Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Dwayne Jarrett and Politics

Dwayne Jarrett is a beautiful football player. I was reminded of this yesterday when he caught a couple touchdowns and 200+ yards against the national championship-worthy Michigan Wolverines defense (Ed's note: the OSU/Mich re-match crowd was noticeably silent this morning in the papers and on television). That performance harkened back memories to his one-handed catch against Notre Dame a couple weeks that was the most breath-taking play I saw all season. Really really beautiful.

Yet, all that was tarnished watching him taunt a Michigan defender on two separate occasions - once pointing at him as he was strutting in for a score and then later on stuffing the ball into the lap of a Wolverine defensive back after making a catch. It's one thing to celebrate after a good play, and I can even tolerate telling and showing us how good you are because either

a) you're pumping up the crowd and, as part of the crowd, I like that

b) you're looking ridiculous and I can laugh at you.

But to show up another college student-athlete on national television is unecessary, shameful, and embarrassing, overshadowing great play. Kudos to ABC announcer Brent Musburger for calling him out on it, by the way. A lack of humility really is an ugly thing.

I was also reminded last night why I don't care too much for politics. I found myself entering into a conversation with friends concerning various political issues, and I fled. It's not that I don't care about the issues because I do. And it's not because I have no hope as good things happen all the time. It's because, when politics gets brought up, everyone speaks and acts as if they know what's best, and everyone else is a moron.

I don't believe there is Truth in politics. Many systems and opinions can reach positive consequences which makes the my-way-or-scream tactics of most political talking heads rather frustrating. People become so engrossed in their ideas and the ideologies they represent that they refuse to acknowledge the integrity of other ideas. Listening ceases. Challenges to ideas are thoughtlessly dismissed, not wanting to give the other side a foothold. Heck, we actually create an "other side" when so often we are on the same team, trying to achieve the same goals. Depending on who's talking, everyone is right. Everyone, that is, except for everyone else.

Take, for example, Bush and Iraq. I bet if you were Bush's close friend he would acknowledge to you that mistakes were made. Yet, publicly he won't, and can't, admit this because he would be mauled for the admission by the other side. Because obviously, they've been right all along. This arrogance makes a confession impossible and encourages Bush to counter with arrogance, refusing to admit the mistake. Arrogance reigns victorious. A lack of humility really is an ugly thing.

Humanity's natural bent towards self, your long-lost and rusty blogger included, really is frustrating, stifling, and downright ugly which makes the humility that Christ possessed while on earth all the more beautiful - even in the ugliest of situations.

I was reminded last night of the foot of the cross, the launchpad for the spectators who fired verbal surface-to-air mockery at Jesus, saying, "If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross." For my money, this was the greatest act of humility and self-control the world has ever seen. Though he was the Son of God, though He had created everything including His mockers and murderers, though He was dying for people who hated Him, though he was killing death, though He hurt, He did not come down from the cross. He did not jam the football in a beaten opponent's lap. He did not haughtily show the other side that he was right and they were oh so wrong. Instead, he placed his pride aside and endured the ugly scene of the cross for the sake of others. For the sake of me.

Humility really is a beautiful thing.


Jenn Pappa said...

yay ben! I've missed you or well, your thoughts at least :)

Jeff said...

-ahhh...the joys of limited perspective. The television viewing audience only sees the alleged "ugliness" of the extremely talented Mr. Jarrett, but we do not hear the conversation between the player and the corner. We do not know what goes on behind the scenes. We only see Mr. Jarrett, the athlete, acting in competitive spirit in a competitive and violent game. I thought Brent Musburger sounded like an old fuddy duddy when he was bemoaning Mr. Jarrett's actions. Whatever happened to laughing at the competition instead of belitting a guy for getting caught up in the heat of the game and playfully teasing a competitor. I personally saw nothing wrong with it, and the corner should have made an effort to not continuing to let Jarrett dominate him.
I think the tragedy of our current state of affairs is that everyone is offended by everything. Teams complain about lack of respect. Politicians complain that their ideas are not listened to by the other side. Everyone complains that they're not getting theirs. But they're missing the point...
We have no rights.
We have no right to respect, we have no right to being listened to. We have no right on our own lives. Jesus' humility was simply a knowledge of who he was and who God was. Even in the garden of gethsemane, he pleaded with God to go a different direction with the crucifixion, but understood (and i get this from his words) that the cross was the Father's will. So, he went. Because He realized it wasn't his choice to make.
To have the humility that you speak of, we must understand the nature of our lives.
Mr. Musburger should step down from his judgment seat. He is a man, being paid a fortune to watch KIDS play a game (for free). Who is he to speak about Mr. Jarrett with such judgment?
Mr. Bush should admit he's wrong if he thinks that's the case. We cannot judge our own actions based on the reactions of others. Humility is understanding that truth is truth, and doing the right thing.
And we should all try to walk in step with where God is leading us, trusting that He's God and we're not. That's where we'll find humility.

Chris Pappa said...


Gotta come to the aid of Ben, here.

Though I agree that true humility comes through our own understanding of self in relation to God, I see no reason why this humiliy would tacitly allow others to behave poorly. Jarrett acted like a showboat, an action that Musburger apparently felt was inappropriate. Whether or not Jarrett's specific action was justified, Musburger is certainly allowed to express his disapproval. After all, you were allowed to express your extreme distaste with Musburger, and with less reasoning.

Athletes, politicians, people in general complain too much. Most folks feel like they deserve better than what they have. It's true--and it's pathetic. But Jarrett's actions have nothing to do with rights. Musburger's sentiment reflects the growing frustration that sports-fans have with professional and collegiate athletics: integrity is on the decline, sportsmanship is nearly dead, and "team" is an outdated ideal that is quickly being replaced with "franchise" (read 'me'). Like it or not, these players and coaches are role models for much of the country, and their example is oftentimes pitiful.

We, as sports fans, DO have a right to be upset with ugly athletes (and I don't mean Koy Detmer). Certainly we've got our own sins to consider, and we ought to be more gracious to athletes who admittedly make mistakes. However, an athlete who points at himself--saying "I AM"--and disses his opponents--saying "You never should have been"--is a problem of pride, and ought not to be called anything else.

Jeff said...

Why have you gotta call out Koy Detmer? He is hardly the ugliest athlete around. I think that honor belongs to a former Duke player who shall remain nameless.

I think you sorely missed my point with relation to the football comments, and I apologize if it was because of lack of clarity on my part.

IT'S JUST A GAME! He's a 21 year old kid! He's HAVING FUN! I lambasted Mr. Musburger because I felt that he failed to recognize these simple truths, and rather sounded like an old man yelling at his child to "turn that noise down".

I think you are naive to think that sports are so "different now", and that integrity and sportsmanship "are on the decline". That's just not true.

Give me a break. If you can't enjoy some friendly competition, don't watch the game.

tim jenkins said...

i'm gonna say this

michigan and their fans walked around the last 4 weeks acting like they were too good for USC and the Rose Bowl

every pundit and talking head was pumping them up to think that they WUZ ROBBED of a rematch with ohio state

so if i was a top-level USC athlete, and i'd been seeing this bulleting board material for weeks

don't you doubt for a minute i wouldn't rub it in the face of this "AMAZING DEFENSE" that is humbling itself by playing in the grandaddy of bowl games and taking on probably the consistently best team of the decade

i'd probably have put a finger in his face too

it would have been a different finger though


for full disclosure: i hate USC and have never cheered for them until that game
also, i did not watch the game, only listened to it on the radio

i'd suggest if you don't want to see "unsportsmanship" or whatever, just listen to the games

taunting is a part of sports

Ben said...

For those who don't know, this is Koy Detmer:


One of the greatest neck beards of all-time. Whether that is a good or bad thing is your call.

Also, taunting has never been part of sports for folks like Marvin Harrison, Mike Kryzyzewski, and others. Again, whether this is a good or bad thing is your call. But to say taunting is simply part of the game is untrue, as many of the greats have certainly excelled without that part.

tim jenkins said...

I'm sorry, I'm sorry

did you just say Coach K is any kind of "good sport"

if i gave your opinion any credibility before, you've lost any hope of ever convincing me now

you don't think slapping the floorboards on your home court when backing up on defense after scoring, a duke tradition, isn't taunting?

you don't think the antics pulled off each game by the cameron crazies, a key part of the duke mystique and fully supported by coach k, isn't taunting?

seriously, you pull coach k out in this debate?

once again, if anyone in the mich/usc game were poor sports, it was the entire mich organization

if you want to point a finger at a complete lack of humility or whatever your point is, look at ann arbor from dec. 1-jan. 1

and from little leagues to the big leagues, taunting is part of the game