Sonny Fulks
Sonny Fulks
Managing Editor

Sonny Fulks is a graduate of Ohio State University where he pitched four varsity seasons for the Buckeyes from 1971 through 1974. He furthered his baseball experience as a minor league umpire for seven seasons, working for the Florida State League (A), the Southern League (AA), and the American Association (AAA). He has written for numerous websites, and for the past fourteen years has served as columnist and photo editor for The Gettysburg Magazine, published by the University of Nebraska Press, in Lincoln Nebraska. His interests include history, support for amateur baseball, the outdoors, and he has a music degree from Ohio State University.

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Now that she plays second fiddle to gold medalist Simone Biles, Gabby Douglas can expect to the slings and arrows of those who underachieve, and over-criticize.

You no doubt are aware of the flack directed at Olympic gold medal gymnast Gabby Douglas after she appeared to sulk on the gold medal stand in last weekend’s medal ceremony in Rio.

If you aren’t, she’s been roundly criticized on social media for everything from the way she stood, for not having her hand over her heart during the playing of The Star Spangled Banner, and later for not joining in a standing ovation for teammates Simone Biles and Aly Raisman.

Well Douglas fired back this week by saying the criticism was hurtful, mean-spirited, and simply…”too much to deal with.”

Uh, welcome to the world of sports and Monday morning wanna-be’s, Gabby, who’ve never known a competitive moment in their life.  Such is life – so much easier to rake someone’s back from the safety and anonymity of your living room and your I-phone.

But then…tell me who actually wrote the book on how you’re supposed to stand and how you’re supposed to look when the national anthem is played.

I know a lot of people who stand with their hand over their heart when they hear the song, and that’s fine.  But frankly, what ticks me off is when the group or individual that performs the anthem butchers it to the point of embarrassment.  That, to me, is more disrespectful than having your hands in your pockets…or even in someone else’s pocket!

Truth be known, I never stand with my hand over my heart during the anthem because of what I learned from my fifth grade teacher, Harley Wade, during elementary school.  Back then you recited the pledge of allegiance every morning before school, and Mr. Wade always instructed the girls to hold their hands over their hearts…and the boys to stand at attention with their hands joined behind their backs.  I’ve done it that way ever since.

I really don’t think it matters, one way or the other, in defense of Ms. Douglas.  And to be perfectly blunt, how you stand pales in comparison to listening to someone try to sing the anthem that can’t carry a tune…some tone-deaf leather lung that sounds like Barney Fife.

Sonny_thumb0216But more, a pox on those with a biblical sense of propriety about such things and nothing better to do than find fault with something of significance the size of a mustard seed.  Frankly, I’d direct you to a week with Mr. Wade if I could.  He always had such a forceful way of helping you determine the proper priorities.

And to Gabby Douglas.  Thank you, sincerely, for the thrills of conquests past.  And remember this about America and its sports heroes.  Simone Biles will one day learn that what you did just four years ago pales in comparison with the present expectations.  This is a country that runs on “what have you done for me lately”.

And if the answer to that question is “not much”,  I guess you’d better stand at attention with your hand in the right place…when they play the anthem!

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