Todd Hartley: A free lesson in sportsmanship
November 15, 2002
For as long as I have been playing sports and games, which is basically my entire life, I have believed in a basic tenet: One should win graciously and lose with dignity.
That is why, among other reasons, I will resist the urge to mention that Raiders quarterback Rich Gannon completed an astounding 34 of 38 passes against the Broncos on Monday night, despite the fact that I detest the Broncos and am privately relishing in the ass-whupping they received.
No, I like to think that in my own way I practice good sportsmanship. Not all the time, mind you, but certainly when I win. When I lose it can be a whole different story.
My sister will no longer play darts with me because I became quite angry while losing to her one time, and I think she no longer trusts me with anything pointy. The last time I played my little brother in tennis, eons ago, I threw my racket at him. Every game of Risk I’ve been involved with has ended with me sweeping the pieces off the game board with my arm and storming out of the room. And anyone who has ever played golf with me has seen my pitching wedge fly farther than the pitch it struck.
I admit it. I’m a poor loser. But at least I recognize that I’m a poor loser, and I own up to it. And, as much as I am capable, I feel ashamed by my actions. Most of all, though, in time I accept that the defeat was either my fault or the luck of the draw, and I move on with my life.
I offer this as advice to the trolley proponents in this town to help them in their time of woe as they come to grips with the fact that Aspen doesn’t want their trolleys. Because I have rarely seen a more egregious example of poor sportsmanship than the one they are currently exhibiting, and I can only hope that they heed this advice and shut up before they further embarrass themselves.
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To force an election that nobody really wanted and then declare immediately after losing that election that the issue isn’t over is an affront to the voters of this town. We gave them a fair shot, they lost, and that should be the end of the story. Unless, of course, the trolley folks feel like thanking the voters of Aspen for considering their stupid ballot measure in the first place.
Had that been the end of things, I would have let this whole matter slide, because I have no desire to discuss the damn trolleys anymore, and I know nobody wants to read one more word about this dead horse, but the trolley geeks just couldn’t let things be.
The issue isn’t dead, one trolley friend contended (I’ll just leave names out of this, because there’s no need to debase these people further), because the trolleys only lost due to a misinformation campaign spread by a certain city councilman, and thus there should be another election on the issue.
Furthermore, the foremost trolley tool vowed, there should also be a recall election to unseat the current City Council. The council, in his opinion, is seeking to give away valuable property that belongs to all the citizens of Aspen and is thereby violating some sort of state statute.
This notion is not so much an affront as it is sheer idiocy. Nothing is valuable when it would cost more to refurbish it than it is worth, so right now the city owns a few decrepit eyesores out at Cozy Point Ranch. And as for the council giving them away: Good, maybe they’ll spend the next 20 years in service after spending the last 20 years rotting in a field after an ill-advised purchase.
Look, trolley people, the voters of Aspen have spoken: We don’t want the trolleys. We don’t want to have another election on the matter. We don’t want you to try to cram them down our throats again.
And we recognize poor losers when we see them.
I know it hurts. Rejection is always tough, but don’t take it so personally. We don’t have anything against you. We don’t want you to leave town. We just don’t want your trolleys.
You’ll get over it, I know you will. But please do it fast, because in the meantime ? with all your letters to editors decrying the evil City Council and dramatic declarations that Aspen hates you ? you are making complete asses out of yourselves.
No need to thank me for the advice. I’m happy to offer it. I just hate seeing people embarrassing themselves so publicly.
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