Wednesday, September 21, 2005

No Legs, No Feet, No Football

Several years ago I ran into a story about a competitive swimmer who had the unfortunate disability of not possessing any hands. Despite what would seem to me to be necessary attributes for a swimmer, the guy somehow managed to actually be quite good. Finally, after a season's worth of practices and swim meets the handless swimmer won his race and was in the process of celebrating with his teammates when the meet officials informed him that he was disqualified, and his win would not count in the standings.

You see, they explained, the rules were quite clear. To win, you must touch the wall with your hands.

Obviously outraged, the team protested the ruling, only to lose their appeal. The swimmer himself was able to find humor in the whole situation which in my view made him a better man than the officials that disqualified him, or the other teams that accepted the award of a victory that they did not earn.

So I read this linked article with a sense of deja vu today. An excerpt:

"He said Bobby couldn't play because he didn't have shoes on," Colonel White assistant Kerry Ivy said. "He told me the rule says a player must wear shoes, thigh pads and knee pads. I told him, 'He needs feet before he can wear shoes. He needs legs before he can wear those other pads. What are you thinking? Then he said Bobby needed a medical waiver. I told him he'd already played three games, but he said those were the rules."

The decision in the game at Mount Healthy left Martin in tears.

"It's the first time in my life I ever felt like that," Martin said Monday as he readied for practice after school. "Everybody was looking at me, talking about what I didn't have. I felt like a clown. I hated it. I just wanted to know why it was different this game than all the rest."

Incredible, don't you think? Here is a guy who somehow has figured out how to play football without the necessary attribute of actually having legs and feet. Were he like the golfer who wanted to be able to ride in a cart when all others had to walk and expected some special consideration due to his disability I'd be the first to object. Instead, Bobby Martin just wanted to play football and his team was happy to accommodate both his disability and his enormous spirit.

What was this ref thinking?

Via: The Iconic Midwest

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