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Monday, July 22, 2024 | Back issues
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Team Spirit

I have a confession to make: I was one of those stereotypical kids in school that always got picked last for teams.

I don't feel badly about this. I deserved to be picked last. I was a detriment to every team forced to take me.

This experience did not make me bitter - lots of other experiences did, not that one - but, somehow, I managed never to be sold on the character-building value of competitive team sports.

In fact, team sports seemed to have the opposite effect on personalities. After all, who throws the slushies on "Glee?" It's not the guys being picked last.

I bring this up because of a quite entertaining tale told in a ruling last week from a California appeals court called Hecimovich v. Encinal School Parent Teacher Association that shockingly exposes abuses in fourth-grade basketball.

At this point, for your amusement, see if you can guess how fourth-grade basketball ended up in an appellate court.

Have you got it?

If not, I'll make it easier for you and turn it into a multiple choice question. The possible answers are:

A) The basketball coach was a San Francisco deputy city attorney.

B) The volunteer coach in the after-school league got tossed for benching a player.

C) The coach sued because he wanted to be able to coach his son.

D) The suit claimed that one of the fourth graders was throwing basketballs at the gym lights, clock and fire alarm.

E) All of the above.

OK, that was too easy. Obviously, it's all of the above. If nothing else, team sports are entertaining. If you don't believe me, I give you the first paragraph from this ruling:

"A recent Google Search for 'youth sports' showed 379,000,000 results. 'Safety in youth sports,' 66,800,000. 'Problem parents in youth sports.' 21,600,000. And 'problem coaches in youth sports,' 108,000,000."

From fourth grade to Penn State.

I'm kind of glad no one wanted me for their teams.

SNOW JOB. One of the benefits of reading lawsuits and court rulings is that you come upon questions you may never have considered.

Here's one: should the Food and Drug Administration be testing and regulating the safety of snow?

After all, you can eat it. I don't know how many people eat snow, but apparently enough do that it was one of the rationales for lengthy litigation over whether a ski resort should be allowed to make artificial snow.

The case is The Save the Peaks Coalition v. United States Forest Service, a U. S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit ruling in which the plaintiffs claimed the government failed to properly investigate the dangers of snow ingestion.

Brain freeze immediate comes to mind, but apparently the issue was the quality of the water being used. The court, in case you're wondering, seemed to think it was fine.

If nothing else, there's an important marketing opportunity here. Ski resorts need to promote the quality of their edible snow.

And improve the flavor

Tell people the skiing is great and when you need a break, you can munch on the slope.

Think purple mountains' majesty - grape flavored.

Or Tang Peak.

Or the Cross-Country Rainbow Run.

And there could be toppings.

There will be an end to plain, boring white ski resorts.

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