Issue 132: A Ridiculous Lesson in Sportsmanship

There’s an organization called The Foundation for a Better Life that teaches all kinds of values that are good for us to have through a series of commercials. We’re talking things like kindness, civility, listening, and sportsmanship.

In fact, the foundation is so interested in teaching values that its website used to simply be called “,” which is very on-brand but also kind of confusing, since the foundation’s name doesn’t contain the word “values” at all.

The site has since changed its name to That’s equally as wild, but probably more memorable because of one of those commercials I mentioned earlier.

Sportsmanship — Pass It On

This commercial was a real thing that actually appeared on television. And every time, it perplexed me — something it still does to this day.

To quickly give a situational overview: the Eagles (in red) are playing the Bears (in white) in what appears to be a pivotal game for both teams.

You would think the Bears are the home team here, yet a few seconds in we see posters supporting both teams plastered to the walls. I understand a fan cheering for the opposing squad, but I’ve never seen arena decor going both ways.

In any case, the Eagles, despite being up two, take a jump shot from the baseline. Just about every player on their team runs toward the basket (including #30, who jumps up while the ball is still in the air), leaving the Bears to have a fairly uncontested path to the hoop should this shot not go in.

Well, the shot doesn’t go in, and #6 (who we’ll get to know a bit later) grabs the rebound and kicks it to his teammate, #23, who dribbles toward the basket while also maybe taking a few too many steps and slams the ball home. All of a sudden, we’re tied up with mere seconds left on the clock.

The Bears choose an interesting tactic of trapping the inbounds pass, which, if the Eagles had even an average level of basketball IQ, they could easily break through to score the winning basket. Instead, their player gets frazzled and throws the ball to…no one, really.

The ball goes out of bounds, carefully evading all the hands in the area. This is important to note, because…

As the coach draws up what is surely a wonderful after timeout play, he’s interrupted by someone. Alex, our fearless #6, looking like someone standing outside of a window looking at a party he wasn’t invited to, admits he touched the ball before it went out of bounds, and it should be the other team’s possession.

Alex’s teammates, understandably, are PISSED. “That is not what the ref called,” one teammate clucks. We learn from another that it is, in fact, the championship game, and there ain’t no time for this kind of honesty.

But Alex isn’t swayed. He maintains it should be the other team’s ball, and we get some dramatic soft rock playing in the background.

The coach, debating whether it would be okay to toss Alex out of the gym for the remainder of the game, reluctantly starts plotting for a defensive stand instead.

As the players head back to the court, one intentionally bumps into Alex. The forlorn Alex, who is most certainly going to be the subject of ridicule when the Eagles end up making this shot, trudges toward the official. His coach calls after him.

“Alex,” he begins, pausing for effect. “Good call.”

Then Alex runs up to the ref to tell him he touched the ball, as “SPORTSMANSHIP — Pass It On” displays onscreen.

It’s implied the ref changed the call, but in real life, no official would do that. I’ve officiated basketball games before and if a player came up to me with this kind of admission, I’d suggest they keep quiet and never mention it again.

First of all, the AUDACITY to suggest that I blew a call, in the championship game of all places, is ridiculous. Secondly, the call has already been made. This isn’t the NBA where we have 65 angles of replay review so we can see if an ingrown hangnail was the cause of a ball trickling out of bounds. You get one shot, and you better not miss your chance to blow.

Anyway, what a wild ride.

I won’t entirely criticize The Foundation for a Better Life, though. Not all of their commercials are bad — here’s another sportsmanship one that is actually heartwarming and makes sense.

Now show some good values out there this weekend.

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