Tuesday, January 27, 2009


In my reading, I enjoy perusing local newspapers' websites, particularly on stories of national interest. When I took a look at what the Dallas Morning News had to say about the now-infamous 100-0 final score of a recent game between The Covenant School of Dallas and Dallas Academy, it was fascinating reading--particularly the comments after the article. So fascinating, in fact, that I had to respond.

It is a real eye-opener to see that, even in other parts of the country, a large number of people see nothing wrong with a group of young girls embarrassing a group of other young girls at the behest of their coach, a fellow named Micah Grimes. Thankfully, he's now the former girls' basketball coach at The Covenant School, but he has his supporters. And they act in ways which are, unfortunately, quite predictable. Personal attacks, avoidance of the issues... If you're a long-time reader of this blog, you've seen the conduct documented in other discussions. But I thought I'd share some of what's going on in Dallas, as well of more of my observations on the subject matter. What follows is the text of my most recent post to the dallasnews.com website.

Thought I'd check back in with Dallas, and look at the cross section of remarks:

"Mike Bratton you are what is wrong with America today. what is with the "hive" mentality in this nation??? when did it become uncool to do your best and WIN?"

You, whoever you are, miss the point. Winning is fun. Embarrassing the other team just because you can is immoral. There's a difference.

(Oh, and for the record, one of the things that really is wrong with this country is the proliferation of people who say bellicose, outlandish things from the comfort of anonymity. As a former pastor of mine used to observe, if you can't sign your remarks, they aren't worth anything.)

"Lets just leave Iraq and Afghanistan.. the other team can't compete with us.. if we had this mentality in WWII we would not have won!!!"

Addressed this previously, but it bears repeating: This wasn't a war. It was a girls' basketball game. War analogies don't work here.

"you have to experience defeat and failure to grow as a person. not everyone deserves a trophy.. not everyone wins in life.."

The girls who were on the losing end of this game seem to be handling it well, from what we're told. If you had read closely, my concern is for the girls who won. They've been taught to step on the necks of their competition, not just to be their best.

Kicking your opponents while they're down isn't found anywhere in Scripture.

"Jesus Christ suffered and died for our sins according to what is taught by Covenant. By His example, we learn so much. What would they be teaching if someone stepped in and altered the course of His Divine Will because he had 'had enough?'"

Wow, talk about an irrational response. It's not enough to compare a girls' basketball game to a war--now someone wants to compare a girls' basketball game to Jesus' sacrificial death at Calvary?

"What if they had held the ball the entire second half? Would that be showing Christian compassion, or would the coach still have lost his job due to the fact that the other team still didn't get to shoot the ball."

What was "ridiculous" was allowing (or coaching?) your players to shoot threes in the second half of a stone-cold blowout. Grimes could've easily talked with the opposing coach at halftime, and either called the game or found some other equitable solution.

"BostonGuy, how funny that you know what that entire USA thinks. The discussion on Sports Illustrated's 'For the Record' would completely disagree with you...sports fans around the nation disagree with you."

While I am familiar with the notion of "the wisdom of crowds," the issue here is one of morality--and "the morality of crowds" is something rarely worth following.

But you keep right on hurling those "big" brickbats from the tall grass, there, TexN. All you're doing is proving my point.

"As a young sibling of a very talented and athletic brother, I lost most of my competitions with him, but it made me strong and tougher."

Did your brother step on your neck after he beat you?

"I asked all the induviduals who thought some compassion should have been shown a question... and that was 'what should they have done?' but nobody has answered that question. I'm not here to argue or sound stupid, I am just curious to know what others think should have been done, so that I can look it up in my book and see if it is considered cheating by my standards."

Then let me answer it again. Grimes, had he not been evidently myopic, could have spoken to the opposing coach at halftime and come to an equitable resolution for both teams.

And to be honest, your subjective standards aren't really part of the issue. Objective issues of right and wrong, of immorality and morality, of integrity and dishonor--those are the issues on the table.

Grimes said, "I will walk away with my integrity."

In a word: Bull.

Grimes left it on the court when he taught his players that people were less important than padded stats.


Friday, January 09, 2009

Going on the record

I'm going to tell you something.

Something that might shock you.

Believe it or not, I'm carrying around a few extra pounds.

And as of yesterday, I began my latest attempt to do something about it.

This time around, I'm going the doctor-supervised route, which makes sense for me. The injection and supplement regimen, plus the weekly check-in, look to be a way to seriously address this issue, which has steadily, sneakily worsened over the past two decades. For those who know me well, that's roughly the time I got into the very sedentary business of radio.

We have a new basketball hoop, which will give me the goal (pardon the pun) of getting back to slam-dunking. I still have friends who are in a permanent state of disbelief about that, but in my lithe, ├╝ber-athletic youth and early adulthood, my elevation was very good. Just like my kung fu. But I digress. By my next birthday, I expect to be able to elevate well enough to at least pull off a one-handed slam. Hey, it's a... target.

To be serious for a moment: There comes, I believe, a tipping point for people in addressing issues such as weight loss. Mine was a recent one, weeks ago, when I began to develop, for lack of a better term, a "perception" about myself. Now, while tall is fine, I've been big-and-tall for quite awhile, to my embarrassment. Recently, it became more than just embarrassing; I began to develop the sense that I was wearing one of those "fat suits" popularized by folks like Tyra Banks on her television show, and by Mike Myers in his "Austin Powers" movies with the character of Fat... well, I can't really say his name, but the character coined one of my favorite phrases, "Get in mah belly!"

So far, today, I've had a granola bar and a banana. Two hundred and sixty-five total calories taken in today. And I'm not hungry. It's an encouraging start.

I'll keep you posted on my progress.