Monday, April 19, 2010

Kerrzy's Notebook: The Sportsmanlike Spectrum

Sports is a funny thing – as an athlete you do everything you can to gain an advantage on your opponent, whether it’s physically, mentally or otherwise…

Where’s the line though? Some people play with a “code” in mind, others will do or say literally just about anything to get an opposing player off their game – whether its within the rules or not.

Then there are the solo sports, where there isn’t as much interaction between competitors and an honor system of sorts is an even bigger part of the game. And then there are the fans…

Here’s a story from this weekend that takes sportsmanship to a level you don’t see very often:

This weekend’s stop on the PGA Tour had 35-year-old Brian Davis in a playoff with Jim Furyk for the win at the Verizon Heritage in Hilton Head, South Carolina.

On the first playoff hole, a Davis error went unnoticed – at least by everyone else – and he alerted the tournament director.

What happened is, the Englishman had “ticked a loose reed during his backswing,” which is apparently a two-stroke penalty and upon further review, the two strokes were added to his score, handing Furyk the win and the $1,026,000 in prize money.

Not only did Davis miss out on over $410,000 – it would have been his first PGA Tour victory.

What would you do in that case? I have a sneaking suspicion that not everyone would be as honest as Brian Davis.

We go now from golf to (college) football, where unsportsmanlike behavior won’t just cost your team yardage anymore.

It used to be that if a ref decided a player was “taunting” the other team as he ran in a touchdown or (God forbid) celebrated afterwards, a 15-yard penalty would be tagged onto the extra point attempt or the ensuing kickoff…but that’s about to change.

According to Yahoo! Sports, if a player gets goofy as he runs towards the end zone, the flags will fly, the whistle will blow and the penalty will be assessed from the spot of the “foul” – canceling the touchdown.

So no more high-stepping or any similar stunts when players do their job and score points. What kind of world are we living in?

There will also be no more of that black face paint with symbols (team logos etc.) or messages (scripture and whatnot) allowed. Not sure why, but that’s the new rule.

I’ve always wondered how they get the team logos and stuff in there. Are they little stickers?

Moving on – we’ve tackled the on-field stuff, but here’s a story I found that you’ll probably find rather disturbing (and pretty funny, in a crude way).

During last Wednesday’s game between the MLB’s Philadelphia Phillies and the Washington Nationals, a 21-year-old guy from New Jersey made a couple of bad decisions.

I’m not sure what led him down this path, but the guy wound up throwing up (intentionally) on an off-duty police captain and his 11-year-old daughter and punching the officer in the face.

The reports say Matthew Clemmens shoved two fingers down his throat and let fly on Michael Vangelo and his daughter, and punched him as he tried to get his kids in behind him.

First of all, it’s a Wednesday night – take it easy kid. Secondly, who intentionally throws up on someone, never mind a child? Finally – bad choice of people to punch man.

The oddest part is, apparently it was in protest of his buddy being kicked out for, guess what – unruly behavior.

For that, Clemmens now faces charges of assault, reckless endangerment, disorderly conduct and “related offences” (I think there’s at least one party foul in there).

Can you top that story?

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