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WNIJ Perspectives
Perspectives are commentaries produced by and for WNIJ listeners, from a panel of regular contributors and guests. You're invited to comment on or respond to any Perspective on our Facebook page or through Twitter (@wnijnews), in keeping with our Discussion Policy. If you would like to submit your own Perspective for consideration, send us a script that will run about 90 seconds when read -- that's about 250 words -- and email it to NPR@niu.edu, with "Perspectives" in the subject line.

Perspective: The Parable Of The Basketball Game


The basketball game is set to start. Team B’s coach has his players on the floor, as well as the coach of Team R. The game will be officiated by three veteran, well-qualified and well-respected referees.

The point guard from Team B gets the tip-off and drains a three-pointer to start the game. Team R’s coach begins complaining to the refs, “That basket shouldn’t have counted. The kid was using a girl’s ball that was switched in when I wasn’t looking!” The refs examine the ball, and it proves to be regulation boy’s game ball. Team R’s coach continues to complain, proclaiming the game is rigged against his team despite clear-cut evidence to the contrary.


The games continues this way, with Team R’s coach complaining that the score keeper is secretly awarding baskets for Team B when his back is turned, that the free throw line for Team R is being moved back whenever Team R is shooting free throws. Any call against his team is either a “fake” call or an outright “hoax.”

The game, however, remains close as it is fairly and competently officiated. The final minute of the game starts with the Team B up by point. Team R has the ball but misses a jumper. Team B gets the rebound, drives the floor with its small forward hitting a three pointer at the buzzer.

Final score: 51-47.

Team R’s coach explodes, “This game was stolen from us! It was rigged! The refs are fakes!” The head referee then addresses the coach, “Sir, your team lost.” Team R’s coach responds, “But, I don’t lose. If I lose, the game has to be rigged against me.” The referee says one more time, “Sir, your team lost. It was a fair game and you lost.” Team R’s coach yells, “Hoax, fake refs, rigged game!” as he storms off the court.

I’m Andrew Nelson, and that’s my perspective.  

Andrew Nelson has been involved in public education for nearly 30 years. He spent for 19 years as a high school and community college English teacher before becoming a high school administrator and the principal of Oregon High School. Now he's returning to the classroom as an 8th grade English teacher. Andrew has earned degrees from both the University of Wisconsin at Eau Claire and the University of Wisconsin at Platteville. He lives in Oregon with his wife, Wendy, and their three daughters.

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