Monday, 8 December 2008

Tales of Disgusted Woe from a Disillusioned Sports Fan

I love sports. I always have. Perhaps it is a natural outgrowth of growing up with my brother/cousin who was a fanatic. I wanted to do and be involved with everything that he was, and since girls couldn't play organized hockey in those days, I did the next best thing-I learned to talk the talk. (As an aside, I don't throw like a girl and I used to be able to play road hockey as well as any XY! It still pisses me off that our temple baseball team doesn't include women!) Ask anybody who knows me. I understand and can talk sports with the best of them. I am a devoted follower of my beloved Maple Leafs (I know-you can all stop laughing now!!) and my equally beloved Blue Jays. (Being a sports fan in Toronto requires enormous patience, a thick skin and a tremendous sense of humour!) I am also a glutton for constant punishment known in NFL circles as being a fan of the Los Angeles/St. Louis Rams. (Yesterday, as I was attempting to console Older Son on the loss taken by his beloved Giants to the sad sack, yet division rival Eagles, I stated that it could be worse; they could be 2-11 instead of 11-2. He replied, in a voice dripping with sarcasm, "Oh you mean like the Rams?" Nice kid I have raised!) My point is, that sports for me has always been a great hobby and a reliever of stress. I know and understand the intricacies of the games and I can easily engage in intelligent debate with the best of them, male or female. I am not naive, nor am I a purist on any level. I understand that sports are a business and, while I hate the constant movement and lack of allegiance that free agency has brought, I get the notion that both the players and the owners are in this game to make money. I also am fully cognizant that sports needs to keep evolving to keep up with the demands of the modern markets and technology. Save me from the old-school purists who believe that everything should remain the same. With that kind of logic, hockey goalies would still play without the safety of a mask, and football would be exclusively a running game without the forward pass. These issues, while challenging and certainly debate-worthy, are not the problems that are destroying professional and college level sports, in my humble opinion. It is the shit that is occurring outside of the arenas and off of the playing fields that should be of deep concern to all of those intimately involved.

Here is a sampling of stories involving sports figures or teams that have headlined not only the sport's sections of the newspapers, but front pages in the past week alone.

  • In New York, Giant's wide receiver Plaxico Burress was arrested and charged with 2 separate gun-related felonies. Seems that Plaxico visited The Latin Quarter, a popular nightclub, last Saturday with friends. What Plaxico failed to tell his buddies, was that he was packing loaded and unregistered heat. He had stuffed the weapon into the waistband of his sweatpants (sweatpants???) and was a bit surprised (dumbass!) when the gun slipped down his leg. While attempting to retrieve the piece, this "peon of intellect" accidentally shot himself in the thigh. Instead of immediately calling the police, the other player with this moron, linebacker Antonio Pierce, piled his friend into his SUV and took off for the hospital. Pierce also tossed the weapon into the glove compartment of his car, never once thinking afterward that he should turn it into the cops. At the hospital, Burress checked in under an assumed name and the doctor who treated him never reported the incident to the cops. Of course the cops found out, hence the felony charges. Investigations continue into Pierce's role and the doctor in question has been suspended from her work pending a full investigation. Burress, who signed a $40 million contract extension in the off season has been suspended for the remainder of the season and his career is in obvious jeopardy.
  • In Calgary last weekend, the hometown Flames were getting ready to host the visiting Dallas Stars. In the off season, the Stars had signed super-pest Sean Avery to a big-money contract. Avery is known around the NHL as having a big mouth and saying inappropriate things both on and off the ice. He is also an extremely talented player who keeps getting second, third and fourth chances as a result of his gifts, but it should be noted that he has played for 4 teams in 6 years as management and teammates quickly tire of his antics. Avery also has a penchant for dating and dumping beautiful Hollywood actresses and models. Last week he walked up to the waiting reporters and said some fairly ugly things regarding a former girlfriend who is now dating a defenseman on the Flames. Avery was immediately suspended by the league and there is some doubt as to whether or not he will be welcomed back by the Stars. His career is also in limbo. 
  • OJ Simpson was sentenced last week to 9-33 years in prison for his part in the stupidity in Las Vegas. Enough said.

And this is only from the past seven days. We are constantly bombarded with tales of athletes cheating, doping, gambling, carrying weapons, lying to fans and grand juries, involving themselves in off-field fracases and the like. These idiots make millions of dollars (that I contribute to through the purchasing of tickets, memorabilia or cable services)  and because of that fact, they think that they are different from the rest of us simply because they can catch a ball, run like the wind or shoot a puck. I never thought that I would see the day when I was actually so disgusted with sports that I wouldn't watch. The games were always the redemption for the stupidity, but I think that the stupidity is finally winning out. I believe that it is time for morals clauses to be inserted into the contracts of professional athletes, whereby violations would result in immediate terminations. I believe that union officials need to stop coddling and fighting for the rights of athletes that have clearly abused the public trust. I believe that repeated chances for repeat offenders are a travesty and I believe that we the fans should vote with our dollars and our feet. Stop supporting these idiots who are ill-deserving of our worship and maybe they will get the message. It is long passed time for sports stories to return to the sports pages! I really want the action to return to the games and not the crap away from them.

1 comment:

  1. We have an opening on my hockey team if you are interested.