You might think that watching law students play sports would be like watching U. Conn. and Butler play basketball. You know, undersized, intense people playing in an ugly and painful style. You’d think that watching law students play a pick-up game of 21 would be indistinguishable from watching Butler unsuccessfully try to throw a ball in the ocean.
But you’d be wrong. Because at some point in the athletic competition, law students would undoubtedly halt competition and begin arguing over rules and regulations. Granted, halfway through the second half of the National Championship game, I wanted somebody to file an injunction on behalf of the rims in Houston that were being murdered. But in general I like my athletic competitions to be devoid of brief writing.
Which means it’s a good thing I didn’t go to Georgetown University Law Center….
UPDATE: Maybe I should retract my speculation about law students lacking basketball skills. Check out this clip of GULC student Alladin Jaloudi, making an incredible shot.
Okay, here’s the set-up for today’s epic email smackdown. Two GULC students are playing in their racquetball tournament finals. At some point the competitors halted play. They tried to schedule a time to finish the game, but they decided to rope in the tournament commissioner. That’s where we pick up the thread.
Names have been changed to protect the pedantic. We’ll call the commissioner “The Dude,” one of the players “Smokey,” and the overly aggressive one “Walter.”
From: The Dude
Sent: Mon 3/21/2011 4:03 PM
Subject: RE: Finals Match
I am sorry to hear about the conflict. I am willing to watch the remainder of the final. Can you both agree to what the score was when you halted play?
The best time for me will be Thursday early afternoon. What might be best for both of you?
Date: Mon, 21 Mar 2011 16:31:50
To: The Dude
Subject: RE: Finals Match
Thanks for agreeing to do this. Early afternoon Thursday should be fine (I may have an interview but as of right now it’s open–I’ll keep you posted).
As to beginning at the previous score, I have to object. Physical fitness and endurance are key assets of mine and weaknesses of my opponent who was already beginning to fatigue in the second game. I think it would be unfair to allow his refusal to continue the previous match to benefit him, and I would request that we start from scratch.
Sent: Mon 3/21/2011 8:16 PM
To: Walter, The Dude
Subject: Re: Finals Match
Thanks, The Dude. My only time limitation on thursday is a class that begins at 3:30. I had won the first game, and the second stood at 3-6, Walter in the lead, my serve.
On Tue, Mar 22, 2011 at 12:12 PM, The Dude wrote:
Considering this is supposed to be fun, I think we should schedule the final for Thursday at 130.
I also think it is fair to restart with the score as it was when play ceased. I understand and appreciate all points made but think there is no reason to start completely over. If this is amenable to both of you please let me know.
Ed. note: At this point there is a flurry of emails from Smokey trying to get Walter to confirm the 1:30 Thursday restart. Walter remains silent until this epic response.
On Thu, Mar 24, 2011 at 12:11 PM, Walter wrote:
First I would like to thank you for finally CCing me on one of your emails. Don’t worry about the ones that you didn’t. I understand how inconvenient it would have been to have your false accusations confronted by the truth. In fact, we will not be playing today at 130 because your conduct at our previous meeting has already resulted in the win being awarded to me.
You see, when you refused to replay the point in dispute, which I immediately offered to replay, you were in violation of the Rules and Regulations for this tournament. In fact, you were violating the very first rule, which states
1) Honor System
Each player is responsible for reading and adhering to the rules and
guidelines for the tournament. The Honor System is in place during the
*Any call that cannot be clearly resolved should be replayed.
*Unsportsmanlike behavior, including abuse of the equipment, should be
reported by the player’s opponent. The incident will then be reviewed and an outcome, including expulsion from the tournament, will be determined.
Despite your being clearly on the wrong side of the rules, you quit playing, and you refused to resume. This, too, is in violation of the rules. In fact, Rule 8 makes it clear that your conduct must result in the match being awarded to your opponent. It states
8) Match Play Official Defaults
*An opponent subject to any of these violations must be found in default.
*1) 15-Minute Late Rule without notification: Failure to appear on the court within 15 minutes of the starting time without notification.
*2) Injury or Walk-off: Matches not completed due to an opponent’s injury
or quitting before match completion shall award the win to the remaining or non-injured player.
From the moment you refused to replay the point, you were in contravention of the tournament’s Rules and Regulations and had quit the match, awarding the win to me. Now, you may not have realized the consequences, but that is irrelevant. Rule 1 states, “Each player is responsible for reading and adhering to the rules and guidelines for the tournament.” Ignorance is no defense.
This conclusion is based solely on facts not in dispute. Apparently, there have been allegations of unsportsmanlike conduct on my part. Smokey has not made these known to me, which is telling of both his character and the likely veracity of his claims. I deny all allegations of unsportsmanlike conduct. I could rightly complain about Smokey’s conduct, though these competing claims will get us nowhere. What is not disputed is 1) there was a disagreement over a point, 2) I offered to replay that point, 3) Smokey rejected my offer, and 4) Smokey refused to continue playing.
If you refuse to enforce what is mandated by the tournament’s clearly stated rules, then this has ceased to be a fair contest governed by mutually agreed upon processes. It would be instead an absurd spectacle governed only by the whims of its organizer. No matter how benevolent those whims are (and I do believe they are), that is not what anyone signed up for.
The only way to avoid that outcome is to disqualify one or both of us. I think that my disqualification would be a meritless miscarriage of justice, but Rule 1 clearly gives you the power to do it, so at least the outcome would comport with the Rules and Regulations of this tournament. These are your only options. I look forward to your decision.
Sent: Thu 3/24/2011 1:41 PM
Cc: The Dude
Subject: Re: Finals Match
Walter, I said I didn’t feel comfortable continuing play after you threatened to knock me down, and repeated your threat several times. I reported that to The Dude. If you change your mind about playing, I am free tomorrow afternoon to finish the match under The Dude’s supervision. If that’s what we are going to do, I’d prefer to know about it by this evening so that I can get ready.
Smokey: Thanks for finally putting your baseless accusations out into the open, though I would prefer to see the actual emails you sent so I can get a better grasp on the extent of your lies.
The Dude: What Smokey alleges never happened. I don’t make threats. What did happen was that Smokey sensed the match slipping away from him, started a dispute, refused to adhere to the rules, and quit the match.
We’re still waiting for The Dude to resolve this conflict. After all, this isn’t ‘Nam, this is GULC. There are rules.