Tuesday, August 26, 2008

May He Who Has Never Delivered a Taekwondo Kick to the Face in a Moment of Frustration Cast the First Stone

On the final day of the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Cuban taekwondo competitor Angel Valodia Matos—after being disqualified from his bronze medal match for taking too much time out to deal with an injury—delivered a kick to the face of referee Chakir Chelbat, prompting immediate public outcry for Matos and his coach to be banned from taekwondo competition for life.

Let me pose this question: Who among us has never delivered a violent martial arts blow to the face of another during a moment of frustration or anger? I will admit—readers—that if I had a nickel for every person whom I have savagely attacked over even the most negligible of disagreements, I would likely have enough money to purchase Lil Wayne’s new album—Tha Carter III.

I find it hard to believe that there’s anyone out there who—in a moment of rage—has never punched a barista at Starbucks in the face, sweep kicked a DMV employee, or eye gouged an auto mechanic. And you know what? In those situations there isn’t even an Olympic bronze medal at stake (rather an Ice Vanilla Brewed coffee, a new driver's license, or rear brake pads to replace the ones that appear to be working JUST FINE)!

It seems to me that once the initial shock of Matos’ regrettable lapse of self-control dissipates, we will all see a glimmer of ourselves in him. Deep down, we all just want everyone else in the world to be sympathetic to our side of the story. We want people to listen to us—to hear us out. And if they aren’t willing to accommodate our demands—no matter how ridiculous they may seem—I find it hard to say that they shouldn’t be karate chopped in the throat.

Something to think about…

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