Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Published in Sports


Gridiron Pains

An interesting debate is engulfing the NFL upon revelations that New Orleans Saints' players received thousands of dollars in bonuses for "inflicting injuries" on opponents "that would result in them being removed from the game."

I'm a long-standing critic of the "nanny-state sissies running football" and attempts to have the game "neutered by administrators who have lost the love of sport and succumbed to the gradual enervation of joyless regulation." On the other hand:

Unsportsmanlike conduct was an honorable penalty. Intentionally attempting to unnecessarily harm another player is contrary to the standards of gamesmanship. Spearing, late-hits and the like should be punished, as they demean the game and cross the line of decency.

Defensive coordinator Gregg Williams' pay-for-pain policy pretty clearly crosses the line. Sportsmen drive their opponents into defeat - they don't assault them with financially-motivated malice. Football's a hard game - and those who don't play by the rules need to be treated with hard knocks. Williams and the like deserve what's coming to them.

Categories > Sports



NY Knicks point guard Jeremy Lin exhibits American virtues, not Chinese ones. One could conclude this from simple observation as well from this book on Chinese (PRC) professional baseketball. "Why are there no Jeremy Lins [point guards] coming out of China?" The answer lies in politics--the sports of a free society and those of a totalitarian one.

Speaking of Lincoln, note this 1860 cartoon of the presidential candidates, featuring baseball metaphors. Lincoln installed a baseball diamond on the White House grounds, as Diana Schaub relates in her classic essay on the All-American sport.

Categories > Sports


Blood in the Water, 1956

The Guardian is running a series on "50 stunning Olympic moments". Number 7 is about the water polo game between Hungary and the USSR in December, 1956, a month after the Soviets crushed the revolution:  "These are the facts: on 6 December 1956 Hungary and the Soviet Union contested a water polo semi-final that has earned a place in infamy, an occasion that seethed with threatened or actual violence from the first minute and ended in chaos after Hungary's young attacking prodigy Ervin Zador was taken, bleeding, out of the pool and straight to the medical room."  The whole thing is worth reading. The Hungarians won 4-0 and a few days later won the gold medal game against Yugoslavia.  Half the team never went home, Zador ended up in California where he became a swimming coach.  He still lives.
Categories > History


U.S. Women's Advance to Semi-Finals

The #1 ranked U.S. women's soccer team just beat #3 Brazil by one point in an overtime penalty kick shootout. The U.S. team, playing 55 minutes with a woman down, scored a literal last minute goal to tie up the game at 2-2 (following two goals by Brazil's forward, five-time FIFA world player of the year, Marta), sending the match into overtime. Described as gritty and winning over the German crowd, the women's team now moves into the semi-finals, scheduled for Wednesday against France. Japan and Sweden will also compete in a semifinal match on Wednesday.

I didn't even know there was a women's U.S. soccer team, let alone that we were ranked #1 and one game away from the FIFA World Cup. Strange what happens when you are surrounded by Europeans.

Categories > Sports


The Enemy of My Enemy is My Friend

Ohio Governor John Kasich has made the Dallas Mavericks honorary citizens of Ohio for today. While not mentioning LeBron "take my talents to South Beach" James by name, he joins Dan Gilbert and other "Cavs for Mavs" with an excellent swipe:

"Whereas, NBA Finals Most Valuable Player Dirk Nowitzki chose to re-sign with the Dallas Mavericks in the summer of 2010, forgoing free agency and keeping his talents in Dallas, thus remaining loyal to the team, city and fans for whom he played his entire career"

The full Resolution is on the Governor's site. I'm sure the Heat will win the championship some year, but it sure is nice for us Cavs fans that it wasn't this year. The self-titled King still chokes in the fourth quarter, just like he did in Cleveland.
Categories > Sports


Sumo Wrestler in the L.A. Marathon

A 405-pound sumo wrestler hopes to complete the Los Angeles Marathon this weekend and be entered into the Guinness Book of World Records as the heaviest person to cross the finish line. He refers to himself as "The Fat Man" and is doing it not as some sort of radical attempt to lose weight; he's doing it because he wants to do it, has wanted to do it for a while, and wants to actually make history doing it unlike all those "thin people" who will be running the marathon. He certainly has more determination to complete such a trying thing than some of us lean and hungry types. Good luck to him as he trudges along this weekend! 

"Gneiting is a dreamer. Running 26.2 miles is a goal he's harbored since grade school. But someday he would also like to hike from the Dead Sea to Mt. Everest. He would like to swim the English Channel, because, he says, he floats like a cork. He would like to play in the NFL for the Philadelphia Eagles, and recently sent a resume in hopes of a tryout. He hasn't heard back."

Update: He did it! In under ten hours.
Categories > Leisure


Obama Does Something Right

The White House Super Bowl Sunday tail-gate party includes bratwurst, kielbasa, cheeseburgers, deep-dish pizza and Buffalo wings with sides of German potato salad, twice-baked potatoes and assorted chips and dips. Yuengling Lager and Light, as well as Hinterland Pale Ale and Amber Ale, are on tap to wash it all down.

This is especially commendable on the part of President Obama, who (like many men across the nation) is surely going to take one for the team when his wife, the First Lunch-Lady, tallies up all the calories consumed on game day.

So, here's to Obama being one of the guys!

Categories > Sports


Comeback Kids Come Up Short

It's only fitting to note with somber lamentation that the black and gold finally failed to surge ahead as the underdog champion to win the game in the end. Sometimes good does not immediately overcome evil....

There's always next year.

Categories > Sports


Before King (Updated)

There was Frederick Douglass.  Drawing on his significant book, Peter Myers succinctly describes Douglass's greatness here, on the Heritage Foundation's website.  Douglass's evolution from a despiser of the Constitution to a defender of it, even without an anti-slavery amendment, poses a model for Americans today who seek a return to the Constitution.  Douglass is required reading for the Tea Party. 

Also before King was Jackie Robinson, the Dodger star who integrated the All-American game.  Like sprinter Jesse Owens in the "Hitler Olympics," he showed excellence in his talent and in that way made the case for equality.  In their own way they made, like King, natural law arguments for equality.

UPDATE:  The Sage of Mt. Airy reflects on his own white, Southern tergiversations regarding the appropriateness of the King Holiday.  Unlike Douglass, King apparently declined in his esteem for the document. 

Categories > Race


Making Footballs

Here's a fascinating little video about how Wilson makes NFL footballs.
Categories > Sports