The Integrity of the Sport

I have taken a self-imposed hiatus from blogging this semester to focus on other, necessary things (this is a side-line isn’t it?). But I read something today that I can’t pass up. In an age where people are only sorry if they get caught, it refreshes my soul to see someone do the right thing when they aren’t in danger of being caught. J.P. Hayes realized he had used an illegal ball in his round while qualifying for his tour card. He DQ’d himself. In this day and age, people don’t do that. They wait until caught, then deny it, spin it, blame others, and if faced with overwhelming evidence, might read a pre-prepared statement apologizing for their behavior—nothing like an apology in a monotone voice. 

Not Hayes: he realized he did the wrong thing, made a phone call that could conceivably cost him millions of dollars, and in the end new all was well. May his tribe increase.


Bush on the Ballot in San Francisco: Part II

Yesterday, I quipped that some in San Francisco were hoping to vote George W. Bush into an environmentalist. In reality, they intend far different. They hope to shame him. They hope to humiliate him. They hope to dishonor him. Today, I want to address this facet of American life that knows no political affiliation.

First, God clearly mandates that we give honor to those who hold positions of authority in our lives. Naming a sewage facility after a sitting President for spite does not fit into this category. Now, before the conservative side of my readership (all two of you) cheer, we must remember that those who do not hold the power often imitate their predecessors when they take over. Note this post to see my point. You see, the liberals watched for eight years as conservatives ridiculed, belittled, and dishonored President Clinton. With Rush as their champion, conservatives held the power position of dishonoring speech. The liberals are following the conservatives’ lead.

How do you treat those in authority over you? From your boss at work, to the mayor, to your legislator, to the President, how do you speak of him or her? Do you pray for this person? Do you laugh along with the jokes, however crass?

Now, I do not believe that God’s desire to honor those in leadership means we do not have the right to question and disagree. It must not be done, however, in a dishonoring way. Many vehemently disagree with Bush’s handling of foreign policy. They have the right to speak their minds, to seek the truth, to seek to vote him out of office. Spewing venom, harboring bitterness, and performing actions out of spite do not solve any problems.

Will naming a sewage plant after Bush really resolve people’s feelings about the war in Iraq? Will it make someone feel better? Will it reverse eight years of foreign policy? No. If this passes, it will make San Francisco look like a little boy, sticking his tongue out at his older brother for keeping a secret. The older brother will head off to the ranch, ignoring his brother. The little brother, however, will find that his tongue won’t go back in, and he’ll walk around looking silly for a long time. 

That’s a man you can respect.

At the end of the trial in To Kill a Mockingbird, Lee writes,

I looked around. They were standing. All around us and in the balcony on the opposite wall, the Negroes were getting to their feet. Reverend Sykes’s voice was as distant as Judge Taylor’s:

“Miss Jean Louise, stand up. Your father’s passin’.”


Why were they all standing? This wasn’t a case of the black man having to stand for the white man. No, they wanted to. What compelled them to treat this one with respect who was on the same side of humanity’s pigment lottery as the ones they had known all their lives who treated them like dirt? They knew he gave his all for them. They knew he loved them. Now, if you asked Atticus if he loved them, you might not get that out of his lips, but the fact remains: they knew he valued them, not for their money or their position or the color of their skin. He valued them because they were human. To Atticus, that made you valuable.

He earned their respect. He didn’t demand it, force it out of them, or care whether he received it or not. His actions were performed not for their approval but because they were the right actions to take. 

All this analysis of Atticus Finch is fine and well, but if it doesn’t lead to some analysis of me, it is really a waste of time. Two questions have been running through my head since I read this. One, do I honor those who deserve honor, unashamedly? Two, do I perform and make decisions for the approval of others or because it is the right thing to do?