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A Celebration Of Excellence: Happy Ted Valentine's Day

Here at Hammer & Rails we like to celebrate holidays, and today is no different. It is rare that we see excellence personified, but one of the rare place you can look for it is in Big Ten officiating. That is why today is a holiday celebrating a conference's love affair with one of the greatest officials known to man.

That's right, it is Ted Valentine's Day.

I am not the only one honoring Mr. Valentine today, as Midwest Sports Fans has already given us a pictorial of this Adonis amongst men. Valentine is loved by those in East Lansing this week for standing up to the whining baby bully that is Jared Sullinger on Saturday and allowing the Spartans to play defense on the possible Big Ten Player of the Year. it was a magnanimous gesture and a brilliant tactic that no one could have figured, especially since poor Sully is barely touched hacked to the point of multiple fractures every time he touches the ball and needs protection.

Naturally, the Buckeyes and Thad Matta never thought there would be a game where Baby Sully's protection would go away, so they had no counter, but we can thank Ted Valentine for this magnanimous gesture.

Valentine is a misunderstood man. Indiana fans loathe him, even though he made sure the Hoosiers and their precious baby Jesus, Cody Zeller, couldn't be touched by those meanies in West Lafayette. He even had the divine foresight to give Matt Painter just the second technical foul of his career, all because Painter disagreed with Zeller's takedown of Travis Carroll that, naturally, was a foul on Carroll because the lovable lummox fell on poor Zeller. Coach Painter was grateful for the technical and correctional discipline.

Valentine's discernment is as unparalleled as the great Jim Burr. Each official has wisely handed out 18 technical fouls this season. Valentine is always impartial with his judgments, giving and taking with a critical eye and keen discernment. Knowing that Mr. Zeller, as mentioned above is a great player, Valentine generously gifted the Wisconsin Badgers with 19 free throw attempts in their home game against the Hoosiers, making him beloved by all in red.

Mr. Valentine loves the Big Ten, and we love him in return. He is especially loved in Bloomington, where he is welcomed like no other. Tonight he might even be welcomed with open arms in Minneapolis when the Buckeyes face the Gophers. All will be forgotten if he makes up to Baby Sully and protects him from the ferocious defense that Ralph Sampson III is known for with his toughness.

So on this Ted Valentine's Day we salute you, Ted Valentine. May your gracious wisdom continue to bless us all.