Over the years I have periodically received emails with odd requests such as covering the Dundalk ice hockey team and covering events in Dublin, London and other areas in Great Britain and Europe.
These were, of course, from people who dd not realize I write for the newspaper in Dundalk, Maryland, USA, and not the Dundalk in Ireland which was the inspiration for our community’s name.
(Well, except for the ice hockey team. The person who contacted me for that story knew I was in the United States, but thought it would still be an interesting story.)
I usually responded to these requests with a “would like to, but can’t expense the travel costs ...”
A few weeks ago, I received an email asking for help in searching for an 1932-33 Dundalk Football Club League Champions enamel pin badge from a man describing himself as a collector of football club enamel pin badges.
Obviously, the request was meant for a newspaper in Ireland. I’m pretty sure we referred to the game as “soccer” in the 1930’s.
Still, it’s a strange world. Objects get around. Who’s to say, over eighty years, a championship pin hasn’t made its way from Ireland to the united States and is sitting in a box in someone’s home?
Take a look at the photo (well, rough sketch) accompanying this column and see if it matches some old sports memorabilia gathering dust somewhere in your home.
The man looking for the enamel pin badge, Tony Hickey, said he is willing to give a “nice donation” to anyone who has such a pin.
Mr. Hickey is also looking for a more modern Dundalk F.C. enamel pin badge from a few years ago: the Dundalk F.C. Shareholders Cooperative.
If anyone — and, really, nothing that happens in this world really surprises me anymore — does have one of these pins, let me know and I’ll pass contact info along to Mr. Hickey.
* * *
Two weeks ago I wrote about the importance of a free press, particularly in a time where the president of the United States mocks the media and refers to it as “an enemy of the people.”
Since then, there have been a couple of troubling events.
A reporter for an online news site was viciously attacked and beaten by a mob while covering an event in Portland, Oregon.
The video of the attack is disturbing, showing members of the “Antifa” movement harassing, kicking, punching and throwing objects at Andy Ngo. His recording equipment was also stolen.
Regardless of Ngo’s politics (and he does appear to be an example of what I described in my previous column, as writing for sites that espouse one point of view), this was a group of private individuals suppressing media coverage of a public event and assaulting a reporter in the process.
Just as alarming, however, were the number of other media members who rushed to justify Antifa’s actions and basically say the attack was justified because Ngo wasn’t a “real” journalist.
Which is dangerous and ridiculous. You either believe in, and protect, a free press, or you don’t. And making excuses for a violent attack on a member of the press because you don’t agree with the victim’s politics is cowardice and worst than any of President Trump’s tantrums against the media.
(By the way, the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker added the attack on Ngo to its list of press freedom violations.)
Essentially, if you’re a member of the media and you make any excuse whatsoever for Antifa’s actions (and the assault on Ngo is not the first time this group has attacked reporters or attempted to suppress coverage of an event), then you’re not a journalist, no matter what prominent media organization’s name appears on your credentials.
You don’t get to criticize the government for attacking the media, while remaining silent while private citizens do so (and vice versa).
On July 4, groups protesting President Trump were passing out “guidelines for the media.”
That is, private individuals with no real legal standing or authority were telling the press what it could and couldn’t do while covering a public event on public ground. And what it was allowed to publish.
That is, suppression of the free press by groups claiming to be anti-fascist.
Reporters who did not comply with these “guidelines” were warning they would be “removed” from the protest area.
How removed? If anyone lays a single finger on someone attempting to move them from a public area, when they have no legal authority to do so, that’s assault.
Again, this isn’t the government cracking down on press freedoms; this is private individuals claiming to be anti-fascist. Like how oppressive dictatorships usually call their countries the “Free people’s Republic and Worker’s Paradise of Whatever.”
I guess reading “Animal Farm” is no longer required in schools.
* * *
It’s getting trendy now to criticize Megan Rapinoe. I just want to point out I was way ahead of the curve; I criticized her in this space back at the start of the World Cup.
She’s being lauded as “courageous” and outspoken; as I wrote last month, I just see someone in a team sport constantly shouting “Look at me!”
When Rapinoe took a knee during the National Anthem to show support for Colin Kaepernick, she made sure everyone knew she was the first white person to do so; when asked prior to the World Cup if she would visit the White House if the U.S. team won, she responded with a profanity.
Rapinoe continued protesting during the National Anthem at the World Cup, again wanting the spotlight to remain on her. She engaged in a lame choreographed celebration dance after a goal that gave the united States a 9-0 lead.
Then there’s that silly pose she struck after scoring goals at the Wold Cup. Yes, I’ve seen male soccer players play to the crowd after scoring; they look silly, too.
Since the World Cup victory, Rapinoe is everywhere. Just about all print media stories include photos of Rapinoe and her quotes. It’s almost like she won the World Cup by herself.
But, you know, gotta give her credit. Her “look at me” antics have worked. Not only is she the center of media attention, but she was given the awards for both best payer and best goal-scorer at the World cup.
Prior to the World Cup, I rarely saw Rapinoe mentioned as among contenders for the best player award. Yet she won, despite never appearing on the field during what was perhaps the USA’s toughest match, a win over England (certainly saw plenty of shots of her on the sidelines, however).
As for best scorer: three of her goals came on penalty kicks, meaning it was the coach saying “Rapinoe take the kick” when the majority of the players on the U.S. team could also have converted the shots.
Another goal came on a free kick, and then there was the aforementioned goal late in the rout of a Thailand team that had pretty much packed it in by that point in the game.
So I’ll toss in another compliment for Rapinoe: She is a marketing genius.