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What Not to Say: "I Own This [Town, Turf, Team]"

Ok, so maybe you don't exactly want to look toward these three for advice on proper living, but something weird is going on here, and it's time to draw a simple lesson from America's Worst Youth Sports Commissioner, that nutty blogger who keeps harassing Sen. George Allen, and Saddam Hussein.

Here's the lesson: When you get in trouble over something, do not shout out anything about how you own this [team, town, turf.]

As chronicled in Tim Dwyer's astonishing tale Saturday of the northern Virginia youth football commissioner who sacked the coaches of his own kid's team because they had defied dad's orders to play the kid on defense every single minute of every single game, commissioner Dan Hinkle made his demands clear by writing in an email: "He is my son, I own the league, and he plays every snap on defense." (Let me repeat a key phrase here: writing in an email. This is the central stupidity of our era. Thank you.)

Then there's the wacko who seems to enjoy getting removed from Sen. Allen's campaign events. Liberal blogger and law student Mike Stark, after having been manhandled by Allen staffers at one event where he tried to badger the senator into talking about the sealed court records from the breakup of Allen's first marriage, was removed from another rally by police Saturday after an Allen supporter said Stark pushed him to the ground. This time, Stark responded by calling out to deputies that "I'll own this town." This is not the Dale Carnegie-approved approach to a police custody situation.

Finally, we have Mr. Saddam Hussein, the probably soon to be swinging ex-dictator of Iraq. Saddam never quite uttered the words "I own this country," but he repeatedly came close in the early days of his trial for crimes against humanity. He challenged the court at the start of the trial: ''My identity is as the president of the Republic of Iraq. And I ask, who are you, and what are you? Who are these judges?''

The judge replied: ''You are Saddam Hussein al-Majid, former president of Iraq, born 1937.''

Hussein retorted: ''I didn't say 'former president,' I said 'president,' and I have the constitutional rights according to the constitution, among them immunity from prosecution.''

Election Eve is no time to be preaching humility, I suppose, and I'm sure if you have a dispute with a shop manager, it may feel just swell to blurt something like "I'll own this store," but I think it's fair to say that the efficacy of such declarations is minimal.

Can't we all just sing out in unison, "STFU!" (Oh, man, there I go, being boorish again. Let's try that again: Can't we all just, well, get along? Ugh. Way too syrupy. How about, Can't we all just chill and play some Twister? [I ripped that off from a blog way too nasty even to link to--apologies to the blogger.] (There's an Internet myth that Fidel Castro loves Twister; I can find no evidence to support this. However, continuing the category of Cuban Dictators and Board Games, Fidel does appear to have an animus against Parker Bros.' Monopoly: "In Cuba, the game had a strong following until Fidel Castro took over and ordered all known sets destroyed."

Another reason to support democracy. Go vote tomorrow. (Whew, finally found a way out of this one.)

By Marc Fisher |  November 6, 2006; 11:29 AM ET
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Please email us to report offensive comments.

Mark, I'm a youth basketball coach, have been for three years, and I always tell people that one of the reasons I enjoy it is because it makes me feel REALLY well-adjusted. There are some crazy people out there in youth sports. Dan "The Czar" Hinkle is an extreme case, I grant you, and he should be removed from youth sports forever, but nobody involved in kids' sports is surprised by this story. Nobody.

Posted by: TMU | November 6, 2006 12:23 PM

Marc, I was surprised to read in this morning's Post that Hinkle had put over $100k of his own money into the sports league. So I suppose that, technically, he did "own" it. I feel sorry for his kid--his father was publicly outed for being an (rhymes with "glass bowl").

Posted by: Raysmom | November 6, 2006 12:26 PM

(Man, this site won't take any apostrophes or commas. What's up with that?)

Anyway, Mr. Hinkle is now the lead story on badjocks(dot)com, a site which keeps track of this kind of lunacy. Kudos, Mr. Hinkle!

Posted by: TMU | November 6, 2006 12:31 PM

I wonder what it means to complain that a site won't take apostrophes or commas in a message that *contains both*!

Posted by: jaded | November 6, 2006 12:53 PM

Heh. That one's on me -- for some reason, I had just put a comment on a news story (the story on Hinkle), and it was stripping out all the commas and apostrophes in the comments. I guess the blogs work better.

Posted by: TMU | November 6, 2006 12:55 PM

Now on to the races, gates are open...who will win?

Call me strange, but I am going to make prediction, Republicans will rule again, the time for the Democrats has not arrived yet.

Americans are still riding the Patriot,
9-11, and Iraq War thing....and they are going to keep the course, despite it being taken out of the speeches.

As much as I hate to predict such a thing, I think republicans still have a strong hold on a large number of Americans, especially the right-wing religious folks.


Posted by: Frankey | November 6, 2006 1:31 PM

I'm glad we can say STFU at!

Posted by: Silver Spring | November 6, 2006 1:59 PM

The great thing about the Hinkle story is that the kids, out of loyalty to their coaches, refused to play for substitutes.

These kids are more principled than the adults around them.

Posted by: E | November 6, 2006 2:01 PM

How is Hinkle more disturbed than our cranky Vice President, who insists on "full speed ahead," no matter what?

Part of me, the reckless part, almost wants to see the Republicans maintain power. I just wonder if it can get just worse enough that, by 2008, we can be rid of them for, oh, maybe a generation or so. I have this bad feeling that a marginal Democratic win won't be enough to change course, and that we'll just be setting ourselves up for another Republican resurgence in '08, because "see, the Democrats could only obstruct..."

Posted by: Rocco | November 6, 2006 4:17 PM

To Rocco:

Lets think on this a bit ... most of the political ads against the Republican party have emphasized how the Republican candidate was always backing the President. Therefore, vote for the Democrat candidate and the Democrat candidate will not back the President if elected. What will that accomplish? How will the country be better served? How is that NOT obstructing?

Posted by: Moreofme | November 7, 2006 10:37 AM

Regarding Hinkle, it's astonishing to me how much youth sports is overrun with a bunch of so-called adults who have less maturity than the kids playing on the field. And it gets worse every year. No wonder it gets harder and harder to find people willing to officiate.

Finally, with regards to Mark Stark--he's a boor, a crank, a talentless hack, a loser with no apparent job or career, who apparently has delusions of becoming a big-time lefty celebrity like Kos or Michael Moore.

Posted by: Claudius | November 7, 2006 1:36 PM

Hinkle is a class act, a first-grade elementary school class that is. Let it be said that I extend my apologies to first-graders everywhere. Boycott 'his' league and his business. that will hit his wallet, where his type hurts most (excluding his inflated ego, of course).

Posted by: Spectre of Truth | November 8, 2006 10:26 AM

The players deserve kudos for their loyality to their coaches. Their maturity as children far exceeds that of Mr. Hinkle. If that dollar amount mentioned is true, and he deducted it as a contribution, I'd hope the IRS would look into it. It doesn't seem a charitable contribution for a non-profit, but seemingly made soley for his gain... the playing of his son. If he 'owns' the team, it doesn't sound like a 503(c) to me!

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