UPDATE, 7.32pm: MOVE OVER, JAY MARIOTTI. You stink anyway.
Ahh, the meritocratic American Dream. It’s a beautiful thing until some moron stomps on it in the name of equity and fair play.
The term “Handicapper General” comes from a Kurt Vonnegut story called “Harrison Bergeron.” It’s a short glimpse of dystopia set in the year 2081 – the United States places handicaps on the most talented and the most intelligent to pull them down to the mean. Diana Moon Glampers, US Handicapper General, oversees the effort.
It’s a provocative story – so engaging and so relevant that The Moving Picture Institute is releasing the short film 2081, which is, as the opening line of the story attests, the year in which “everyone was finally equal.” The summary is as follows:
“Based on the short story Harrison Bergeron by celebrated author Kurt Vonnegut, 2081 depicts a dystopian future in which, thanks to the 212th Amendment to the Constitution and the unceasing vigilance of the United States Handicapper General, everyone is finally equal… The strong wear weights, the beautiful wear masks and the intelligent wear earpieces that fire off loud noises to keep them from taking unfair advantage of their brains. It is a poetic tale of triumph and tragedy about a broken family, a brutal government, and an act of defiance that changes everything.”
You can watch the trailer and sign up for updates on the film at www.finallyequal.com.
Well, Jericho Scott, a 9-year old baseball player in New Haven, CT, just got tagged by Ms. Glampers. No, he doesn’t have to wear an anvil around his neck, he’s just not allowed to pitch because he’s too good:
“The right-hander has a fastball that tops out at about 40 mph. He throws so hard that the Youth Baseball League of New Haven told his coach that the boy could not pitch any more. When Jericho took the mound anyway last week, the opposing team forfeited the game, packed its gear and left, his coach said.
Officials for the three-year-old league, which has eight teams and about 100 players, said they will disband Jericho’s team, redistributing its players among other squads, and offered to refund $50 sign-up fees to anyone who asks for it. They say Jericho’s coach, Wilfred Vidro, has resigned.”
That kid’s got a cannon. Surely he was beaning tykes with errant pitches, right? Multiple ER trips, concussions, tear-inducing fear en route to the batter’s box?
“”He’s never hurt any one,” Vidro said. “He’s on target all the time. How can you punish a kid for being too good?”
Oh. League officials, including Peter Noble, the attorney representing the league, should be ashamed of themselves, though they surely aren’t.
At least the immaturity of this equality spectacle is obvious – the league has handicapped everyone by removing a challenge rather than weighing down specific talent. Then again, it’s only 2008.
When we remove the greatest obstacles from sport, we remove the greatest accomplishments, too. There will never be another Miracle on Ice now that our Olympic teams use professional players. There will never be another Milan over Muncie ’54 because of class-based high school athletics. Without overwhelming odds, there would be no James Braddocks or crazed court runs by Jim Valvano.
Simply put, manufacturing equality ensures that there are no miracles.
And those who are being cheated the most are the kids who are being denied a chance to play with a great player. They’re being denied their own tiny miracle because some “handicapper general” thinks it’s best for them.
When I played little league, another team had a dominant pitcher not unlike Jericho Scott. In one game I hit two triples off him. I don’t know if we won or lost, and I’m not sure if I remember another thing from that year, but I do remember getting those hits.
Let them all play, including Jericho Scott.
UPDATE: There’s a great article at the NH Register – far more detail. Check it out.
There are also takes on the following sites:
Does anyone have any contact information for this league? E-mail it to firstname.lastname@example.org – thanks.
UPDATE at 10.41pm: