“Tebow Bill” Goes to Governor …

I have a confession to make:  I loved to watch Tim Tebow play football.  I loved his hard-nosed running, his passion to win and his faithfulness.

I even loved his inability to throw a spiral.

So why can’t I seem to wrap my arms around the bill that bears his name?

A week ago, the Senate passed the Tebow bill on a vote of 22-13.  It essentially allows home school students to play scholastic sports, at least in those counties which choose that option.  I voted “no.”

I have several friends that home school their children.  I also believe that local School Boards can set policy for extracurricular activities.  However, there are two things that I can’t seem to get past.

First, the Virginia High School League, or “VHSL”, is a non-profit organization which administers high school sports.  In general, the Assembly should not be telling it how to run its business, as long as it’s following the law.  To date, it has refused to permit athletes to play unless they are enrolled students.

Second, there are consequences in life, when you make decisions.  If you choose not to attend the local high school, there is a consequence — you don’t get to play for its team.  That only makes sense; especially when you consider that high school athletes have class attendance and grade requirements.

Here’s a corollary question:  would we allow a major college athlete to play  if he failed to enroll in the university?   (ironically, we may be moving there for some  Division I programs that rely on “one and done” athletes)

The Tebow bill is now on the Governor’s desk.  I expect him to veto it, which will undoubtedly get criticism or praise, depending on your political leanings.

I’d prefer that we reach a middle ground here — but nobody seems to have found it yet.

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Miracle on Ice — 35 Years Later

Do you remember where you were on February 21, 1980?

I do.  It was a Friday night and I was a sports-crazy sixth grader at J.C. Wood Elementary in Fairfax City.  I had been following the US team as they tied Sweden, then beat the Czechs and Germans.  Then drew the Soviets in the semi.

For a young person today, it’s hard to describe the full-on Cold War rivalry between the USA-USSR.  They were the antithesis of all we held dear.  And their sports were the best in the world.  Their hockey team had killed an NHL All-Star team by a 6-0 scoreline.

Of course, the Soviets used professionals in all their sports, while the USA still used amateurs in the Olympics.  But I digress …

The US-Soviet game was considered to be a route.  It wasn’t even televised live.  Rather, the network put it on a 2-hour tape delay that night.

At 8 pm, we were sitting in the basement — our whole family — to watch the US play the Soviets on tape delay.  No Internet, no problem.  Amazingly, the Americans stayed closed.  They scored a goal at the end of the 1st period to knot the game 2-2.

In the third period, the Soviets were wearing down the Americans.  Down 3-2, it looked like it was slipping away — then the Americans snuck one back in a net scramble.  The Soviets were furious and stormed back.  Goalie Jim Craig was all over the place, stopping the flying pucks.

In the announcer booth, a young Al Michaels said “the Americans are relying too much on Craig.”  Then a puck slipped free from the side boards.  In the iconic moment, the team captain Mike Eruzione (a Boston guy all the way) took it on his stick and rifled the perfect shot over the goalie’s glove hand.

For those of  us in the D.C. area, the game had one last bizarre twist.  Midway through the third period, in a commercial break, a news anchor stated “The U.S. beats the Soviet Union” as a teaser for the evening news.  I was getting a glass of root beer but my parents heard it — and kept it secret to the final whistle.

Sunday was the gold medal game.  The U.S. was actually losing to a very good Finnish team 2-0, before storming back to win 4-2.  They won the gold and deserved it.  They beat every other team — and those were the best teams in the world.

The USA-USSR game was a miracle, if only because the Soviets were perhaps the greatest team in hockey history.  But the USA team was no slouch; nearly all its players moved on to the NHL and several of them (Dave Christian, Neal Broten, Craig Ramsey) became All-Stars at the next level.

If you watched the US-USSR game you never forgot it.   It has stood the test of time as a life memory.  Do you remember where you were that night?

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Watch: Sen. Obenshain and Sen. Petersen debate HB 1601 and Medicaid Expansion:

Watch: Sen. Obenshain and Sen. Petersen debate HB 1601 and Medicaid Expansion: from Chap Petersen on Vimeo.

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