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Positivity Over Negativity. (Plus Barney Fife!)

In the world of strange facts, dolphins sleep with one eye open. That doesn’t seem like good rest! Maybe there are just some things that are not meant to be seen!

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This is really a blog about negativity… and then positivity.

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I read over the weekend that Lindsay Vonn had announced that she would not be attending the White House as a winning Olympic athlete. Then, in her first event, she failed to medal in the downhill Super G and dropped to sixth in the standings. (ESPN)  That’s when an avalanche of negativity hit her online.

Because of her previous political statement, she received tons of hate tweets. (USA Today) Such tweets as “You got what you deserved”, and “One loss down and only two more to go”. 

One USA teammate was sickened by the negativity directed at Vonn. She tweeted,  “It’s gross. I have been mistakenly getting her hate mail for weeks!”

A lot of times when I read a news article online, I find myself scrolling to the bottom of the article to read the comments. Even on tragic stories, you can find some of the meanest comments attached to the article. Sometimes it involves an attempt at bad humor, and other times just a remark about how the person deserved it.

Several years ago, one of my friends lost his mother in a car accident. There was a news article in the local paper that even included a picture of the her car that was in the crash. The story reported how she had been killed on impact. I was so saddened by the story and my friend’s loss. But sure enough, at the bottom of the article there were negative comments that included one that basically said, “She got what she deserved. Old people shouldn’t be driving anyway“.

The Vonn story is a reminder that there are people who think that their disagreement means that there is license to be mean. You can’t change the anger in society. You can only control your own thinking and how you treat others. Just typing that makes me feel like I need to post something right now, just to make me smile.

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I read that Vonn story while drinking coffee on Sunday morning. Then, during the Sunday morning church service, the minister included Psalms 103 in his message, and remarked that he thought that it was the most positive passage in the Bible. (Here)

 

The Psalm includes such verses as  “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits” and “Bless the Lord, all his works in all places of his dominion: bless the Lord, O my soul“.  Reading it made me feel positive. Being grounded in what is important and not to be influenced by the negativity of others. And then… I felt so positive!

Sure, some days it can feel like this… Right?

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But other days it’s really the positive!

 

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An Olympic Badminton Punishment

 

I fall in the category of the uneducated, when it comes to badminton. You might as well be talking lawn darts to me. Well, I don’t know much about that either. But, we have learned that you can’t lose to win at the Olympics.

In this photo, referee Torsten Berg is talking to the Korean coach, as he issues a black card to the players during a doubles match between Korea and Indonesia.

ESPN reported  that eight female badminton players were disqualified from the London Olympics. The Badminton World Federation had investigated South Korea, China and Indonesia and determined that they should be punished for “not using one’s best efforts to win a match”. The statement went on to say that the eight players were punished for “conducting oneself in a manner that is clearly abusive or detrimental to the sport”.

Olympic Badminton competition is based on a round-robin system instead of a straight elimination. So, by deliberately losing a game; that can lead to a matchup with a lesser team in the next round, without penalty for the prior loss.

It came down to a question of measuring the intent of the Olympic spirit versus the right to compete in a manner that a team believes would give it the best chance to win a medal.

According to some of the spectators of those matches, the players were dumping serves into the net and making simple errors like hitting the shuttlecock far wide of the court. (I bet it will be a long time before I get to blog about a shuttlecock again) Beijing badminton silver medalist, Gail Emms, said that the matches were embarrassing to watch.  She described that “It was absolutely shocking. The crowds were booing and chanting “Off, off, off.'”

I have surprised myself with my Olympic viewing. But, I have to admit that it hasn’t included Badminton. Still, I have included this in a legal blog because these athletes have not violated the rules. They have played specifically within the rules. Instead, they are being punished because authority says that this competition is more than rules. I think that it is easy to argue both sides.

In the NFL, at the end of the year it is not unusual for teams to rest their starters to get ready for the playoffs. It’s best for the team for future wins. No one says that the “spirit of the competition” includes competing, at the expense of injury that may effect winning in the future. In fact, many times it results in just letting the opposing team win at the end of a season.

I don’t really know any analogy to law,  unless we went back to the practice of law in the 50’s and 60’s. I’m told that back then, lawyers all knew each other. Everyone worked hard for their client, but not at the expense of offending the other community lawyers. I could be oversimplying a bit. But, it sounds nice to have good law sportmanship in represention. Just doesn’t seem realistic today, and no one expects it.

For pic o’ day, I decided to post two that go along with “letter of the law” or just the wrong use of the letters.

 

 

 

 

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