Thursday, October 4, 2012

A local injustice

A couple good events can be celebrated this Thursday morning.  The first debate is behind us and the Red Sox season has mercifully ended.

If you're looking in here for my reaction to the debate, you're out of luck.  My wife was called to work earlier than usual yesterday morning to put together her specialty at the place in which she works part time.  As a result we were up and about around 4 A.M.  As a result, I went to bed about nine last night and didn't watch the debate.  I haven't yet had time to absorb all the news coverage about it.  If I do, and I get moved, I'll edit this later on to possibly reflect some observation, but they won't be first hand, only as the news media wants me to be informed.

Updated Thursday PM:  The word from both democrat and republican pundits seems to indicate that Mitt Romney came out ahead after last night's debate.  End update.

Not since 1966 has the Red Sox had such a disastrous season.  In spite of the September collapse a year ago, the Sox opened this year with some new changes, both on and off the field.  Perhaps the biggest change was the hiring of Bobby Valentine as manager.  What we learned very early on was his basic philosophy:  My way or the highway.  We lost some really good players because they dared to get on Bobby V's list.  In fairness, some players were let go to other places that probably never should have been a Soxer in the first place.  Boston paid dearly for the management mistake.

Now the off-season has begun for the Red Sox so we'll be patient for a moment or two to see what happens, such as who they sign and who they unsign.

Updated Thursday PM:  That didn't take long.  The rumors proved to be correct as the Boston Red Sox fired manager Bobby Valentine today.  He will be paid next year's contracted $2.5 million.  It also appears that Dice-K is also gone.  End update. 

Another sports story caused me to do some thinking this week.  The State Champion Cheverus High School basketball team was stripped of their 2009-2011 season state title along with their Western Maine title because an ineligible player helped win them.  The school and its staff did nothing wrong.  In fact, they tried to play the game exactly according to the rules and self-reported the player to the Maine Principals' Association, the group that controls high school sports.

Like Cheverus, the MPA followed the rules and agreed with the suspension of the player which took place at the end of the semester just before the championship season began.  He had transferred to Cheverus from another country which had different sports seasons than those here.  As a result his eligibility ended.  Everything was handled correctly to here and the fairness of the sport in Maine was upheld.  We may or may not like the limited time Maine athletes are eligible for their sports, but all followed the rule and everyone understood it.

The parents of the young man, however, didn't agree with it and took the suspension to a local judge and was given a temporary restraining order forcing the team to return him to competition.  I'm sure the judge only wanted to look out for the fairness to the young man, but that decision has now proven to have made it unfair for a whole bunch of young people who may have had a better chance of winning the title themselves.

I'm not saying that Cheverus wouldn't have won the championships anyway.  The whole team was loaded with talent and the school has a history of winning that continues today.  That team was coached by one of, if not the, best Maine basketball coaches this state has ever had.  And the coach did report the possible problem.  Nevertheless, he was ordered by the judge to restore the boy to his pre-suspension activity.

However, that judge, as I said probably in good faith he was only being fair, has caused the team to vacate the championships.  It has caused team members of two other schools wondering, "What if ...?"  Many lives have been affected by that one "fairness" decision. 

As I said, there is nothing to show that the outcome of the season would have been different.  Considering just how good Cheverus was/is, probably nothing would have changed; but three teams, one negatively, have been cheated out of learning that the hard, honest play can lead to victory.

Like you, I know all the names of the involved in this story but I've chosen not to use them so that I don't treat them "unfairly."  I would also point out that many of the young men involved would disagree with my feelings here.  A complete story, including the names, appeared in the Wednesday Portland Press Herald.


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