“I’m so angry I could spit!”
When you give it some thought it makes a lot of sense. Most of the time anger provokes violence, but some believe violence is the last refuge of a weak mind. So if a person cannot control themselves, yet don’t want to resort to violence, the only recourse is the most disgusting thing a person can think of.
Here comes the loogie!
I’ve been in this position before. The setting was a fifth-grade kickball game in the schoolyard at James Buchanan Elementary, where our class was in a tight game against the other fifth-grade class. But as the action got heated and recess began to wind down, the sixth graders poured out of a side door and onto the macadam. Inevitably, since they were the oldest and therefore “kings” of Buchanan Elementary, they really didn’t care that we had an intense kickball game going and strutted right through the infield en masse.
“Get off the field!”
That’s where it started and it went quickly downhill from there. One thing led to another and I was shouting down the third base line at Megan O’Brien, who was wearing a lovely cable-knit sweater (at least that’s the way I put it out there for the sake of the story). So with the intensity of the game superseded by the intensity and frustration of the argument with the sixth graders, cooler heads did not prevail.
Having grown up with a sister not too much younger than me, I learned very early on that a man never, ever hits a girl. Ever. We learn hard lessons when we’re 4-years-old and hitting girls is the one that lasts the longest…
That and lifting the seat.
Remembering an incident when I was 4 where an argument over the crayons led to a punch in the nose for my sister, I knew better. However, I wanted to get Megan and her sixth-grade classmates off the diamond so we could finish the game before the recess bell rang and we had to go inside. Instead of taking a poke at her, I gathered up the saliva in my mouth and let it fly.
The intention, believe it or not, was to fire off a warning shot—you know, brush ‘em back a bit so we could finish the game. The problem was my aim was a little too true and the next thing I knew Megan was running and screaming toward the recess monitor with the evidence on the forearm of her nice, cable-knit sweater.
That was the end of the school day for me.
It’s interesting how people react to spitting and specifically, spitting on people, places or things. In fact, I’ll wager that spitting on a person is worse than a punch in the nose based on reactions. Truth is, it’s a valid argument that because Roberto Alomar spit on umpire John Hirschbeck during an argument in the 1997 baseball season, he was not elected to the Hall of Fame on Wednesday.
It doesn’t matter that Alomar and Hirschbeck have buried the hatchet, but it does matter that two legacies are somewhat defined by a single incident. Alomar very well may have been the best second baseman of his generation, but he spit on an umpire during an argument and that swayed a handful of voters from validating his career.
Oh yes, it was the loogie heard ‘round the world.
Remember when Charles Barkley spit at a heckler in New Jersey, but hit a little girl instead? Of course you do. Every time Sir Chuck gets arrested or does anything controversial and they recount past slip-ups, the spitting incident always gets mentioned and is usually placed high on the list of the worst things he ever did.
Charles Barkley has been arrested for throwing a man through a plate-glass window in Florida, punching a man in Milwaukee, and for a DUI charge in Arizona. HE ALSO SPIT ON A LITTLE GIRL!
For that incident in New Jersey during the 1991 season, Barkley was suspended and fined $10,000. He also bought season tickets for the girl and her family and went on to forge a friendship with them. However, when his career was over it was that one little gob of saliva that was the blemish on his record he most regretted.
“I was fairly controversial, I guess, but I regret only one thing—the spitting incident,” Barkley said. “But you know what? It taught me a valuable lesson. It taught me that I was getting way too intense during the game. It let me know I wanted to win way too bad. I had to calm down. I wanted to win at all costs. Instead of playing the game the right way and respecting the game, I only thought about winning.”
Oh yes, the loogie can force one to look inward.
Apparently that’s what happened when Dave Spadaro, the editor of the Eagles’ web site, decided it would be a neat and compelling bit of commentary to walk onto the middle of Cowboys Stadium and drop not one, but two wet ones on the iconic logo star. Based on the video it seemed to a moment where the spitter was striking some sort of defiant stand…
You know, like that guy who stood in front of the tanks in Tiananmen Square.
Maybe if Spadaro had stood in front of a star-logoed tank or handcuffed himself to the goal posts while being beaten by men dressed in Cowboys’ garb, perhaps there would be more sympathy toward his allegiances. Instead, he issued a press release/apology on the team’s official site.
Obviously he misread the way people feel about the act of spitting and what it represents. Sure, a lot of people understood the sentiment of spitting on that blue star—especially after the Eagles were dominated by the Cowboys and had to return for a rematch in the playoffs this Saturday. But spitting? Really? Is he in the fifth grade?
Take a look:
Clearly Spadaro was attempting to rally the home team against the hated Cowboys. Why else would a person drop gooey spit on an inanimate symbol of… well, the 50-yard line? But even in this case the clownish act was greeted with head-scratching from the Eagles.
“Who spit on what?” running back Leonard Weaver said with a shrug following Thursday afternoon’s practice. “
So now, the dude representing a certain segment of the fans by standing on the star and coughing one up with a video cam in hand, did not exactly sound the bugle to charge for the ballplayers.
“I didn't even know he did it,” Weaver said. “That has nothing to do with us as a team.”
Let’s just hope he didn’t spit onto the field with a head cold.