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What do the middle finger and Hall of Fame have in common?

The answer can be found in a speech given by renowned golf commentator Peter Alliss. He addressed the crowd at the World Golf Hall of Fame induction ceremony on Monday:

Two images from two men who thought different.
Gary Larson, LIFE Magazine
Peter Alliss's blurred out middle finger as seen on TV.
Golf Channel

We had a headmistress... She was a Mrs.Violet Weymouth, and she was a short Welsh woman. She always had a cigarette dangling out of her mouth and the smoke used to trickle up here, and you could see where the smoke went. There was sort of a brown line up there. But she was‑‑you didn't mess about with Mrs. Weymouth, I can tell you that. I'm always staggered today where I read that children go to school and beat up the teachers. They wouldn't have done that in my day, I'll tell you. But I remember the last report she sent back to my parents, and it went something like this: 'Peter does have a brain, but he's rather loathe to use it. His only interests appear to be the game of golf and Violet Pretty', a girl I liked. She never knew about Iris Baker, but they were the two that introduced me to some of the ways of the world, for which I'll be eternally grateful. And although we were very young, I wish to God we could do it today.

'I fear for his future' were the last words she wrote on my report. So mom and dad died a long, long time ago, and if there is such a thing as heaven and if people do look down, well, Mom, Dad, here we are. Look at this lot. Look where I've been, look what I've done. Never worked very hard at it. But it's all fallen into place. Lovely family, lovely wife, looks after me, shouts a bit occasional. But they are remarkable. They put up with all my nonsense, and I love them dearly.

And Mrs.Weymouth, if you're there, (holds up middle finger)."

Golf Channel played his speech but blurred his expressive digit in the telecast.

Alliss’s familiar voice and wit added color, insight and drama to countless golf tournaments over the years. And because he didn’t believe Mrs. Weymouth, he has achieved the pinnacle of success.

Once you’re inducted into any Hall of Fame, all the people of the opposite sex whoever rejected you should be sent a plaque reminding them of the brilliant opportunity they squandered.

Similar plaques should go out to all the teachers, coaches or whoever outwardly doubted you saying: ‘You were wrong about (your name here). You were equally wrong in your efforts to so rigidly encourage conformity instead of fostering a free spirit. Despite your discouragement, (your name here) has now reached a level of success much higher than you.’

Anyone else whoever attempted to make you feel insignificant or crush your spirit should be sent a bronzed middle finger with the inscription: ‘Your sadistic efforts were not enough to quell the passion and love inside so outstanding an individual. Who knows how many other lives you negatively affected, and by doing so, affected others in the process? But more importantly, your harsh intentions did not, nor could not, diminish the spirit of someone destined for the Hall of Fame.’

Sometimes people say or do things to kids who are too young to respond with appropriate measures. There’s a lot of talk these days about bully children, but often bullies are adults taking advantage of children they should be looking after.

What if other great free thinkers were not allowed to be free?

Although Albert Einstein got a D in it, some kids really don’t need Algebra. Had Gary Larson not continued doing doodles, there’d be a vacant space where so much laughter filled the world. Had Matt Groening, who, by the way, shared a classroom with Peter Jacobsen growing up, not been allowed to day dream, there’d be shortage of catchphrases. Had Michael Jordan believed that getting cut from his J.V. basketball team was a sign of things to come, Chicagoans would have 6 fewer championships to feel good about.


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