Sixth-grade football stud Demias Jimerson is so good at playing football, his coaches at Wilson Intermediate School in Arkansas have instituted a new rule just for him: once he scores three touchdowns, if his team leads by 14 or more points, Jimerson is banned from scoring any more touchdowns.
Amazingly, Demias says he's "okay" with the new rule, adding that he was still "kind of shocked" to hear that he had to limit his own abilities for the benefits of the other kids on the playing field. "I'm gonna run hard and bring our team to victory," he said, adding, "but God always comes first, before anything, and grades second."
It's wonderful that this kid has such a sensible head on his young shoulders, but what kind of lesson is he being taught? We always tell kids to "do your best," but what happens when a kid's best eclipses all others? Instead of bumping him up to a more challenging level of play, kids like Demias are asked to lower their own standards for success.
How is it "fair" to place a cap on individual achievement?
Oddly enough, the reasoning behind this backward logic sounds eerily familiar:
Principal Bryant, the defacto commissioner of the Wilson Intermediate Football League, says the rule isn't meant to punish Jimerson. It's there to help the other fifth and sixth graders on the field develop as football players too.
Where have I heard this before? Ah, yes:
"It's not that I want to punish your success. I just want to make sure that everybody who is behind you, that they've got a chance at success, too… My attitude is that if the economy’s good for folks from the bottom up, it’s gonna be good for everybody. ... I think when you spread the wealth around, it’s good for everybody."