So you lost the big game.
You are no doubt feeling frustrated, emotional and perhaps even a little depressed. Right now you are probably racking that giant brain of yours for the answer to how this unfortunate set of events happened to you.
Well, my friend. Lend me your ears. Let uncle Craig provide you with a little guidance. I have an answer so simple and smart that you will wonder why you didn't think of it yourself.
Are you ready? Have you guessed it by now? If you have, good. If you haven't, it doesn't matter. Because I'm going to tell you what to do...
Blame the refs.
That's right. You are going to blame the refs. The guys in the zebra suits and shiny black shoes that always seem to blow the whistle at the wrong time. Or not blow the whistle at the wrong time. Or blow the whistle at the right time, but at the wrong team. Or blow the whistle at the right team, but at the wrong time.
It doesn't matter when they blow the whistle. They always seem to be screwing things up.
Never mind the fact that they are forced to make numerous subjective and split-second decisions on plays that happen at high speed. Never mind the fact that they get 90 percent of the calls correct.
We aren't going to focus on those things.
We'll instead focus on that one call in the fourth quarter that was clearly a block, but was ruled a charge. Sure the offensive player violently extended his elbow into the defender's face, but I saw the defender's feet moving. Even if it was a charge, the ref owed us one from that blown call in the first quarter. You remember that one, right?
The point is that these guys don't know what they are doing and they aren't going to get away with it.
I've seen too many games decided because the refs didn't like the color of a jersey. Or didn't like the type of shoes a team was wearing. Or didn't like the way a team's fans talked. Or were just plain incompetent.
I'm not going to let it happen anymore. This is where it stops. Today. Right here, right now.
Wait a second. What's that you said?
You think missing eight free throws in the final two minutes might have cost you the game, not the refs?
No, no, no. Don't be silly.
You lost by one point and the ref should've called a foul when Tommy missed that layup in the final seconds. Tommy would've made those foul shots. You would've won.
Don't you see? It doesn't matter what you did or didn't do. Did you forget what I told you? It isn't your fault. It's never your fault. It's the refs' fault. Blame the refs.
You don't see the point in blaming other people for your problems. You think it'd be better to look at yourself and what you could've done better. You think that by finding out what you did wrong, that you might be able to improve for the future. And you think that being critical of yourself is a better idea than blaming the refs.
OK. Fine. I hear your argument. But what would you call such a thing? This concept of taking a critical look at yourself instead of blaming someone or something else for your problems?
You'd call it personal responsibility.
Hmm... Personal responsibility. That's an interesting idea. I like the sound of that. Maybe I'll try that sometime.
But before I do, can you help me egg this ref's house?
(Craig Haupert is a sports writer for The Minot Daily News. He can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org)