I love the NBA’s enforcement (some would call it a new rule) of it’s rule about whining. The temper tantrums, arm-swinging, rolled eyes and loud long disputes are quickly dissipating. The league has shown it is serious by consistently enforcing the rule and issuing every caliber of player his due technical foul for showing up the referee.
Admittedly, my team was one of the worst. The Pistons won their championship two years ago while simultaneously demonstrating how not to respond to missed calls and wrong calls. Rasheed Wallace has called this the ‘Sheed Wallace Rule and takes pride in it. “It just means I must be doing something right. Any time they change the rules of the game for one specific player, you must be doing something right,” Wallace says.
On my sick bed on Saturday, I watched most of the Pistons/Celtics game. There was a different feel to the game than in years past. Just a few games into the season, after a good handful of ejections on previous nights, there was an obvious effect on the game because the refs were not being challenged after nearly every call. There was the look of submission. Wally Szczerbiak of the Celtics, who I think has a nice-guy persona in the league, was called for a foul and started to make his strong objection; he quickly realized how he was acting and put his hands up and bowed his head in deference and submission obviously seeking to recant his strong reaction, but it was too late…he had already received the technical.
I think this policy change is important to our culture. Really.
Even in Christian homes (aghast!!) the names of the men in the NBA are commonplace. We can name their teams, their colleges, their spouses, their sponsors, their temperaments, etc. We don’t know these men but we sure can get to know a lot about them.
It’s a fantastic notion that these big, rich, self-sufficient men who are heroes to millions must now show our sons that they too are under authority–that they also have to obey the rules and submit to those in charge. In an age that is becoming increasingly and alarmingly an in-your-face culture with us expecting it our way right away, the fact that the NBA is tightening the expectations should be a welcome sign for us. The NBA is not chock-full of spoiled brat men, but there are enough who are that make us think that it is.
I’m not sure of it, but I hope that this rule enforcement will change the way that the game is played on the playground and in the high school game. I hope that the professional leagues will continue to keep making changes like this. While they were humorous side-shows, it is is good that the NFL has cracked down on excessive celebration and taunting…but perhaps their penalties should be stiffer and personal ($) like they are in the NBA. All the leagues have a long way to go, but this is a great step.
In our homes, we should expect immediate, sweet obedience all the time from our children. It’s good when our culture starts valuing our values.