If it looks like an apple...
Sunday evening in Indianapolis, the refs blew a pass interference call. Had they called it correctly - instead of deciding that the pass was uncatchable so there could be no interference, no flag, thus no challenge - the game might have gone the other way. Our way.
Earlier, they called a Patriot for striking the Colts quarterback's helmet. Just a tap, nothing more. But, it was a big penalty. Shouldn't have been called. The defender actually caressed the side of Manning's helmet, and he only did it by accident as he tried to pull up before flattening the passer after the ball was in the air. Definitely a bogus call.
Ah, well. What's done is done, and maybe I wasn't a dispassionate observer, the way the refs are supposed to be. The linebackers and the DBs, the wide receivers and the QBs, and the fans, they're supposed to be passionate. The refs, no.
Passion is one of those stimulants, like lust, or greed, or, well, choose your weakness, that lead you to lose your head and make bad decisions. They need strict management. And that goes for passionately held political views. A good example of bad passion management has tripped up local media darling Marshall Segall of West Tisbury, elected in November to a seat on the Up-Island Regional School District committee. Mr. Segall made news on Jan. 8, at an impromptu meeting of the committee to consider granting leave to the West Tisbury School principal Michael Halt, a Marine reservist called to duty in Iraq. The question was, should the committee grant the leave or not. Mr. Segall thought the question was what were his views on the Iraq war and would granting the leave make him an unindicted co-conspirator with President Bush and Mr. Halt (a volunteer who, in Mr. Segall's view, must make a choice about which side he's on) in the mugging of Iraq.
When the committee considered a request by school superintendent James Weiss to grant military leave to Mr. Halt, and after committee member Susan Parker had proposed a motion to implement Mr. Weiss's request, adding "with our blessing", Mr. Segall balked, astonishing onlookers.
As Janet Hefler reported in The Times of Jan. 11, "Challenging Weiss's request to the Up-Island school committee to approve Mr. Halt's military leave, Mr. Segall questioned whether the school committee was required to take action or if it was a foregone conclusion it would be granted. 'I would prefer it if I didn't have to vote,' he said. 'I see my voting to send Michael to Iraq as an act of conscience. I cannot do it.'"
Mr. Segall, having thrown dispassion to the winds and misunderstood what the question really was, amplified his position: "It goes without saying," he said, "that Michael has my best wishes and everybody's. It doesn't go without saying that I have great personal angst over the situation we are in. We are in effect participating in a decision that has to do as much with the state of our nation as it does our local community and school." Mr. Segall said, according to Ms. Hefler, "because there is no draft and Mr. Halt serves as an officer in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, he views him as '...a volunteer in a foreign policy decision I don't believe in,' and that Mr. Halt's choice to remain a military reservist indicated his support of that policy.... 'Does it put the onus on any of us to support, bless or validate the situation?'"
Of course, Mr. Segall's several harsh critics who've written letters to the editor of The Times have similarly failed to manage their own passions, which appear to be decidedly pro-Iraq war, pro-President Bush, pro-soldiers, or maybe just inflamed with anti-Segallism. Whatever their poisonous intemperance, they haven't helped to clarify the real issue. The real issue, after all, was a kind of an apples and oranges one. The question before the school committee was a functional, human resource management apple. Mr. Segall, blind as an exasperated Patriots fan leaping out of the Barco-lounge to excoriate the refs in the AFC Championship Game, thought it was an orange.