The Golden Rule: All’s Fair In Love And Football

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Remember the old saying, “I went to a fight, and a hockey game broke out?”  Well, not to be outdone, the NFL, namely the Philadelphia Eagles and the Washington Redskins, put on a mega mêlée of their own late in their game at “The Link” (Lincoln Financial Field) in Philly.  I wasn’t mad until certain Redskins fans defended the cheap shot that lead to the brawl as being a “good hit.”  It’s a good thing I don’t cuss. “He got me pretty good. I did not see him,” Foles said. “I thought the guy was down so that’s why I wasn’t looking for anyone. The next thing I know I’m just obliterated.”

For those that don’t remember or even know what the old saying about a fight at a hockey game means, know this: hockey is a brutal sport.  Back in the ‘70s when I grew up, fights at an NHL game were normal, even expected common occurrences of just about every game.  In fact, the Philadelphia Flyers were so notorious for fighting their nickname was the “Broad Street Bullies,” and for good reason.  While all of Philly loved our beloved Flyers, we all knew when they crossed the line.  Or at least I hope and think that we should’ve known. Right? Anyway . . .

Remember when fights at school were called “fair ones?”  That means that the fight was between me and you and no knives or guns were allowed and no friends or cousins could jump in and make it a lopsided, unfair fight.  Unfortunately, it appears that those days are long gone.

We tend to defend what we think is right instead of what we ultimately and undoubtedly know is right.  Honestly, I watched the hit by Washington nose tackle Chris Baker on Eagle quarterback Nick Foles, and it wasn’t as bad as I had heard it was, but it was still a cheap shot.  And for all you Redskins (players, not necessarily fans) out there, I can’t wait until Kirk Cousins or even RGIII (whenever or if-ever he’s healthy again) gets hit like that.  I’m sure you’ll be crying foul then.

We must remember that fair is fair; but some just don’t know, or don’t want to know, what fair is. You don’t do to others what you don’t want others to do to you.  In fact, the Bible puts it like this: “Do for others what you want them to do for you: this is the meaning of the Law of Moses and of the teachings of the prophets” (Matthew 7:12).  Or more colloquially put, “Do unto others what you want others to do unto you.” We call it The Golden Rule. Anything less is unsportsmanlike conduct, and is the kind of sportsmanship our fathers and coaches taught us not to do.

So if you don’t remember anything else, please remember this:

“The game had 19 penalties, one major brawl, two ejections, at least a couple of hits way after the whistles had blown, all sorts of taunting and a general vibe of meanness and chaos. It was still fun, kind of, but it wasn’t very professional.

After the game, I heard passionate, heartfelt and convincing arguments that Chris Baker deserved to get tossed from the game for plowing into Foles during an interception return that didn’t even exist, since the interception was later reversed on replay. These arguments came mostly from non-Redskins fans. I also heard passionate, heartfelt and convincing arguments that Baker’s ejection and penalty were epic miscarriages of justice, or at least the results of a terrible NFL rule. You could teach an entire graduate seminar on how pre-existing bias influences one’s perception of truth based on that sequence. Or you could just go outside and enjoy the fall weather.”  Dan Steinberg @dcsportsbog.  Amen brother.

I have to remember that I have too many friends that are Redskins fans, and it’s not worth losing them over one game, even if it was a divisional game.  So remember, we have only one fight worth fighting, and that’s the good fight of faith.

Fight the good fight of the faith; take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made the good confession in the presence of many.  1 Timothy 6:12, RSV

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