Roy Exum: In The Name Of Christ, Stop!

Friday, July 19, 2013 - by Roy Exum
Roy Exum
Roy Exum

When I visit Mayo Clinic, my habit is to gather every newspaper I can find. As I await appointments, I read every word of stories that interest me and, more particularly, stories that don’t. I figure it broadens my mind so yesterday I read those I normally wouldn’t, and one in particular made me want to weep.

First, there is no one alive who loves sports and competition and fair play more than I do. I know what clean competition can inspire in young and old alike and immensely enjoy almost every sport you can name. On the other hand I dislike boxing, the martial arts and especially the “ultimate fight” venue where the object is to maim your opponent with repeated blows to the head. We know the health risk is far too great.

That said, there was a story in USA Today that revealed Garrett Holeve, age 23, will fight in a cage against David Steffan, age 28, for the title of “King of the Casino” at the Seminole Immokalee Casino in Immokalee, Fla., on Aug. 3. The promoter will sell tickets and it will be a huge event. What’s most troubling is what makes the draw: Garrett was born with Down syndrome and Garrett has cerebral palsy.

This is a sickening fiasco that should never happen. I believe, very strongly, that our society has a deep obligation to those among us who are mentally or developmentally challenged. We should help, encourage, and embrace those who – face it -- had no choice how they were born in America. Equality shouldn’t even be a question.

So the huge moral and ethical problem is that both of these want to fight. Garrett, who trains in Nebraska, has been turned down in several attempts to compete and his dad has a point when he told USA Today, “A disability, in my mind, is only one if you let it be.” His dad is rightfully proud and wants to see his son succeed.

David – the one with “mild” cerebral palsy (as though there was such a thing,) -- has competed in both the Special Olympics and the Paralympics. “I think it’s a great opportunity for both of us to show the world that we belong in there like everybody else.”

Kristen Seckler, a vice president of Special Olympics, told USA Today, “People with intellectual disabilities might read slower or learn slower than others, but they can run marathons, hold jobs, go to school, get married and have babies. One of the things we like to show is there are no limits.”

Oh, we all agree with that but the Florida State Boxing Commission very wisely saw the risk and “discouraged” the fight. The casino, able to dodge the commission due to different laws on Indian lands, works under a different boxing organization on the fight is scheduled for Aug. 3.

Please! Who in America wants to watch somebody with Down syndrome fight somebody else with cerebral palsy? I can’t  imagine  going to such a fight because I believe people with disabilities must learn there are some things they can do and some things best left undone. Don’t you see, this is no more than a cheap spectacle that isn’t sport at all.

Centuries ago, outside of Rome, a monk was tending his garden when a huge surge of people were hurrying to the Coliseum. The monk was asked to join them and, as the trumpets blared, a Christian was jerked from a cage and ran in a terrified way inside the tall walls.

Suddenly a gladiator appeared, chased the victim down, and killed him with his sword. The blood-lust crowd roared. Another Christian was jerked from the holding pen and the gladiator, to the cheers of the crowd, beheaded the captured slave.

From high in the Coliseum, the monk screamed, “Stop, in the name of Christ, stop!” and many nearby laughed, thinking it was part of the afternoon’s show. The monk scrambled down the wall, ran to one that was slain and, with tears streaming down his face, held the dead body and screamed, “Stop, in the name of Christ, stop!”

The bewildered gladiator didn’t know what to do so there, in the now hushed Coliseum, the Roman pagan raced to the monk and thrust his sword into the Holy Man’s middle. “Stop! Stop in the name of Christ,” cried the monk, not looking at his assailant but towards the eyes of those who had brought him to such a spectacle.

High in the Coliseum, one man stood to walk away. One followed, and then three others followed. Next a dozen, and then a long line as no one said a word. According to legend, the gladiators never “entertained” in Rome again.

How could anybody watch two intellectually and physically challenged guys fight for “King of the Casino?” Stop, in the name of Christ, stop.

royexum@aol.com



Happy Birthday ToThe Williams/Hardy House

The Williams/Hardy House celebrates its 90th anniversary on Lookout Mountain this year.  Designed by local architect Clarence T. Jones the main house was built for Mrs. Ethel Soper Hardy.  Work began in spring and completed by late summer to early fall in 1928.  The Williams family would later occupy the house for nearly 60 years before it was purchased by the National ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Driving In Reverse

When I was putting together The Saturday Funnies column the other day, there was a particular quote that resonated with me. The great writer Jodi Picoult once said, "My dad used to say that living with regrets was like driving a car that only moved in reverse." I love that and it’s true. Some hours later, as my dog and I sat in the dark, I thought a little more about that. If ... (click for more)

Attorney Davis Says Other Driver In Styles Case Pulled Gun While Driving Wildly; Denies Radio Host "Blacked Out"

Attorney Lee Davis said the other driver in a Friday road rage incident in Hixson pulled a gun on radio personality Jeff Styles while driving wildly.  He denied that the talk show host blacked out.  Jeff Styles, who was shot in the forearm, was charged with aggravated assault and vandalism. The other driver, Nickolas Bullington, was not charged. Police said ... (click for more)

Gerald McCormick Pulling Out Of House Race

Former House Majority Leader Gerald McCormick has decided to pull out of the House District 26 race and take a position with an engineering firm in Nashville. He told the Chattanooga Times Free Press the move would still give Republicans a seven-day window to find a replacement as the election nears. His wife, Kim, earlier took a position with the State Board of Regents in ... (click for more)

Lookouts Break Out Their Bats In Saturday's Rain Shortened Game Beating Barons, 12-2

Birmingham AL --  On a wet night at Regions Field, the Birmingham Barons (32-36) fell to the Chattanooga Lookouts (36-33) by a 12-2 score on Saturday night in a rain-shortened contest. The Birmingham loss evens up the five-game series at two games each with one game to play in the first half. Rain and the Lookouts were the winners on Saturday night in Birmingham as the ... (click for more)

CFC Wins 2-0 At Inter Nashville FC

Chattanooga FC remained undefeated in NPSL play Wednesday night, beating Inter Nashville FC 2-0 in Nashville.   David Valenciano had CFC's first goal late in the first half.  Jose "Zeca" Ferraz scored the second goal minutes before the final whistle.  This is the fourth road game in the last two weeks and they play their final rode game at New ... (click for more)