The “Kaper Kaper !”

On the TUNNEYSIDE of SPORTS September 5, 2016 #609 Up next…The “Kaper Kaper !”

After further review…The National Football League is currently promoting the slogan, “Football Is Family.” This is of significance to this writer since the NFL has fulfilled that role to both me and my personal family for over one-half century – 56 years to be more precise. When I was invited to join the NFL’s officiating family in 1960, I felt an immediate camaraderie. During my 31 years as an active on-field official, the NFL provided me a job (concurrent with my career as an educator) that fostered great pride and helped me put four kids through higher education.

The NFL officiating family comprises crews whose lives are woven tightly together from July through January each season. The seven members of each crew know each other’s personal families and develop their own group culture to ensure that all members are working together to produce the best quality of officiating possible. Likewise, every NFL T*E*A*M (Together Everyone Accomplishes More) develops its own culture adopting the shared philosophy that ensures they put forth their best performance.

Which brings us to the “Kaper Kaper” where one member of a T*E*A*M decides that the culture or tradition of his team is against his personal beliefs. In this case it has led to instances of not standing during the playing of the National Anthem, because he feels that showing pride “in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color” would be “selfish.” In particular, he decries law enforcement. Does one member of a team have the right to such symbolic behavior? Of course he does; if, indeed, the very constitution of this country guarantees freedom of speech. However, when one puts his own beliefs ahead of his team, then team chemistry is affected.

Having had the privilege of playing, coaching and officiating in team sports for my entire life, it has always been my belief that team, family, and officiating crew culture must take precedence over personal issues. Does this mean one must devalue or forego issues of integrity? Of course not! It does mean, however, accepting the culture of a team and if not, disengaging oneself from that team. It occurs to me that if one is unwilling to adapt to, or is unwilling to change, or is unable to change one’s teams culture, then separation from that team must happen for the future success of both the individual and the team.

Will you log-in your beliefs about individual rights vs team culture?

To contact Jim, go to or email

Jim’s book “Another 101 Best of TunneySide of Sports” take issues from the sports world and transforms them into positive messages for better living. Available from the above email at $20. which includes tax, shipping and an autograph, if requested.

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An opportunity!

ON THE TUNNEYSIDE OF SPORTS August 29, 2016 #608 Up next… An opportunity!

After further review…With the XXXIst Olympiad completed, many countries are busy counting the medals won by their athletes and comparing their numbers to other countries. We have become obsessed with numbers, rankings, and the hierarchies of success they seem to define. The thought here is any medal count, in a comparison mode, is misplaced. Oh, sure every country ought to be proud of the accomplishments of its athletes, but the opinion here is that the Olympics were designed for individual athletes to compete with the purpose of bringing people and countries together. Somehow, over time, that idea has been lost or discarded.

Fast approaching are the Paralympics, which will be held from September 7-18, in the same Rio venues as these summer games. While I have never attended the Paralympics, and will be unable to be in Rio for these games, I have watched with admiration (awe is more like it) what these athletes can do despite their limitations. The Paralympians use the term “Sport doesn’t care who you are.” So these athletes’ motto is: “Yes I can!” Let’s applaud them as individuals!

Some 40 years ago – about midway in my NFL tenure – I received a call from Teresa Brown, who invited me to attend the California Special Olympic Summer Games at U.C.L.A. with the idea of providing encouragement and inspiration to some 3,200 special athletes as they competed. Man, was that idea misplaced! After three days of watching these special athletes compete, awarding their medals, and taking pictures, I left as the recipient of more love and inspiration than I ever could impart to them.

Take Evelyn, an 11-year-old girl who won the 3-meter diving championship – and she was blind! Can you picture yourself climbing a ladder 10 feet high, walking out to the edge of a diving board, and diving into the water – that somebody told you was there?

Or watching an athlete, in a wheelchair with no use of either hand and the use of only one leg, due to cerebral palsy, push his wheelchair backwards 25 meters. It took him eight minutes, and he finished third! At the finish line I gave him a high-five and took a picture with him, then noticed his name tag, which read “Roger Tucker, age 59!” When is it too late to not keep trying?

“Be a Fan!” says the Special Olympic slogan, and I am certainly one. It is a privilege to be part of the Special Olympics and to speak to volunteer organizations in California, Arizona, Montana and others to encourage their involvement. “Let me win; but if I cannot win, let me brave in the attempt!”—is the Special Olympic motto.

Will you log-in about your volunteer involvement?

To contact Jim, go to or email

Jim’s book “Another 101 Best of TunneySide of Sports” has examples of how sports can help bring involvement and joy into your life. Available for $20. Includes tax and shipping. Please email to the above address. Thank You!

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A Bit of History…

On the TUNNEYSIDE of SPORTS August 22, 2016 #607 Up next…A Bit of History…

After further review…As Olympiad XXXI becomes history, let’s recall another bit of history! Forty years ago this was an historic time for both the National Football League and this writer. On August 16, 1976 at 6 p.m., we kicked off in Korakuen Stadium in Tokyo, Japan at the start of the Maninichi Star Bowl game. The St. Louis Cardinals vs. the San Diego Chargers. This was the first NFL game played outside of North America and the first game ever played in the far east. I was honored to be selected as the Referee with a six-man crew of Gordon Wells (umpire), George Murphy (head linesman), Royal Cathcart (line judge), Grover Klemmer (back judge), and Armen Terzian (field judge), all Californians (was the league trying to save a few bucks?) We met in San Diego at Lindberg Field on August 12th, to board a Northwest flight with the Chargers. We were allowed one checked luggage weighing no more than 66 lbs., and one carry-on bag.

We flew from Lindberg Field to Seattle to refuel. Then the 12- hour flight to Tokyo, arriving on August 13th at 4:45 p.m. and losing a day due to the International Date Line. We were graciously escorted to waiting automobiles for the long trip to the Grand Palace Hotel, which was to be our residence for the next five days. It was a grind, not so much from the distance, but because the traffic into downtown Tokyo was horrendous even 40 years ago!

The weather in Tokyo was hot and muggy. We had Saturday and Sunday to visit that great city, but took part of Saturday to inspect Korakuen field. The Japanese stadium crew was very efficient and most accommodating to us. The game was scheduled for Monday night and the kickoff occurred as planned. Tommy Prothro was the Chargers head coach with Dan Fouts at quarterback; the Cardinals head coach was Don Coryell with Jim Hart as their quarterback. Even though it was the first pre-season game, the coaches started and played their regular players most of the game.

The stadium was full with some 38,000 fans, since the NFL decided to allow US service personnel to attend at a “reduced admission cost,” or put more prosaically “free.” The Army and Navy bands played at half time and the Cardinals cheer leaders performed beautifully. A light drizzle fell most of the game. Cardinals 20, Chargers 10 was the final score. The Japanese crowd yelled “Blitzen” “Blitzen” though out the game encouraging the defenses to “blitz” the quarterbacks. They loved that play!

Will you take time to enjoy a bit history in today’s busy world?

contact Jim, go to or email

Jim’s latest book “101 Best of TunneySide of Sports” is available for $20. which includes tax, shipping and an autograph, if requested. Please use the above email. Thank You!

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