Tuesday, September 19, 2006

What are we teaching here?

Last fall, the star quarterback for Shawnee High School was suspended for two games during the state playoffs for fighting. In the closing seconds of the class 5A quarterfinal game, a defender jumped over the line on a kneel-down play, and Tucker Brown responded by kicking him. He was ejected from the game, and that ejection automatically carried a two game suspension, which made him ineligible for the semifinals and finals (if Shawnee could continue winning). Rather than accept the consequences, the Brown family (whose dad also happened to be the head football coach) decided to take it to court. They eventually lost, and Shawnee failed to win a state title.

At the time, the public outcry in Oklahoma was questioning the lesson being taught to those Shawnee players through all of this. It sure appears they were being taught to fight and argue and sue until you get the outcome you want.

Fast forward to this week's events in the Oklahoma-Oregon game. Oklahoma is complaining about two calls that went against them, even after replay reviews. I'm not even getting into whether the calls were right or wrong. I think most people have concluded that at least the on-side kick call was wrong, and if that had been called correctly, the second one would never have happened.

My question is how you handle a situation such as this.

Exhibit One:
University of Oklahoma President David Boren asked Big 12 conference Commissioner Kevin Weiberg to seek the following on OU's behalf:
1. An apology from the Pac-10 Conference for the "gross errors" in officiating.
2. Suspension of game officials for the rest of the season
3. Removal of the Pac-10 Conference rule stating that it will only use Pac-10 officials in nonconference games at Pac-10 campuses.
4. Request that the game should not go into the record books as a win or loss by either team.
5. Place on the appropriate agendas of NCAA meetings and conference commissioners' meetings a discussion of how the film review process should be conducted

Exhibit Two:
PORTLAND, Ore. -- The instant replay official whose failure to overturn a bad call led to a narrow Oregon victory over Oklahoma said Monday he feels like he is under siege after threatening phone calls, including a death threat.
Riese said he has stopped answering the phone, and police are investigating the threatening calls while keeping an eye on his neighborhood.
"They not only threatened me, they threatened my wife and kids," Riese said.

So, what are our young people being taught by the University of Oklahoma? If calls don't go your way, write a letter demanding that the result of the game be overturned and officials be suspended. Demand apologies.

And by OU fans? Since football is a life and death thing, be sure to support your university by flooding the offending official and his family with death threats so he won't do it again.

Unfortunately, I'm not surprised, considering the source.

How long until that exact thing happens on the high school level, now that it has been modeled by a university? How long will it be before we read of high schools demanding that a loss be taken off their record because of poor officiating? How long until some high school student, angry about his team supposedly being jilted by a game official, goes to his house and shoots him?

Why can't we use an event such as this to teach how life isn't always fair? That people make mistakes sometimes, and they can't always be righted? That God alone is perfect, and in this world there will be injustice on occasion?

What gives OU the right to cast the first stone? Did they play a perfect game? Did they not make a single mistake? Why is it just the mistake of these officials that supposedly cost them this game? Is there no personal responsibility? If they had played better the previous 55 minutes would they have been in this situation? Is a mistake in the first quarter somehow not as important as one in the final quarter?

Why isn't OU equally upset that they couldn't execute a 44 yard field goal as time expired that would have won the game regardless of the official's mistakes? Why not request a public apology from the kicker for kicking the ball too low, or from the line for failing to block well enough? Why single out the officials?

Sad, sad, sad. OU, you should be ashamed of yourself. OU fans, you should be ashamed of your university president and of the action of some (not all) of your fans.

But, in general, I'm really just sad at how serious sports have become in our society. They aren't worth law suits and death threats, people. Get over it and move on to next week's game.


drjimwhite said...

I played a little basketball in high school and college. I remember walking into gyms, particularly in my high school years, and recognizing the officials for that night, knowing that they would call a sorry game. My coach's response? If you play well enough, you don't have to worry about officials. It was something I learned a long time ago...don't worry about the officiating. Focus on what I could affect.

Brenda said...

I have enough to say but I will practice restraint on this subject matter! ;o)

Shane Coffman said...

You wouldn't call in a death threat on my cat, would you, Brenda? ;-)

To be clear: I think the call was bad, too. I just don't think it is being handled appropriately by the university or by some (not all) of its fans.

And I would be incredibly embarassed if it were OSU in this situation.

Brenda said...

About your cat...well???? ha!

I too think it was an absolutely bad call, but this has gone on to be a bit ridiculous in my book. I agree...there are some OU fans that are taking this a bit too far. Even the coach.
It's just a game for the love of...football!

Anonymous said...

A very good example of why parents should learn to pick up the Bible and learn with their own children or grand kids how to treat the other person. Sadly that is not what the "world" or some of our own manage to do. I agree with your post!


Anonymous said...

I'd explain it to you but it would just take too long. Cowboys with comments are like gnats. They are just annoying and will go away when the weather gets cold....like around bowl game time! LOL! Have a nice day!

Shane Coffman said...

Anonymous -

Explain it. I'm not talking about team loyalty here. As I mentioned, I would be embarrassed if this were OSU.

So, how do you rationalize OU's response as teaching the correct morals and values to our kids?

Anonymous said...

I will be the first to admit that as a native Oregonian and a lifelong Duck fan, I am biased. But the truth is, there is no way to defend Dr. Boren's response. This is a football GAME. I love football. But it is a game. Life is not fair. Never has been, never will be. As a parent, I need to take this as an opportunity to teach my child - but not what Dr. Boren is teaching.

-Mark Curtis

Franklin Wood said...

I must admit...I was yelling at the TV when those calls were made. But when I heard about Boren's letter, I disagreed.
Yes, the calls were grossly wrong, but suspend them for a whole season? This is their job! Their way of making income! I hope people don't ask for my year-long suspension when I mess up! Maybe the better idea is to ask for an investigation to see if $$ changed hands somewhere.
About the game being stricken from the records, that's just ridiculous.
I agree that's sports sometimes edge their way a little to high on our priority list. As a youth minister, it makes me sick when kids have football practice on Labor Day morning.
Wouldn't it be great if we put all that hope and excitement into our God and His church?

Jeanne said...

Well said Shane. I long for the days when athletics were more about teaching good character traits rather than lack of character. No wonder the world has lost its focus. I wonder if these same people get that upset when the real tradgies of life such as child abuse, murder, robberies,rape,etc... happen, or have we become so used to those things that they no longer capture our attention, much less our emotions.

Anonymous said...

Since when is it so unfair to not accept incompetence in job performance these days? This person was paid to do a job to prevent just this type of situation and he failed miserably! What I disaggree with most is your sweeping use of your little blog spot to denegrate all the fans and a university with a reputation for excellence and accusing them of corrupting the morale fiber of our whole nation! It goes so far as one writer implying that if you were upset with the call you don't care about child abuse and other atrocities. Please. This IS just a game and you all need to practice what you preach and move on!

Jeanne said...

Sorry if I offened you Anonymous, but being upset with a call is one thing, and the point here is how far the president who represents the university and some of the fans have gone to try and right what they feel was such an injustice. When the president of a university steps forward to denoucne something that draws a lot of attention. You are correct it was just a game - so why can't a president of a university step forward and lead his school and fans in doing something that would make a difference in the moral fiber of our nation. I don't approve of imcompetence either and I do understand loyalty, but it seems to me there are things worth going to such great lengths and passion about and as you say, this was just a game. It would seem to me there was an opportunity to teach a greater lesson here and that opportunity was lost.

Vanessa said...

Sheesh, good job Mom! Makin' people mad! ;) Love you!

Just to take some tension out, I'm gonna say something that doesn't relate at all *lol*: I heard you and Alice have some larger items of mine in your garage... *lol* I must admit, I was a little embarrased at first - my overplanning for everything (and planning early) secret is out. haha! But thank you for keeping it! I appreciate it greatly.

Shane Coffman said...

No problem, Vanessa. You can come over, look at it and dream or drool any time.

Shane Coffman said...

By the way, Anon

I'll use my "little blogspot" to express my opinion whenever I want to. That's why it exists. I graciously allow comments (even anonomously) for people to disagree if they choose.

You should know that as soon as I finished typing the original post, and long before you read and commented the first time, I also e-mailed it directly to David Boren.

And I had the guts to sign my name.

Franklin Wood said...

Sorry if I offended, but "incompetence" to me is different from "making a mistake." Incompetence takes place over time.
I also think that people should be competent in their jobs. But a game-calling official? It's not like he was an air-traffic controller or president whose decisions would affect the lives of people.
Shane also said that he was NOT talking about all OU fans (I consider myself one, but I like OSU as well.)

Mike Morton said...

Good Lesson, Shane... and this is coming from a COACH! AMEN!

I too, didn't agree with the ruling and did think that OU got screwed! (sorry if I offend) But what would we be talking about if instant-replay wasn't even an option. Just like a basketball call... officials have to make the best decisions on an instant; even if the coaches, players, and fans think it's the wrong one. (guess I'd better remember this in 2 months, huh?)

But you're right about what are we teaching the kids today. High school kids look at college players and are already mimicing them... uniforms, head-bands, equipment, etc... there's more of an "example" here than people think.

ANON... get over it.

Shane... good job and I'm proud of you letting Boren know about it. Eventhough I am an OU fan. :-)

I like Bob Stoops stand though... yea, he didn't like it, but HEY let's move on to the next one!

Anonymous said...

Jeanne writes "You are correct it was just a game - so why can't a president of a university step forward and lead his school and fans in doing something that would make a difference in the moral fiber of our nation."

I couldn't disagree more! I think that is just what President Boren did when stepped forward and led his school and fans in doing something that would make a difference. He spoke out for what was right. Your idea of a more moral action may have been teaching your "students" to just accept it even though it was wrong but I don't see how that is making our "moral fiber" any stronger. I guess this is just where we will just have to disagree!

And Shane. . ."And I had the guts to sign my name." I can only hope what you wrote relfected the respect you should have as a representative of the Christian faith. As far as signing my name what good would that do? You don't know me nor do the people who normally read "your little blog". Sorry about hurting your feelings here. It was sent to me by someone you INFLUENCE. You might think about that influence before you go ape crazy on some subject. You represent the Memorial Church of Christ and if I were a member of your Church I would hope you would step forward and realize you represent your church even on your blog spot. I hope you would watch the spirit of your rants especially when they are the thinly veiled rantings of a overwrought osu cowboy who supports a university who will ALWAYS be second best because they don't have the class to aim for anything bigger than OU's back,like a national championship.

Garrett Tisdale

Shane Coffman said...

“You have heard that it was said, “Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.” But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.”

- Jesus

“He was oppressed and afflicted, yet He did not open His mouth.”

- The prophet Isaiah

I think that’s one thing we’re trying to reinforce here, Garrett. “Accepting it even though it is wrong” is certainly a biblical concept. One that Christians have failed to practice time and time again, and one that the world certainly doesn’t agree with and can’t understand.

As to the rantings of this Cowboy, I would just point out the vast number of sports writers and television analysts who in the past week have been equally critical of how OU has handled this situation. I’m nowhere near alone in this opinion. In fact, I haven’t read anyone coming to Boren’s defense on this issue outside of fans wearing crimson colored glasses. Yes, plenty (including myself) have said they think the Sooners were robbed on the calls, but none that I have read or heard have defended the university president for his letter, nor the few bad OU fans for their harassing of the official. And those are the only two things I was criticizing.

If something is worth standing up for, you shouldn’t be ashamed to put your name on it. Boren wouldn’t know who I am either (although he would probably remember my parents from their days in Seminole, OK, many years ago, long before he was OU’s president), but I signed my e-mail to him all the same. I appreciate you extending that same courtesy here, at least when in such disagreement.

Respect? I don’t recall referring to anyone as gnats or apes. I stand by everything I have said and how I have said it. Jesus ticked some people off with the truth, too.

How do you respond to the news reports that the replay official had only one bad replay angle to review in the time allowed and, when that replay did not conclusively prove that the call on the field should be overturned, did what he was supposed to do?


Seems like an apology to the replay official for jumping to conclusions and calling him incompetent would be in order.

I think what scares me the most about this whole conversation is that I find myself agreeing with Bobby Knight.



Mike Morton said...

Ok... now this is getting old. So Garrett (now we know who you are), let me ask you one thing...

Why are you even responding to this? It's obvious that the ONLY reason you're responding to this posting is to support your team. The ONLY reason... It's over and done with... move on to other blogs to debate with. I'm not an OU or OSU fan... but I defintly can find better use of my time than to drag this issue out. BTW... ever heard of Freedom of Speech?

Mike Morton
Shane's best friend...

John said...

Shane... you brought up that BTW-Shawnee game, eh? That was my tape that they used to confirm the Tucker Brown suspension... anyway, good post--I agree with your points completely.