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Last week the Vista Del Lago boys basketball team came to Union Mine to play us. As the time ran out and after the game had ended a UM parent (I’ll call him Mr. T) noticed a Vista parent engaged in yelling disparaging remarks at a particular UM player, calling the UM player out by his jersey number (yes, an adult from an opposing team berating a high school student out on the court).
Mr. T took exception to what was obviously unacceptable and confronted the Vista adult in a calm and logical manner, quieting him and winning over some of the surrounding Vista students and adults by honestly praising their team but criticizing the adult for horrible behavior. Mr. T’s actions and the tact he took were perfect, defusing the situation while illuminating very poor behavior for exactly what it was, inappropriate and something to be avoided.
What really struck me about the whole situation is another UM parent criticized Mr. T to me for not letting it go, dismissing the Vista parent’s behavior as “just part of the game.” Consider the phrase “the game” a metaphor for the many other facets of our society. Far too often what is wrong, unethical, even illegal gets dismissed as “part of the game.” Broken campaign promises on the part of a politician — they’re just “part of the game.” Legal fees charged to a school district (read about Cary & Associates and Twin Rivers Unified School District), warranting an investigation for being fraudulent and exorbitant — those fees are “just part of the game.” People who behave in a manner that could cause confrontation to escalate from verbal to something much worse, in one UM parent’s mind “just part of the game,” and in Mr. T’s mind, it was something to be stopped and corrected immediately.
It’s time we start enforcing the rules of every game played within our society. Maybe we should have Mr. T run for office or at least put on a seminar that shows American society-at-large and the other UM parent, specifically, how to right a wrong.