Lesser-Known Sports Penalties

With the assistance of two shepherd-interns, Justice Korbin Minotaur is compiling a list of lesser-known sports penalties. He has commanded Mr. Cornwall to publish notes on the list (as it now stands) on this informal electronic newspaper.

Mixed Signaling. Swimming. Any swimmer who pretends to be drowning is guilty of mixed signaling. The penalized swimmer is not allowed to swing his or her arms around to “get loose” prior to his or her next race.

Rimrodding. Basketball. This penalty is assessed on the home team when, by use of official measuring devices, the referees find that the visiting team’s hoop is so small that the basketball cannot fit through it. The punishment is that all restrooms in the arena are bolted shut for the remainder of the evening.

Denuding. American football. Denuding occurs when defenders unintentionally strip an opposing player naked in an attempt to tackle him. The offending team is forced to try their next field goal from the parking lot of the nearest Renault dealership.

Outboxing. Baseball. The penalty is assessed when, during his team’s turn at bat, a base-running coach leaves the marked area to purchase concessions. The offending coach must immediately don a sailor’s uniform.

Walden Ponding. Ice hockey. This occurs when a player watching the game from the bench becomes too philosophical. The player is punished by having to play the third period with an olive on each finger.

Journal Entry: Minotaurian Thanksgiving

Journal entry, 4 Frimaire 225: Two weeks ago Minotaur announced he would be hosting “American Thanksgiving” at the compound (Thanksgiving is not normally celebrated in New Salem, thanks to the 1969 decree of Prime Minister Judah ben-Christian III, who proclaimed that New Salemites “really had nothing to be thankful for, when it comes down to it”). Messengers with invitations were sent out to the four quarters of New Salem by government-paid employees on government time.

Minotaur spent several days straight in what he calls the “nude wetbox” (a shower) deliberating on the seating arrangements. When he emerged–cold, starving, and about ten pounds lighter–he dictated the arrangement to Mr. Cornwall, to wit:

“The tables will be arranged in the shape of the Maginot Line. The tables should be glued end-to-end with a weak glue. On the west side of this line, guests will be seated on the ground in berets. On the east side, guests will be seated on velvet-covered thrones in traditional German garb. At my signal, the German-dressed guests will reach across the table and eat the food of the Frenchies before feasting on their own meals. A few guests in British garb will then come in with milking stools so the Frenchies can be seated. Near the end, guests in American garb (presumably cut-off jeans and concert T-shirts exposing bare midriffs) will be let in the front door and will be led to the dessert table.

“As far as who sits where, it doesn’t matter other than I don’t want that thing to happen where the person sitting on my right is left-handed. Also, the Widow Jameson should be seated at some distance from me so that it is less likely she reminds me that I still owe her for picking up my lunch tab.”

The fare served was traditional to the holiday or at least a shadow of it–buttered rolls, fresh trout, Indian corn, canned pumpkin from a paper dunce’s hat. Animals selected for slaughter were afforded a measure of due process. Various beasts from the yard were brought before a jury of seven humans. As in the American criminal justice system, the jury looked to two factors in determining which ones were to die: the color of the animal’s fur, and misconduct. The animals sentenced to death were Handy the ass, whose crime was reportedly speaking to his master; Tammerson Goatson, an oddly named duck who had tried to drink from the teat of a cow; and Frederica von Steuben, the cow who had not resisted the duck’s effort with enough vigor.

After the meal, guests surrounded a television to give thanks for American football, that singular, warlike sport involving hand-to-hand grappling, sprinting, secret plotting, and both aerial and ground assaults.