There’s Gamesmanship, and then There’s Just Plain Dirty

by Colin Donohue

If you were ever an athlete at any level, you probably engaged in a little gamesmanship. Maybe it was a little pushing, poking, prodding, antagonizing. But it was usually on the up and up, at least for the most part. I enjoyed getting under the skin of my opponents when I played basketball in high school. Justin can tell you: I was not the most athletic baller on the floor. Heck, at any given moment in a game, I was probably the 10th most athletic player on the floor. I relied on positioning, preparation and some basketball intelligence to have any kind of positive impact on the game. So occasionally when someone would jump for a rebound, I’d give him a little poke in the side. Maybe I’d give a slight knee to the back of his knee to help him buckle a little bit. I’d box out my guy a little harder. But I never did any of this with the intention of causing injury. I wasn’t reckless, and certainly I didn’t want to hurt anyone. It was good ol’ fashioned gamesmanship, and I loved it.

But sometimes, as a player, you can go too far. I never did because I knew where the line between cageyness and maliciousness stood. And that line was well defined in my mind. No need to tiptoe on that one. Of course, it’s not as clear for everyone, including this women’s soccer player from the University of New Mexico. In her game against BYU, she pulled out all her dirty tricks of the trade (punching, hair pulling, face kicking). It’s disgusting. Take a look.

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