Not a Richard Off the Field

by | May 10, 2013, 5:00am 0

It’s Callahan voting season and so the apologists are going to be out in force. And you agree with them; you’ve hung out with this so-and-so at a tourney party before, or under shade with a good view of some games, so they’re right when they say,” he’s not a Richard off the field.”

Where you and the apologists differ is the way they bandy the sentence around like it’s an absolution of what happens on the field. Where, from your own experience, you’ve seen so-and-so act exactly like a Richard. At times a huge Richard, and no boat race skills or duder party personality makes how big a Richard he’s being acceptable.

A classic Richard trait is the inability to step outside one’s argument to view it from another’s perspective. Everything that happened to them is a foul and nothing they did is. I know there’s a quantum alternate universe where these Richards have to guard clones of themselves. Time grinds to a halt as every movement is split into a foul and contest, where not even immediate referrals are fast enough to cut the infinite loop of contested calls. And back here on our own, much more forgiving, universe, personal indignation closely trails their every call. It is us who are left to suffer time through it.

On-field Richards also love to treat their scores as if they’ve just won a duel to the death in a blood feud between them and their defender. Spiking the disc toward the defender, wagging it, berating an opponent when they’re on the ground, all are straight from the pages of the How to be a Richard manual.

Or perhaps you know a Richard from their mind-blowing, wormhole-opening understanding of space and time. The way they’re able to explain how they are never farther than ten feet from their cutter and no defender ever within ten feet of them. How ten seconds compress down to six when Richards mark you and, they insist, expand into fourteen when they have the disc.

And yes, so-and-so’s a blast at the Daq Deck, you were there, and they help out at some high school clinics, which is awesome, but that only makes you wonder why they’re not the ones out on the field. Why instead of the solid person that teaches high schoolers about sportsmanship and competition, you’ve got a huge Richard acting about as Richardish as you can. And the saddest part is the on-field Richard is also teaching high schoolers about sportsmanship and competition, in a more deeply impacting, and telling, way. And these so-and-sos are too busy being Richards to realize it.

Voting for Callahan recipients has never been a choice between athleticism or sportsmanship; our college divisions are full of players with a surfeit of both. Henry Callahan also had both in spades, and we honor the legacy when we choose recipients that stand out in both, and who don’t check their sportsmanship on the sidelines for a Richard name tag.

We can kick it with so-and-sos, be their friend, and it’s all good. They’re good people, and great players. But if you act like a Richard on the field, then the Callahan award is not for you. It’s for those who act like Henry out there.

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