Just Play Ball Already

Chris Paul

Those of us that saw the post game comments running on the bottom of the screen knew it was only a matter of time before Clippers guard Chris Paul would be fined by the NBA.  Players displaying frustration after a loss is nothing new…and pointing said frustration in the direction of those wearing black and white stripes is as old as the game itself.  What is relatively new to the game though, are female referees.  And when Paul opted to summarize his displeasure with rookie ref Lauren Holtkamp by saying “this might not be for her”….a double whammy had been delivered—frustration with a female referee—uh oh!

The league frowns upon criticism of referees….speech may be free, but breaking rules can be quite costly.   Players and coaches alike can expect to drop a hefty amount…of course they are all hefty to me….into the fine jar if they insistent on airing negative comments. 

Whether Paul intended for his comments to touch a nerve, maybe even the last one, of females from coast to coast only he truly knows.  But having watched the game, I’m leaning toward a good old fashioned case of displacement.  The Clippers were getting beaten as if they had stolen something from the Cleveland Cavaliers.  Don’t let the final score fool you…it was all window dressing…by then starters were seated, back-ups were done, and positions were being raffled off to fans in the stands.

The thing is…players with the type of experience usually associated with the professional level…all know how to gauge how officials are calling a game.  Pitchers know if an umpire has a generous strike zone, cornerbacks recognize how much touching a referee is going to allow, and guards should know if a ref is refusing to relinquish his or her right to blow a whistle.  As such, players adjust style of play accordingly…if they are unable to do so, perhaps the game might not be for them!

College basketball lost two of its greats.  It is interesting how they won national titles with teams that couldn’t have been more polar opposite.  Dean Smith’s University of North Carolina Tarheels were such a prominent presence, they made foes think twice about taking the shade of baby blue lightly.  Meanwhile, what was happening in Vegas soon happened to the rest of the college basketball world as Jerry Tarkanian’s Running Rebels of UNLV had swag before we had the term itself!….

Chicago’s Jackie Robinson West has been stripped of its Little League Championship.  My heart goes out to the children and all of the hard work they put in to realize their goals!  No doubt, racial overtones are all over this story.  Yet, even if we were to remove it from youth sports in general, we’re still faced with another ugly element that knows no boundaries, race or otherwise….overzealous parents. 

We’ve all seen ‘em…the ones living so vicariously through their children they may as well be wearing skinny jeans, listening to Mindless Behavior, and skateboarding to school.  Wherever they are, chaos is sure to follow! 

Over the next few days, all eyes are sure to be on the NBA’s All-Star Weekend.  I have long lost the sit on the edge of my seat excitement about the Dunk Contest…and even question..yearly…its very existence.  I’m just shy of 100% sure though it’ll be on in my household…again. I know I know….gotta work on that…all talk and no follow-through, does not a change agent make!


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