Zebras stick to their own kind

I mentioned last week that I work as an offical at football games. The pre-season is almost here, so it's time for the annual training clinic, about which I received a mass e-mail reminder from the commissioner last week.

(The hateful part is about halfway down.)

The clinic [...] will be held in the Multi-Purpose Room [...] and NOT in the auditorium. The dress for the day is casual and you may want to bring a pen for writing and some paper to write on in case you want to take notes. There will be no food served so please eat a hearty breakfeast and make arrangements for a late lunch. If you bring a drink with you please make sure it has a re-sealable top to prevent spills. If you bring any kind of snack, please be sure to clean up your debris. The format for the meeting is as follows:

8:00 AM Clinic Registration and Sign In - We want to make sure everyone who attends gets credit; however it is EACH INDIVDUAL MEMBERS RESPONSIBILITY TO SIGN IN, so please remember if YOU do not sign in and/or out, you WILL NOT receive credit for attending. There will be no sign ins after 8:30 as the rules clinic will be in session.

8:30 AM Rules Clinic - coaches will be in attendance as the usual format must be maintained by the VHSL. Each member will sign an attendance card at the end of this session to receive state credit.

Approx. 10:00 AM - Panel/Group Discussion - The Pregame

Approx. 10:45 AM - Position breakdown session - Topics to be chosen. If you have special requests for discussion please contact the commissioner to have them taken under advisement.

Approx. 11:30 AM BREAK - Snack if you brought one- If you are leaving please remember to sign out to receive credit for 1 state meeting and 1 association meeting.

Approx. 11:45 AM - Group Meeting - General association topics including perception, the status of the NVFOA and the play-off selection format. If you are leaving after this session, please sign out to receive credit.

Approx. 12:30 PM - Film and Discussion on Mechanics and Philosophy

Approx. 1:45 PM - Sign Out.

Our goal is to cover everything and get out no later than the above format. However, please do not come with the mindset that we will definitely end at this time. The most important aspect is to cover all topics and make sure everyone understands where the [association] is going. This may take a little more time or it may run so smoothly we get out earlier than expected. So please be flexible.

As mentioned in an earlier email, the [...] Supplies trailer will be present for anyone needing to make a purchase of equipment or to order shirts, etc., after the clinic. As a side note, I have given up most of my interest in this business but have maintained a portion to ensure the NVFOA get localized service and pricing. Because of this change there could be some other requiements for ordering taking down the road.


Last but not least the following observation was passed to us from one of our members and we thought it would be proper to pass it along.


I am tired of this nation worrying about whether we are offending some individual or their culture. Since the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, we have experienced a surge in patriotism by the majority of Americans. However, the dust from the attacks had barely settled when the "politically correct"? crowd began complaining about the possibility that our patriotism is offending others.

I am not against immigration, nor do I hold a grudge against anyone who is seeking a better life by coming to America. Our population is almost entirely made up of descendants of immigrants. However, there are a few things that those who have recently come to our country, and apparently some born here, need to understand. This idea of America being a multicultural community has served only to dilute our sovereignty and our national identity. As Americans, we have our own culture, our
own society, our own language and our own lifestyle. This culture has been developed over centuries of struggles, trials, and victories by millions of men and women who have sought freedom.

Americans speak ENGLISH, not Spanish, Portuguese, Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Russian, or any other language. Therefore, if you wish to become part of our society, learn the language!

"In God We Trust" is our national motto. This is not some Christian, right wing, political slogan. We adopted this motto because Christian men and women, on Christian principles, founded this nation, and this is clearly documented. It is certainly appropriate to display our motto on the walls of our schools. If "God" offends you, then I suggest you consider another part of the world as your new home, because God is part of our culture.

If Stars and Stripes offend you, or you don't like Uncle Sam, then you should seriously consider a move to another part of this planet. We are happy with our culture and have no desire to change, and we really don't care how you did things where you came from. This is OUR COUNTRY, our land, and our lifestyle. Our First Amendment gives every citizen the right to express his opinion and we will allow you every opportunity to do so But once you are done complaining, whining, and griping about our flag, our pledge, our national motto, or our way of life, I highly encourage you take advantage of one other great American freedom, THE RIGHT TO LEAVE.

If you agree -- pass this along; if you don't agree -- delete it!

A citizen of Tampa Bay, FA
So, then... what does that attachment have to do with being a football official? If you're an immigrant, atheist or disagree with anything about America, you should consider leaving the country? Samma-wha?

Well, then. I guess I'm feeling a bit... uncomfortable. Right now.

Although (I hope) is wasn't intended this way, the message seems to imply that only one type of cultural, religious, and political ideology are welcome in our association. And when you consider the fact that we're chronically and desperately trying to retain and recruit members (a nationwide problem), injecting a separatist political ideology into an otherwise routine e-mail about training seems like a really fucking stupid idea. And yet, that's what the commissioner has done.

Of course, I'm even stupider for writing to him to complain about it. Yes, I replied to the e-mail, like a moron, and told him what I think about his separatist rhetoric. So much for getting a playoff game this year. But I had to say something. Is it just a coincidence that we have the smallest recruiting class ever this year, and will have to work short-handed at a majority of our games? Perhaps presenting an image of an association open to only one type of political thinking finally taken its toll?

Well, maybe not. But this certainly doesn't help, and I don't like having to compromise what I believe by calling myself a part of it. Because, again, I'm stupid.

Forget it, James.

It's Virginiatown.

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