Service of Carrying Things Too Far

December 27th, 2011

Categories: Accommodation, Attitude, Blame


I thought that the cupcakes confiscated by the Transportation Security Administration officer at the Las Vegas airport over the weekend a bit much. He considered that the frosting fell into the forbidden gel catetory.

In the world of sports, Blue Hills Regional Technical “was leading, 16-14, when Cathedral’s quarterback, Matt Owens, slipped through an opening and dashed for a 56-yard touchdown,” Rea Cassidy Reported in the Boston Globe in “Call in Blue Hills-Cathedral game needs to be called back.”

“Here’s where the rules came into play,” continued Cassidy. “While running toward the end zone, Owens raised his hand, for about three seconds, in celebration. Apparently, Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association rules forbid a player to celebrate before entering the end zone. So, the touchdown was called back, and Blue Hills went on to win.”

shhhhhhhhContinued Cassidy: “We are a society that has so many rules it’s a wonder anyone is allowed to say or do anything anymore.” {The bold emphasis is mine.}

“In the case of this game, the rule was created to prevent taunting and poor sportsmanship. Fine. No one wants to promote or witness poor sportsmanship. So create concise rules that penalize players for malicious or deliberate taunting, rather than for jubilation during the biggest moments of their lives. I don’t want to go to games and watch kids celebrate like timed robots. They are not robots; they’re people,” Cassidy wrote.

president-obamaIn unrelated instances, a few weeks before, there was a spate of school suspensions of small children. One boy was punished for being a racist when he told a friend that a guest speaker reminded him of President Obama; another for sexual harassment because he said to a pal that he thought one of his teachers was cute.

Meanwhile, there are newbie congressmen and women who sit like sticks in Washington, refusing to budge from a strict doctrine when their inaction will hurt the economy, many of their constituents and might even affect the outcome of the Presidential election in a way that isn’t in their best interest. Their closed minds and smug intransigence blind them to the advice of their political leader and many of their party colleagues who are willing to bend for the greater good. Thank goodness someone drilled sense into some of them in the short term but their attitude has infected Washington and the quick fix political antibiotic that just happened won’t cure the patient.

Can you think of other instances of people carrying things too far or am I being too harsh in my examples?


9 Responses to “Service of Carrying Things Too Far”

  1. ASK Said:

    Too much political correctness…too many lawyers…too little common sense.

    Happy New Year!

  2. Jeanne Byington Said:



    Happy New Year to you!

  3. Deirdre Said:

    Jeanne, you are so on the mark. I would add the total body searches of the elderly Jet Blue passengers to your list. I think most rules exist because someone did something stupid, so people said, let’s make a rule so that doesn’t happen again. But then someone doesn’t use common sense in applying the rule (see: your cupcake example), so they’ll make another rule to account for the lack of common sense, and someone will misapply that rule, which will spawn another rule….

    I think along with getting driver’s license, a rite of passage into adulthood should be taking a common sense test. If you don’t pass, you aren’t allowed in a decision-making position.

  4. jeanne byington Said:


    A test I might ace–common sense! I like that idea!

    Wonder what the fail rate would be!

  5. Nancy Farrell Said:

    Last summer I read that starting in the fall, students in a NJ school district were going to be able to text, call, or go to a website to anonomously report bullying to a Crimestoppers website–the idea being that some students might be too afraid to be seen in the school office. Why students can’t text, call, or go to the district website and are expected to go directly to law enforcement was not explained in the article. Don’t get me wrong, I am all for crimes being report to the appropriate authorities but appropriate is the operative word.

  6. Peter di Paulo Said:

    In the main, I whole heartedly agree with the thrust of your post. However, I do take issue with you on the subject of the punishment meted to the football player who taunted his opponents while running down the field to score a touchdown.

    Deeply enshrined in the history and traditions of football, as played in America, is the concept of good sportsmanship, itself derived from, or at least greatly influenced by, the ideals of the Enlightenment, as was the very concept of our government and its laws as cobbled together by the founding fathers.

    The trouble is that the Enlightenment was strictly a Western European idea having little to do with other parts of the globe.

    Likewise, one of the problems that nobody talks about, but everybody is sensitive to, is that football itself – and the values of good sportsmanship embedded in it – evolved from a Western European, namely English sport, Rugby. In the beginning, it was played almost exclusively by white, not black or brown, kids.

    As demographics and attitudes changed in the country so did the colors of the players. At first, Blacks played mostly in positions that demanded speed and strength, but over the years, as white prejudice diminished that too changed. Now, approximately four out of every five players in the National Football League is black.

    However, there remains a combination of an undercurrent of legitimate resentment for past discriminatory practices and the desire to express the creative exuberance present in Black culture. This has lead over the past several decades to Black players (Although some white players now mimic them, just as they mimic Black music) dreaming up increasingly imaginative ways to taunt their opponents when they make a great play. These celebrations, while entertaining in themselves at least to some, are in direct conflict with the traditional Enlightenment born concepts of fair play. The NFL, sensitive to TV ratings and the tastes of its mostly white audience, put new rules in place to diminish, if not eliminate, taunting, as obviously also did schools and colleges. Now a player who taunts, is penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct.

    Perhaps we should have two footballs, one for those who find it entertaining to watch opponents creatively bate each other, and one for those who prefer the traditional sport. Perhaps unfortunately, at the moment that doesn’t seem to be an economically viable solution. However, until it is possible, I, for one, am for banning taunting and believe that the punishment you described was proper and not excessive.

  7. Jeanne Byington Said:


    I agree with you that taunting is inappropriate behavior in sports or anywhere.

    We disagree about what the football player did when he raised his hand in celebration on his way to the goal line. He wasn’t taunting anyone, or indicating anything to his opponents. He was using body language to say “Hooray!”

    I am not a football or sports buff, so my timing might be off as to who did what first. I remember when people who played tennis kept their cool, didn’t grunt, didn’t throw tantrums and act atrocious when they played badly or a judge didn’t give them the call they wanted. The people who started this behavior were Caucasian Americans if I recall.

    I think it’s difficult to decide what is exuberance and celebration and what is taunting but sports people should be able to show some happiness on doing something great. When I do something thrilling for a client I want to let out the biggest WHOOP!

  8. Peter di Paulo Said:

    In football, the raising of one’s arm with the football in it before one crosses the goal line is considered taunting. The correct and sportsmanlike thing to do is carry it under one’s arm untill one has crossed the goal line and then hand it to the referee

  9. Jeanne Byington Said:


    OK–I didn’t realize this nor did the Boston Globe writer.

    The times I’ve seen football players running toward the goal line they have been so busy doing so I don’t think they had time to do much more than get there.

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