Water Polo and the Judge

 

131007_DX_ScaliaIsMean.jpg.CROP.promo-mediumlargeThe whistles from both sides of the Olympic pool blew hard. The white clad referees each pointed to the defender in front of my son and held up the four fingers representing his number, and then pointed to the side. The player was done. Kicked out. The blood oozing from my sons nose was finally enough proof the other kid used his elbow too many times.

Not wanting to mollycoddle, but suitably concerned, I remained standing in my position, clapping and cheering him on as the teams went back to their respective corners. The coach checked on my son. This wasn’t just any game; they were deep into a qualifying tournament, just a feat to be there at all, which if they medaled would provide an invite to the Junior Olympics.

For the past few minutes the phone was furiously buzzing in my back pocket. It was Saturday afternoon. No business today, I thought, and left alone whatever was going on in the outside world.

The kids were outgunned. Medaling in last month’s tournament graduated them to playing in the same league as these monster linebackers, or so they appeared. But it was how the other team played that frustrated me. They almost fouled on every possession, but not quite. It seemed they had mastered the art of crossing the line, without getting caught. Much like the mainstream media’s treatment of Democrat scandals, the refs seemed to not care, until, in the case of my son, they couldn’t ignore it.

I looked at the score: 8-7, them. Somehow, we were still in this game.

The phone continued to emit its coded buzzes, signaling calls, texts, and notifications, likely from Twitter and news services. My fingers were itching. I should look, just in case my younger son, who was home at a basketball game, made some shots.

Swiping at my phone caused my heart to stop. It wasn’t quite a September 11 moment, but it really, really hurt. First the texts came through from my some of my oldest friends; one in particular from high school and college, simply said:

“Scalia. I’m shaking.”

I immediately opened Twitter, my go-to news source, and was floored. All the journalists I follow reported the same thing. As I scrolled further I realized that because of my tardiness, the trolls had already taken over the asylum. The lowest form of humanity were dancing on the warm body of the greatest conservative judge of our time, if not ever.

The whistle blew, recapturing my attention back to the reason I had driven hours to eat powdered eggs each morning. Players swam back to the center of the pool, with my son moving forward to the penalty line, facing the goal with two defenders on his wings, about to take his free shot.

Awaiting the whistle, he held the ball up above water, careful not to pump forward first, which would disqualify the shot.

The whistle blew, hard shot to the hole on the left hitting the back of the net. Score! I almost dropped my phone. Coach then changed the line and had him come out to tend to his soon-to-be swollen schnoz. Tied game!

The elation lasted but a mere few seconds. I was still shell-shocked. The ramifications of this, during an election year, with more than enough time for Obama to nominate his replacement, would change everything.

Would the Republicans … could the Republicans stop what will be undoubtedly the most significant shift in SCOTUS in generations? The media, or in my current mindset, “the biased refs” who make calls that sway opinion, would undoubtedly favor the Democrats foisting another Kagan or Sotomayor on America for another 30 years.

The left would demand Obama appoint a third judge. The media would question anyone who suggested otherwise. SCOTUS was about to become the most pivotal issue of election 2016, in a year the Democrats should lose.

Back to my phone, I opened the interwebs and went straight here, to Ricochet. EJ had already posted the awful news. The only thing I could add at the time was how I still feel now. “This changes everything.”

Up until this point, the left had doubled down on extreme leftist ideals. Great for the youth and gray-haired hippies, but not for a general election. The country was courting a socialist, and his opponent was navigating a potential indictment. Although one could never discount the ability of the left to sway an election, I was happy they were making a stand with the hammer-and-sickle crowd. My biggest concern is/was the right. Would we have a candidate with a realistic chance of winning the general, or would anger and ignorance nominate a ticking time bomb?

But now, the left has a reason to regain the center mojo they need to win. It’s gonna all be about SCOTUS. In short, the social issues the left loves to campaign on are going to once again be used to scare women and minorities to the voting booths.

The media will carry their water and every interview and debate with whoever the nominees are will focus primarily on issues where the right always play defense, and usually not very well.

We ended up losing the game. The other team managed to slap, elbow, and bruise their way to a win. Parents on our side spent more time complaining about the refs not making calls, than cheering on our team. There was a lot of anger.

On the way home I asked my melancholy son how he was doing. He peered out the window and simply said: “We played their game … not ours. And that’s why we lost.”

There are 18 comments.

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  1. Beatrice Campbell Inactive
    Beatrice Campbell
    @BeatriceCampbell

    I feel your pain after years of attending niece and nephew hockey and swim meets.

    My sister-in-law was on the 1980 U.S. Olympics swim team and was adamant that all her kids needed to play a sport. She raised my niece to be a California state water polo champion who was so good she received a free ride as an out of state student at Michigan.

    She won Big Ten tournaments with her Wolverine teammates who were all from SoCal (quelle surprise!) but chose a career in Asian studies, speaks Japanese and Mandarin fluently, interviewed at the State Dept, but chose a job at the infamous Chiat Day!

    We’re all ridiculously proud of her but I admire my sister-in-law’s insistence that she learn how to play a team sport, particularly after reading VC’s interesting post on why women can’t seem to “bond” in the professional world.

    Perhaps men learn how to work as a team more often and at an earlier age than women.

    • #1
  2. David Sussman Contributor
    David Sussman
    @DaveSussman

    Beatrice Campbell:I feel your pain after years of attending niece and nephew hockey and swim meets.

    My sister-in-law was on the 1980 U.S. Olympics swim team and was adamant that all her kids needed to play a sport. She raised my niece to be a California state water polo champion who was so good she received a free ride as an out of state student at Michigan.

    She won Big Ten tournaments with her Wolverine teammates who were all from SoCal (quelle surprise!) but chose a career in Asian studies, speaks Japanese and Mandarin fluently, interviewed at the State Dept, but chose a job at the infamous Chiat Day!

    We’re all ridiculously proud of her but I admire my sister-in-law’s insistence that she learn how to play a team sport, particularly after reading VC’s interesting post on why women can’t seem to “bond” in the professional world.

    Perhaps men learn how to work as a team more often and at an earlier age than women.

    Congrats to your niece! Impressive. Yes the team building is critical for development. I read somewhere that those who participate in team sports excell in life further than those who don’t. Im proud of my son, he has swimming, water polo, school and volunteers. Hope colleges see that as a reason for a scholarship too!

    • #2
  3. PHCheese Inactive
    PHCheese
    @PHCheese

    Beatrice, was your sister in law American? We boycotted the 1980 Olympics.

    • #3
  4. Beatrice Campbell Inactive
    Beatrice Campbell
    @BeatriceCampbell

    Well, Jesse Owens did not in 1936, so why should she?

    • #4
  5. Liz Member
    Liz
    @Liz

    Beatrice Campbell:Well, Jesse Owens did not in 1936, so why should she?

    The U.S. did send a team (not just Owens) to the Berlin Olympics. Louis Zamperini competed in the 5000 m and met Hitler. There was no boycott.

    • #5
  6. Beatrice Campbell Inactive
    Beatrice Campbell
    @BeatriceCampbell

    16 U.S. teams participated sans flag in 1980.

    • #6
  7. PHCheese Inactive
    PHCheese
    @PHCheese

    My niece was on that swim team and did not participate. She went to the Goodwill games and won two golds and ask bronze there. I was not aware that the US sent people without the flag.

    • #7
  8. MJBubba Inactive
    MJBubba
    @MJBubba

    I am impressed about water polo.   You could get drowned playing water polo.   I nearly did a couple of times.   I ended up washing out.   But, it was great fun.   Good for them.

    • #8
  9. MJBubba Inactive
    MJBubba
    @MJBubba

    David Sussman:

    The media will carry their water and every interview and debate with whoever the nominees are will focus primarily on issues where the right always play defense, and usually not very well.

    The GOP has to learn how to fight a two-front war.  Instead of thinking of ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, PBS as potential partners because they provide exposure, they have to learn to see them as the enemy.

    Boycott, blame, accuse, attack.  They are more of an enemy than the Socialists.  They hide behind their fig leaf of “balance.”

    The American Model of Journalism was a model in which the journalists put aside their own opinions and gave the people the facts.  That no longer exists except in small town papers.

    What we have now is the European Model of Journalism, in which each news agency is a partisan.  The GOP will be playing defense forever unless they recognize the media facts of life in the 21st Century.

    • #9
  10. Liz Member
    Liz
    @Liz

    Beatrice Campbell:16 U.S. teams participated sans flag in 1980.

    It is my understanding* that though there were several athletes who wished to compete without the flag, they were told that they would be stripped of their passports if they did. When the athletes then sued the U.S. government, they lost the case.

    *The key info is toward the bottom of the linked page.

    ETA: Sorry for the thread-jacking, David. I hope your son gets a better ref next game.

    • #10
  11. David Sussman Contributor
    David Sussman
    @DaveSussman

    MJBubba:David Sussman:

    The media will carry their water and every interview and debate with whoever the nominees are will focus primarily on issues where the right always play defense, and usually not very well.

    The GOP has to learn how to fight a two-front war. Instead of thinking of ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, PBS as potential partners because they provide exposure, they have to learn to see them as the enemy.

    Boycott, blame, accuse, attack. They are more of an enemy than the Socialists. They hide behind their fig leaf of “balance.”

    The American Model of Journalism was a model in which the journalists put aside their own opinions and gave the people the facts. That no longer exists except in small town papers.

    What we have now is the European Model of Journalism, in which each news agency is a partisan. The GOP will be playing defense forever unless they recognize the media facts of life in the 21st Century.

    That’s why what my son said on the way home was so poignant.

    • #11
  12. BrentB67 Inactive
    BrentB67
    @BrentB67

    How is your son’s nose?

    • #12
  13. David Sussman Contributor
    David Sussman
    @DaveSussman

    Great. Thanks Brent.

    • #13
  14. Matty Van Inactive
    Matty Van
    @MattyVan

    “But it was how the other team played that frustrated me. They almost fouled on every possession, but not quite. It seemed they had mastered the art of crossing the line, without getting caught.”

    My swim coach way way way back was Ervin Zador. At the ’56 olympics, he was on the Hungarian water polo team that was playing the Russians in the midst of the Hungarian Revolution. None of them went home when the Olympics were over.

    Water polo was just getting started in the US in those days, so our swim team members became water poloers. I loved it, but there were no prescription goggles in those days, and playing blind didn’t work so well.But I played. Ervin would sometimes join us in the pool. Having him guard you was a lesson in how the big boys play the “underwater game.” Suffice to say, it was way beyond what any rules allowed, but out of sight of the refs. The key is to keep your hands visible and a poker face while drowning your opponent with your legs.

    Google Ervin Zador. He’s the one with blood pouring out of his eye. One of the all time iconic Olympic photos, considering the circumstances.

    Btw, my favorite high school teacher (or any school teacher) was also a Hungarian who, in his early teens, woke up one morning in Budapest to the sound of gunfire. Russian tanks were pouring into the city, and Hungarians were responding any way they could, including with small arms. He and his brother took advantage to walk to Austria. Great teacher, but absolutely riveting stories that certainly played an important part in awakening me to the reality of communism.

    EDIT: Sorry David, to take your fine thread off track! But you awoke some old memories I couldn’t help writing about.

    • #14
  15. dittoheadadt Inactive
    dittoheadadt
    @dittoheadadt

    “On the way home I asked my melancholy son how he was doing. He peered out the window and simply said: ‘We played their game … not ours. And that’s why we lost.’”

    Please introduce Mitch McConnell to your son.  Then tell him to listen. Mitch, that is.

    • #15
  16. David Sussman Contributor
    David Sussman
    @DaveSussman

    Matty Van: The key is to keep your hands visible and a poker face while drowning your opponent with your legs.

    And THAT is the key to success. Thanks for the story!

    • #16
  17. David Sussman Contributor
    David Sussman
    @DaveSussman

    dittoheadadt:“On the way home I asked my melancholy son how he was doing. He peered out the window and simply said: ‘We played their game … not ours. And that’s why we lost.’”

    Please introduce Mitch McConnell to your son. Then tell him to listen. Mitch, that is.

    Exactly.

    • #17
  18. David Sussman Contributor
    David Sussman
    @DaveSussman

    Liz:

    Beatrice Campbell:16 U.S. teams participated sans flag in 1980.

    It is my understanding* that though there were several athletes who wished to compete without the flag, they were told that they would be stripped of their passports if they did. When the athletes then sued the U.S. government, they lost the case.

    *The key info is toward the bottom of the linked page.

    ETA: Sorry for the thread-jacking, David. I hope your son gets a better ref next game.

    Not a jack! Sports has always had a link with politics. Thus the purpose of my post. Thanks.

    • #18

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