Wednesday, June 04, 2008

We Teach This To Children, But Hillary Doesn't Get It

It is called good sportsmanship.

We teach it in Little League and on the playground and in Pop Warner. We expect our athletes to exhibit it. We expect it from the losers at the Oscars. We have every right to expect it from a candidate for President.

Hilary doesn't seem to get the concept. She is still trying to be a cheerleader for Team Clinton. Hillary, the Homecoming Game is over. Your team is behind by a touchdown and a field goal and the gun has sounded. All the "go, fight, win" is over. Oh, and Michelle won Homecoming Queen. But you are on the court. Okay?

"No decision will be made here tonight?" Hillary, who decides to lose? Does any competitive person ever decide to lose? It just happens. The game is over. The final buzzer sounded, the bottom of the ninth is finished and we are not tied. You lost.

Now you are supposed to meet the winner at center court and shake hands over the net.

Last year, the football team I dearly love lost the AFC Championship game. This happened largely because of factors beyond their control. Their best player was injured on the second play of the game. Their quarterback was playing on a knee that required surgery immediately after the season. They were playing a team that had cheated and videotaped their defensive signals and received a slap on the wrist for it. The coach, Norv Turner, knew all this. The team played hard but the other team scored more points and won the game. That is the nature of competition. What did Norv do?

Did Norv refuse to shake Bill Belichick's hand because he had been caught cheating? Did he track down the referee and scream about the Chargers being victimized? Did he petition the league to put the points on the scoreboard that LaDainian Tomlinson and Philip Rivers would have scored if they were healthy? No. He went to midfield and shook the other coach's hand. Then he praised the effort and commitment of both teams in his press conference.

Erica Jong came out today and talked about her horrible disappointment in the result of the race. In a piece at The Huffington Post she basically defends Hillary's lack of sportsmanship and says a man would be treated differently. Yeah, a man would be eviscerated this morning instead of being seen as still playing the game. Sorry Erica, it doesn't excuse Ms. Clinton's behavior.

Let's compare that to Barack Obama's words last night about Hillary:
That is particularly true for the candidate who has traveled further on this journey than anyone else. Senator Hillary Clinton has made history in this campaign not just because she’s a woman who has done what no woman has done before, but because she’s a leader who inspires millions of Americans with her strength, her courage, and her commitment to the causes that brought us here tonight.

Who is showing good sportsmanship and admirable behavior between these two?

My son played a little league playoff game last Saturday. They lost, 3-2 in extra innings. My son was very upset. They had only got to extra innings because he had thrown out a guy attempting to steal and then got a base hit with two out, stole second and, on an infield pop fly, ran like hellhounds were on his tail for home plate. The ball dropped, he scored the tying run and he celebrated like a boy does. Pure joy.

In extra innings, his teams pitcher walked the first guy and they moved him from catcher to pitcher. He got a strikeout and then the new catcher let a ball go by and the runner at first went to second. Facing the other team's best player, my son got two strikes on him and tried to finish the job. The kid hit a clean shot to the outfield. Game over.

My son shook the hand of every member of the winning team.

He had every reason to blame others. He didn't. He told me, "Dad, I served it up to him. It was right down the middle." Mind you, in Little League we just want them to throw strikes, not nibble the corners. But my son didn't cry or whine, or say he had decided the game wasn't over. He took responsibility for his own actions, refused to blame others and was gracious in defeat. I was and am incredibly proud of him.

Hillary Clinton, you could learn a lot from my ten year old boy.

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