Politics and life are based on hocus-pocus, caprice, and stupidity. If you are interested in basketball, even if you did not see the event as it occurred, you have likely seen the film of the game. In the 1972 Olympic Games, the United States was riding a 62-game winning streak in basketball. Basketball was introduced in 1936 and the USA had won every game. In 1972, which was before professional players were allowed to play, most of the best college players passed up the opportunity to play in the game. Meanwhile, the Russian team had been playing together for years, and they were tournament tested. Both the USA and Russia teams reached the finals. The Russians led every step of the way until the last few seconds, when the USA eked out a 50-49 lead. Game over? Not so fast. With zero time left in the game, there was a commotion at the scorers? table: the referee called an administrative time-out. The scorer told the referee that Russia had called a time out. Thereafter, one second was put back on the clock, and the Russians in-bounded the ball, and time ran out before they could get a shot off. The USA team went wild in celebration, then a pinko-Commie-scumbag ran on the floor. Oops! Did I say Commie? Possessing power creates the desire to use the power. This phenomenon occurs thousands of times in the human experience. There is nothing more powerful than a petty bureaucrat with a rule book in his hands. Never mind if the rule has a logical basis?if it is on the books, there will be someone willing to enforce the rule. In those days, international basketball was controlled by the Secretary General of the International Amateur Basketball Federation who, in this case, happened to be British. William Jones, the Secretary General, rushed out of the crowd and said that there had to be three seconds on the clock, which was the amount of time in his mind remaining when the Russian coach tried to call time-out.

After the three seconds were put on the clock, Edeschko threw the ball in-bounds to Belov, who scored the winning basket. Then the Communist Bloc took over. The USA?s protest was heard by a five-man jury of appeal. Three members of the jury were from Communist countries, and all three voted to give the victory to the USSR. The final vote was three to two, and the USA lost an Olympic basketball game for the first time.

Over the years, it has appeared to me that the Communist countries vote together, but it is not always the Communist Bloc countries that change the outcome of an event. Remember the Winter Olympics when the French judge traded her vote and the Canadians were cheated out of the Gold Medal in the Pairs Championship? I know the French up-close and personal, and that did not surprise me, but it was really a shocker that a British judge changed the outcome of the basketball game. Who can you trust these days?

Donald M. Heavrin,
Your Servant of Truth
In the Garden of Life
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