by Mike Moffett
Weirs Times Columnist
NEWS ITEM: Jessica Chasmar of the Washington Times reported that the Rogers Area High School girls basketball team in Minnesota was forced out of its league after officials decided the squad was too good and was intimidating other teams. A letter to parents explained that “The Northwest Suburban Basketball League has decided Rogers does not fit … because other teams do not want to play Rogers due to the skill level.”
Talk about penalizing success!
It reminds me of socialism. If a talented and ambitious entrepreneur has an inspiring idea and works hard to convert his or her passion into financial success, then said entrepreneur must inevitably be prepared for hassle, scrutiny, criticism, jealousy, and of course, all kinds of taxes. Not to mention likely lawsuits/frivolous shake-downs.
Why is it so hard for so many to celebrate success and to honor achievement?
This is nothing new, unfortunately. “Break up the Yankees!” was a mantra heard around the land for decades, due to the baseball dominance of the Bronx Bombers. The July 10, 1927 Chicago Daily Tribune featured the following: “Well-wishers would have the league break up the Yankee combination and distribute the strength among the weak clubs.”
Talk about socialism! Bernie Sanders would have approved, no doubt. And this was when Calvin Coolidge was president, before redistribution became a staple of Democrat dogma.
Success-envy is nothing new. We in the sports world learn quickly that when you win, people want to shake your hand and hang with you. When things don’t go well, people edge away from you. You learn who your true friends are.
In 1996 the Bishop Brady boys basketball team had a juggernaut that dominated what was then Class I. Coach Frank Monahan was accused of “recruiting” and was bad-mouthed throughout the division, and some teams refused to play Brady, creating real scheduling problems for Monahan’s Green Giants. Included among Monahan’s critics were plenty of people from the Pembroke Academy community.
Fact forward from 1996 to 2014, when Pembroke had a powerhouse and had suddenly had trouble creating a schedule. What goes around, does indeed come around.
In 1990, Plymouth State College’s football team was a powerhouse, going undefeated while dominating the New England Football Conference. But not a single Panther made the All-Conference team selected by NEFC head coaches, who obviously colluded to punish Plymouth for its success. It was shameful.
Sports does indeed mirror society, the good, the bad, and the ugly. When lesser lights seek to penalize success, as apparently happened in Minnesota, it diminishes all concerned.
Legendary Green Bay Packer coach Vince Lombardi said that “The quality of a person’s life is in direct proportion to their commitment to excellence, regardless of their chosen field of endeavor.”
It may not be fashionable to quote Lombardi in 2016. But I’ll take Vince’s viewpoint every day, and twice on Sundays. His words speak to our better angels.
The Bernie Sanders of the world speak to our lesser angels.
Who served as boys varsity basketball coach at both Laconia High School and Inter-Lakes High School. (Answer follows)
Born Today …
That is to say, sports standouts born on February 11 include former Red Sox infielder Todd Benzinger (1963) and former Celtic forward Tony Battie (1976).
“Sometimes people ask, ‘Are hockey fights real?’ I say, ‘If they weren’t, I’d get in more of them.’”- Wayne Gretzky on fighting in hockey.
Rick Knowles, who starred at Plymouth State College during the late sixties and early seventies, coached both the Sachems and the Lakers.
Michael Moffett is a Professor of Sports Management at Plymouth State University and at NHTI-Concord. He recently co-authored the critically-acclaimed and award-winning “FAHIM SPEAKS: A Warrior-Actor’s Odyssey from Afghanistan to Hollywood and Back” (with the Marines)—which is available through Amazon.com. His e-mail address is email@example.com.