By Tim Baffoe-

(CBS) O.J. Pistorius. That’s what I’ve begun calling the South African runner accused of murdering his girlfriend (and I don’t want to place value on one murder victim over another, but holy Mandela, that woman was gorgeous).

Beloved athletes. National heroes. Endorsement collectors. Purveyors of interesting legwear. Cinema darlings. Seekers of truth.

And now guy who will probably beat a murder charge in large part due to a flawed cop. Non-Americans. They’re just like us!

Weekend. Don’t run with blades.

On to your correspondence. All emails and tweets are unedited.


I joined some friends for a coed dodgeball league this winter, and it’s pretty awesome. Most teams don’t take it too seriously, though everybody is out there trying to win. With six balls flying around all at once, the referee can’t possibly see everything. Occasionally, someone will get grazed by a ball and it takes the other team calling it for them to sit down.

A couple weeks ago, the best player on the other team was the biggest turd cheater I’ve seen yet. At least twice he got hit, and he just didn’t leave the floor even though we called him on it. There are two schools of thought here: One is that it’s just dodgeball, and since winning or losing doesn’t matter at all, we should just ignore it and go on with our business. I say people who do that are the saps who get walked on by everybody all through life. This argument essentially is “People should be able to lie, cheat, steal, and do WHATEVER THEY WANT RULES DON’T MATTER ANARCHY WINS.” Then why do anything? I mean, if things that “don’t matter” truly do not matter, then there’s no point in even playing.

My perspective is that even though dodgeball “doesn’t matter,” to let it go when there are clearly established rules (and, come on, we’re all adults there) is basically what leads to the destruction of society as we know it.

So after the game called him out in the handshake line. He clearly knew he was guilty, and he played the “it’s just dodgeball!” card (which was a total admission of guilt). I didn’t challenge him to a fight or anything because I’m not a crazy person, but I did make it known that we had no respect for him.

How should people handle blatant cheating in situations where the end result is basically forgotten minutes after the event? Should we let cheaters go, or as a society do we have a responsibility to call people out on their [d-baggery]?—JD

That dodgebro needs to be beaten with a tack hammer, first of all. Not to go all Walter Sobchak here, but there are rules. I don’t care if it’s rec league stuff. Sports need structure and order, regardless of level. I didn’t DVR my Tuesday night stories to go to Thunderdome for two hours, dude. Take your Nihilist sports attitude to a Charlotte Bobcats game (marmots get in free).

And I’m glad you pointed out the “It’s just _____” admission-of-guilt-but-I’m-going-to-deflect-the-negativity-onto-you technique turds like that guy do. My initial reaction would be to want to kneel on his chest and punch him in the face repeatedly with one of the dodgeballs mocking him with “IT’S JUST DODGEBALL, MAN. IT’S JUST DODGEBALL. IT’S JUST MANGLED CARTILAGE IN YOUR NOSE, BRO.”

One easy way to combat a jackass like that is to approach one of his teammates that you know isn’t an equal rectal infection and ask that the message be relayed that the cheating needs to stop. Nobody in any competition wants to play against cheaters. Then “it’s just for fun, man” loses the fun. And if it is just for fun, why must you cheat anyway? If “it’s just dodgeball,” why must you validate your sorry self through cheating, loser?

I’m also a fan of public shaming. Lots of rec teams/leagues get sponsored by local taverns. If you and that festering boil wind up at the same place for a few postgame drinks, use your not-trying-but-actually-really-trying-to-be-loud voice to question if this guy would cheat in a rec league, you know, what else might he cheat on, Sharon? Right, Jessica? Mmm hmm [speculative wide-eyed slow head nod].

how long can the Blackhawks keep up this historic streak ? #TFMB—@Bs_and_Garretts

Um, until they lose in regulation? Friday night vs. the Sharks could easily be the end—Antti Niemi has lost both his starts against the Hawks this season, but he does have a winning record in his career playing Chicago. San Jose is 8-4-3 so far and 3-3-1 on the road, so it wouldn’t be jaw-dropping for the Hawks not to grab a point there.

Should they win in regulation or make it to overtime Friday, the Sunday and Monday matchups against Columbus and Edmonton respectively are very favorable for the Hawks. Then they find themselves in St. Louis against a tough Blues squad. Thing is, the streak WILL end. Joking with ourselves about that huge zero in the middle column of the Hawks’ record that will never ever end is fun and all, but they’re going to lose in regulation—probably sooner rather than later. And that’s okay.

But they will have to trade Patrick Kane after that happens.

What makes sport peppers so sporty? #TFMB—@CosmoFurthur

I know what makes them suck, and that’s that they taste terrible. Their scientific name is Capsicum annuum, and they are a type of chili pepper native to North America. Chili peppers can be fantastic when used otherwise unmolested in many dishes (covered in a sock does not count as unmolested). But sport peppers are pickled, which makes them suck. The vinegar with the chili quality, no thanks.

If you’re going for pickled peppers with some pop on your palate (I apologize—I was just going over alliteration with one of my classes), peperoncini is the way to go. Those are also Capsicum annuum, but they fall closer to the bell pepper group of the species. Those taste much better pickled, and they’re usually bigger and juicier.

The etymology (or should I say “eat ’em-ology?” It’s THAT kind of wit that wins you Score Search, kids) seems to merely be that they were just popular on hot dogs, which of course were popular at baseball games, and baseball happens to be a sport except here in Chicago.

Thanks for emailing, tweeting, and reading. If your question did not get answered this time, that does not necessarily mean I am ignoring it. It may be saved for the next mailbag. Hopefully you’re a slightly better person now than you were ten minutes ago. If not, your loss.

Want your questions answered in a future Mailbag? Email them to or tweet them with the hashtag #TFMB. No question, sports or otherwise, is off limits (with certain logistical exceptions, e.g. lots of naughty words or you type in Portuguese or you solicit my death). If you email, please include a signature.

tim baffoe small Ten Foot Mailbag: Dealing With Rec League Cheaters

Tim Baffoe

Tim Baffoe attended the University of Iowa and Governors State University and began blogging at The Score after winning the 2011 Pepsi Max Score Search. He enjoys writing things about stuff, but not so much stuff about things. When not writing for, Tim corrupts America’s youth as a high school English teacher and provides a great service to his South Side community delivering pizzas (please tip him and his colleagues well). You can follow Tim’s inappropriate brain droppings on Twitter @Ten_Foot_Midget, but please don’t follow him in real life. E-mail him at To read more of Tim’s blogs click here.

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