the right to think they will improve without practice and hard work.
Article IV: Coaches do not have the right to expect every close call to go their way
Article V: Fans do not have a right to burn things, pillage and plunder simply because their college or professional team wins a championship.
Article VI: Officials do not have a right to think they can run up and down the floor or field with young athletes and not experience aches and pains as they get older.
Article VII: Officials do not have a right to think they won’t be second-guessed by anyone with a vested interest in the outcome.
Article VIII: Coaches do not have a right to think that they won’t be second-guessed by anyone with a vested interest in the outcome.
Article VIII: Fans do not have a right to think that they can do a better job of officiating or coaching if they aren’t willing to become an official or coach.
Article X: Athletes do not have a right to celebrate excessively after making a routine play.
Article XI: Officials do not have the right to alter the rules just because they don’t agree with the rule book.
Article XII: No golfers have the right to think that they will improve their cardiovascular health while riding in a golf cart.
Article XIII: No Kansas City Royals fans have the right to think their team will compete for a championship in 2003, but they can dream.
Article XIV: Fans of highly successful high school athletic programs do not have the right to think that their teams should compete for a championship every season.
Article XV: Fans can question the coaching prowess of Roy Williams and Bill Snyder, but they don’t have the right to say that Williams and Snyder aren’t good coaches simply because they haven’t won a national championship.
Article XVI: No one has a right to a college degree any more than they have a right to run a 4-minute mile. But everyone should have the right to run in the race.