The Death of Wisdom; or Zero Tolerance = Zero Common Sense

Again with this?

Courtesy of WeaselZippers:

COLUMBUS, Texas — An act of faith has cost an area track team a win and a chance to advance to the state championships.

This past weekend, the Columbus High School Mighty Cardinals had just won a boys relay race when a runner’s final gesture got them disqualified. As he was crossing the finish line, Derrick Hayes pointed up to the sky.

His father believes he was giving thanks in a gesture to God.

point to God

“It was a reaction,” father KC Hayes said. “I mean you’re brought up your whole life that God gives you good things, you’re blessed.”

Columbus ISD Superintendent Robert O’Connor said the team had won the race by seven yards. It was their fastest race of the year.

Though O’Connor cannot say why the student pointed, he says it was against the rules that govern high school sports. The rules state there can be no excessive act of celebration, which includes raising the hands.

If that is what counts as “excessive”, exactly what qualifies as a sufficiently “moderate” act of celebration: sweating?


Derrick Hayes and his Mighty Cardinal teammates aren’t the only ones who have a legitimate complaint here. Sports is an area which lets all of us feel the thrill of competition and achievement, while also teaching (and re-teaching, and re-re-teaching…) the essential life lesson of how to lose with dignity and grace.

Is a simple arm towards the sky the same as taunting or belittling an opponent? I’d say unequivocally: NO.

Yet recently it seems I’m becoming a minority on this topic. Remember this example, from 2011?

BOSTON — A Massachusetts high school lost a state championship game because a player raised his arm in triumph as he ran for what would have been a go-ahead touchdown, and Boston mayor Thomas Menino doesn’t like it.

The penalty for the gesture by Cathedral High School quarterback Matthew Owens in Saturday’s Division 4A Super Bowl led to the losing team wondering if the referee’s decision could be challenged. The state association said Wednesday that it could not, and that there is no provision in MIAA rules to overturn an official’s call after a game has been concluded.


Haven’t we seen enough of this hyper-literal interpretation of Zero Tolerance-type rules by now? It’s certainly not limited to just the sports arena, that’s for sure:

The common denominator in each of these were authority figures following the most narrow, literal interpretation of the “rules”, rather than using their God-given common sense to interpret and apply the INTENT of the rules.

To go back to our initial example, was Derrick Hayes said to be “flossing”, high-stepping, or taunting after he crossed the finish line? Again, no. If the intent of such rules is to foster good sportsmanship, than I can hardly understand how punishing this kid (and the whole team) will further that goal. However, if the purpose is to drive any and all joy out of the sport, well then: this just might do it!!


I’m not agitating for the removal of all rules in society, or for our culture to start coddling those who flagrantly flaunt the law. But rules without wisdom are dangerous: they’re a blunt instrument wielded by a blind man, when a scalpel and a surgeon are called for.

Kids are kids, and we seem to be trying to make them into little, pre-programmed automatons. Instead of teaching them HOW to think, we’re force-feeding them WHAT to think. And we seem to be ignoring well-known human behavior while we do it.

We’d better wise up: when you continually try to force square pegs into round holes, you usually end up with no square pegs, …and some badly damaged round holes, too.


There is only one bright side to all this that I can see, at least as far as Derrick Hayes of Columbus, TX is concerned:

the kid’s a natural for a major endorsement deal…

sure ad

14 responses to “The Death of Wisdom; or Zero Tolerance = Zero Common Sense

  1. Thanks for the mention. Lol at the Sure ad.

    • Some of the youngsters may not get the joke….

      And always a pleasure to link to you guys, any chance I get. I always bookmark the posts that I might use later on.

      Thanks for being here, partner!

  2. It’s not hurting anyone. They’ll find any excuse to dismiss kids. Did he tell them he was thanking God? Who knows what if it was the middle finger?
    LOL! They just make me sick!!!!!!!!!!!!! Idiots. Maybe they’re afraid!!!!!

  3. Well now, JTR….I think the REAL issue, and the one you SHOULD have touched on is that we certainly don’t want anyone feeling like a “loser”, or feeling that they’ve been “bested” by another. In fact, we should do away with scorekeeping while we’re at it. Talk about your “excessive celebration”! Seriously, 49 to 0 has to be insensitive to anyone affiliated with the 0 in that deal. The 49 crowd are just a bunch of gloaters! So, I’d like to offer a few suggestions to the various sports out there:

    Football: just run up and down the field. No tackling, no scoring. Do this for about 3.5 hours so the fans get their money’s worth.

    Baseball: Well, it’s boring enough on it’s own, but….how about there are no “outs”, and everyone is safe when running the bases. Fences will be moved out to 1,000 feet so that there can’t be any gloating over a home run.

    Hockey: just skate around like it’s the IceCapades…

    And, really, do you want ANYONE who has “succeeded” to raise a hand and point a finger into the air as a gesture of thanks and acknowledgement to God? After all, what are we saying with that: “God’s on MY side, and not on yours, you loser?”.

    Sports is too much violence, too much money, too much celebration, there’s winners and losers, etc, etc, etc…

    WHAT could anyone POSSIBLY learn about life through the playing of sports?

    • Actually, your faux-argument on God being on someone’s side is exactly the way the Left argues against prayers before sporting events. The concept of praying for strength in order to do your best seems not to register with them.

      And yes, all sports should be changed. I was actually considering suggesting to our local school board that, rather than victory speeches by the winners, perhaps our athletes should start giving “Post-Competition Apologies”, where the winners publicly lambaste themselves, with a sincere promise to “try to do worse next time…”.

      Wadda ya’ think?

  4. It’s political correctness. Rush was just talking about it. Who controls it when EVERYONE thinks it’s so stupid? It’s the powers that be where ever you are. Work, school, sports…
    Who makes these rules? Why was the excessive celebrating rule made? Seems to have morphed into amateur sports and morphed into something strange.

    Get the idea it’s about control? Maybe I just feel like everyone is just heaping their rules and restrictions on us but it has so permeated our society. It’s in every activity we participate in.

    • It’s an outgrowth of White Guilt, and the battle against the 1%. Winners in society used to be celebrated; now they’re vilified.

      About the only winners who can celebrate their success free of worry are Leftists, who manage to stay out of the Line of Fire by claiming that they’re just “lucky”. It’s also considered pro forma to then vow obeissance to some Lefty cause like Global Warming, …or Global Weirding, … or Climate Change, … or whatever it is they’re calling it now.

  5. No one is allowed to use their own common sense.
    *Rant off.*
    Ok, I’m done.

  6. These bits of foolishness by liberal mind- think makes me wonder: had he pulled out a prayer rug or yelled ‘praise allah’, would a stink been raised? I think not. Liberals rarely choose the side of Right or Correct, but worship the ground of Political Correctness — which is suppression.

    • I have a feeling they would have been conflicted in that case, RP. The Libs don’t like to be called on their double-standards.

      No question about their proclivity for being PC, before all else.
      Politically Correct is the only Correct they know…

  7. This just screams “why try”

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