Sunday, October 28, 2012

Derivations on a Theme -- Hand Ball

Trey Smith

I have written quite a few posts in the past year in which I bemoan the lack of principles exhibited by the two mainstream political parties in the US. When the opposition party holds sway, the other jumps up and down like an angry 2 year old about this or that policy, yet when the opposition party grasps the reins of power, they end up embracing many of the same policies with glee. It can be a maddening spectacle for those of us who watch from the sidelines as the parties contort themselves -- all dependent on which one takes the lead role.

But we should know that this ongoing phenomena isn't reserved solely for the political scene. Political intrigue merely reflects how most of us live our lives on a day-to-day basis. DagoodS makes this point abundantly clear in a recent post at Thoughts from a Sandwich. In his post, he is not talking about political races; it's about refereeing children's soccer matches.
But these parents are not interested in being informed. These parents are not there to learn the laws of the game. The last thing these parents want is game instruction. They want their child’s team to win. Win, win, win! And any call (or lack of call) by the referee standing in the way of winning is the equivalent of a deadly insult.

I know this because I watch what happens when their own players commit the same actions and the parents are strangely quiet. Ball hits an opposing player’s hand? “Hand ball! Hand ball!” Ball hits own teams’ hand? Not even crickets chirping.

Last week I was refereeing and the red team’s player collided with the blue team’s player — the red player ended up on the ground. Behind me I heard, “Foul, ref! He just knocked our kid to the GROUND and you aren’t going to call anything?” (There wasn’t any foul.) About two minutes later, a red player tripped a blue player and the blue player ended up on the ground. The center (correctly) whistled for a tripping foul. The exact same parent yells, “Just because they end up on the ground, doesn’t mean there was a foul!” I wanted to laugh out loud — they didn’t even realize their own contradictory statements.
In my mind, this overall issue relates to this blog because the Taoist sages frequently discussed the matter of distinctions. They warn us repeatedly that, when the ego is involved, we tend to distinguish the aspects of life in an unfair way. We want to penalize or constrict those we oppose, while providing wide berth to ourselves or those we favor. In other words, if you commit some offense, it is wrong as wrong can be and you should be sanctioned. If I commit the same offense, I can ALWAYS provide a justification, so no sanctions should be applied.

Since we all behave this way in our everyday lives, is it any wonder that this same behavior is carried forth into the political realm?

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