Blog Credo

The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.

H.L. Mencken

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Lesson Or Lessen?

Last Saturday, arguably our best wrestler was disqualified and thrown out of our tournament on a poor judgment call by the referee.  Basically, he was being crossfaced by his opponent, when his opponent forced his wrist into our kid's mouth, leaving teeth impressions on the top and bottom of his wrist.

The referees ruled that it was a bite, which is "flagrant misconduct" and brings an automatic disqualification.  As a consequence, he could no longer compete in the tournament.  He went from being on his way to the finals (it was a semifinal match) to being completely removed from the tournament, his team points removed and his medal taken away.

There is also a league rule that he can't compete in the following competition, which happens to be the New England tournament.  We appealed, and significantly, the opposing coach whose wrestler was "bitten" supported our appeal.  He noted that his wrestler did not think our kid bit him and the coach was in a position to see what happened and did not see any evidence of biting.

The appeal was denied today.

Basically this very good kid - who would've finished second in the league at worst - who had his season ended on a controversial judgment call.

And while I'm disgusted with the referees, I understand that refs make mistakes.  Heat of the moment, long day and all that.

But the appeal was sent to a committee of athletic directors who turned it down under the cold light of deliberation.  These people are supposed to be educators.  Instead, they behaved like rule-bound bureaucrats.

So today, when I address the team, I am going to have to talk about how rules/laws are not the same as justice.  That this poor kid - who has handled it with more dignity and restraint than I would have (or have) - was screwed because last year the tournament (which he would have won) was snowed out and this year he was DQ'ed on a bad judgment call.

This is, perhaps, a good lesson for kids to learn.  Sometimes injustice happens, and sometimes it happens to good people.  If we are to prepare them for the world, they should know that.

But as an educator, what a crappy thing to have to tell a roomful of kids.

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