Tuesday, October 23, 2007

God help us...

... A phrase that was uttered...well actually written by my buddy Tanner. It was in regard to an expected addition to my family. Sarcastically (I hope) but I figure it has a more global meaning than he originally intended.

Kevin Garnett's a Celtic...A white guy has been the NBA MVP 3 years in a row...a Canadian and a European...The Colorado Rockies are in the World Series...South Florida was number 2 in the college football polls...5 top ten teams lose one week, 4 the next, and the number 1 and 2 the following week...there is a chance there will not only be a one-loss team in the National Championship but possibly a 2 loss team...sports are upside down all over the place.

The worst part of it all is that not too long ago ESPN and various other news reports discussed sports during their nightly airings. The biggest sports stories were streaks, records, scores, individual performances on the field. Now I listen to sports radio on the way home from work as they discuss the daily Police blotter. The pages of ESPN or FoxSports consist of Pacman Jones "making it rain"...gunfire, and a bouncer at a Las Vegas club will most likely never walk again. More people know the intricate details of that story which ocurred months ago at NBA All-Star weekend in Vegas (a reason Las Vegas should never have a professional sports team) than about the amazing story of Kevin Everett of the Buffalo Bills who began walking last week with assistance when just over a month ago he was in critical condition following an awkward hit in Buffalo's opeing game. These are the off field stories I want to hear about. As much as I rooted against Nebraska in the mid-90's it's hard to forget some of the memorable performances from Lawrence Phillips, of course, all I think about when I hear that name is him throwing his girlfriend down a flight of stairs. The sports magazine TV shows have court reporters and legal correspondants. This is preposterous.

If you make a league minimum (depending on the sport) you make more in a year than I do in 15 at my job, and good for you, the rule is if you can get them to pay it, then you're worth it. I take a cab or walk when I've had too much to drink, why is one of my favorite players, Lance Briggs (Chicago Bear and UA alumn) crashing his Lambo into a tree at 3 AM and fleeing from the scene. You can afford a cab, even with the Franchise tag limiting your funds so. Over a decade ago, when things were different there was an athelete who was ridiculed by some and praised by others for his now famous quote, "I am not a role model". At the time Chuck was a monster on the floor, and twice as brash off of it. I wish we had more players like Sir Charles around today to be role models. Where was Reggie Miller during the Artest "Malace in the Palace" melee a few years back. He wasn't in the stands. He wasn't throwing punches. He was old school, and he knew his place. People are cracking back on Roger Goodell saying he is being too harsh with these players. Maybe Tagliabue should have done something a few years ago so this wouldn't be happening with as much frequency. Children look up to sports stars, all I wanted to do when I was a kid was "be like Mike", like it or not athletes are raising our kids, along with the rest of popular culture, and we need more positive action from them. We need to get rid of this gangsta culture prevalent in todays sports.

One of my all time favorite quotes from a short-lived TV show, Sports Night. Spoken by Casey McCall:

"Look, I got into this because I like getting people to like sports. And I've turned into a PR man for punks and thugs. And any atrocity, no matter how ridiculous, or hideous, or childish, it doesn't matter. I make it sports. Ten-cent bagman whacks a skater's leg with a crowbar, that's sports. Second round draft pick gets cranky in a Houston bar, and that's sports. And let's not forget the mother of all great sports stories - a double homicide in Brentwood. "

Where's Bo, he knew things, he wasn't on the Police Radar (unless it was an ambulance taking him to the hospital after another hip injury or Cops playing Tecmo at the station), Where's Larry Legend playing HORSE with Michael and Earvin (Magic), Who remembers Lil' Penny or Mars Blackmon telling us it's gotta be the shoes, what happened.

Sports used to be about sports, sports facts used to consist of Batting Averages, Field Goal Percentage, and Yards per Carry. Now sports fact consist of suspensions, HGH, and prison sentences.

I'm supposed to raise a child to love sports as much as I do in this culture.

God Help Us.