BOSTON (CBS) – In the “so what is this world coming to?” department, we have reached yet another tipping point.
There is no need to dwell on the oft cited examples of wayward celebrities acting like buffoons (getting thrown off planes seems to be in vogue these days), or the crooked politicians who vigorously uphold their hypocritical oaths, or the always entertaining stupid things done by intellectually-challenged criminals. Dear reader, civilization as we know it is closer than ever to coming apart; I point to the following evidence.
We’ve got ourselves a high school football team poised to win the regional championship. They score a dramatic touch down only to have the zebra in charge blow his whistle calling back the play. Why? Because of excessive celebration, a mortal sin in the eyes of some.
In case you missed it, here are some details. With just minutes to go in the game, 18-year-old Cathedral High School senior Matt Owens, on his birthday no less, carries the ball himself across the end zone to score the game winning touchdown in the Division 4A Super Bowl championship game.
But horror of horrors! In his excitement achieving the first Super Bowl victory in his school’s history, this horrid, brash, unthinking teenage athlete raises his left arm in a victory pump, a seemingly innocent reaction at such a moment, wouldn’t you say? Nothing in that gesture rises close to the level of insult or “rubbing it in the faces” of the other team. Apparently, emotion of any kind is considered unsportsmanlike on the high school grid iron. Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t football, the way we Americans play it, all about bashing, smashing, tackling, blocking—basically kicking the stuffing out of the opposing players? The game is all about that testosterone rush that big tough sweaty guys really dig. Anyhow back to the game, the heroic play was called back and the opposing team went on to win the game and the championship. By the time you read this, that decision might have been overruled or reversed, but the precedent it set is hard to figure.
My take is that the call is silly and shameful on the part of the rule makers. What’s next and will it spread to other sports? Will baseball players be denied the chance to group hug as they adorably do by the pitcher’s mound? Will hockey players after scoring a goal be required to skate back to their respective boxes without raising sticks or conking their buddies on the helmet? Winning, with all disrespect to Charlie Sheen, is still a good thing. At least it used to be. It is one thing to flaunt success and let’s face it no one admires a showoff or diva whether it be on the playing field, the office, or the classroom. It’s quite another thing to stifle a reaction of success and joy that is so natural, so inherently human. Quarterback Matt Owens has the stuff to be a winner. He deserved better last week on the field. The kid should have had the chance to celebrate a championship with his teammates. His dad says he got over it and has accepted the decision. Another productive example of humility for the rest of us. Still, a championship would be something Matt and his teammates would treasure for a lifetime.
Too bad the zero tolerance officiating crew threw down their flag, benching common sense.