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  • Writer's pictureMariaelena Comaroto

Unfair Advantage

As this phrase echoes through my memory I’m brought back to when I was young and our family would pounce around on Sundays after church watching football. Besides my father’s commentary, which could be argued to belong only on a naval ship, I remember clearly watching the officials deliberating on controversial plays. I loved watching them gather in their striped jerseys. I wished I had a pair of their ear muffs and that I could listen in on how they did it.

And my favorite moments would be when one of the officials would finally deliberate. There would be a moment of fan silence to hear the official call. And just as the last of the echoes of the officials voice could be heard, the crowd would burst into both cheering and booing. It was so climactic to experience.

I grew up hearing these deliberations echoing through my mind. Unfair advantage was one that I heard often, but never quite understood. “In American football, an unfair act is a foul that can be called when a player or team commits a flagrant and obviously illegal act that has a major impact on the game, and from which, if additional penalties were not enforced, the offending team would gain an advantage.” - Wikipedia

I spent too many years of my adult life believing that life was like football. But it’s not. Because the rules and laws that govern us, The Constitution of the United States of America, is a living, breathing document. What does this mean? It means that it’s not quite as black and white as the jerseys of my beloved officials. If it were, things would be very different. And I’m not so sure that would be a good thing.

The Constitution and its appendages are interpretable. And I have come to believe that this is brilliant. Of course, at this very moment in time, this doesn’t sound very helpful. But I will argue that it is the most helpful thing to understand.

While in my eyes it’s easy to proclaim many unfair advantages in business practices all around me, the reality is, even if I’m right, I would have to prove it. And something tells me that I can’t do that alone. There are very few things that I have learned need to be done alone in this lifetime. But fighting for justice is not one of them.

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