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Friday, January 18, 2013

Who's a Brother Gonna Root For?

What is a sports fan to do these days?  It's bad enough that this weekend is the last good sports weekend for a while.  And don't give me Super Bowl weekend either.  That is more an event like the Oscars and Olympics masked as a sporting event.  Sure some of the games are classic.  The Giants vs Pats games are among them.   But as a whole we are more likely to remember an amazing commercial or wardrobe malfunction.  Beyonce and Billy Bush will be as prevalent as grey hoodies and x's and o's.  Beyonce is fine.  Billy Bush?  He should be the losing teams tackling dummy.

The final four is established and for the most part the prevailing image from this NFL playoff is the epic and grandiose farewell of Ray Lewis.  Yeah, the Ray Lewis who was very much involved in a homicide.   Lest we forget.  Sure, Lewis has been a vocal leader and is established as one of the greatest ever to play his position(linebacker.)  But Barry Sanders, arguably the best running back ever to play the game, never received this type of farewell tour.  All Mr Sanders did was play the game the right way.  When he scored he handed the ball to the ref without a word.  To my knowledge he never had a drug problem.  He was never asked to take a paternity test.  And he certainly wasn't on scene when a murder took place.  In this day and age that reads vanilla.  Vanilla doesn't sell.  Boring doesn't sell.  And we all know sportsmanship doesn't sell.  It isn't sexy.  It isn't compelling.  The inmates are running the asylum.

It is why Sports Center is more likely to show a meaningless dunk in the first quarter rather than a bounce pass that started a fast break at a critical point in the game.

It is why Craig Biggio and his 3160 hits do not get elected to the Hall of Fame because he was in the same class as cheaters Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, and hell most of the darn crooks.

Hell, even Tim Tebow (lambasted here last year) is a sympathetic character these days.  All he does is win and say all the right things.  A team player who the Jets saw as a marketing ploy.  He may be too in your face religious for my taste; but upon closer examination he is more beneficial to the game than not.  That is, it would be nicer seeing him roam the sidelines this weekend than crazy dancing, do-rag wearing, murder forgetting Ray Lewis.

We continue to celebrate renowned cheater Lance Armstrong days after he finally came clean.  And let's be honest, this is a celebration.  All he ever wanted was the spotlight and once again he has it.  Race championships, philanthropy, rock star arm candy, and now, ultimately, his fall from grace were ALL done with cameras watching.  As he talks to Oprah his legend continues, and grows.  Whether he races or not his name has managed to stay in the headlines.  No such thing as bad press right?  Think he has lost much money since the whole fiasco started?  Doubtful.  In fact the check Oprah cut him would make most of us blush.

What then do we make of shamed Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'O?  He of the imaginary dead girlfriend?  Wait, that sounds like an oxymoron.  Just when you thought he could not be more embarrassed.  Did you see Notre Dame's vaunted defense in the title game earlier this month?  Was Te'O even in that game?  Every time the camera found him he was on his ass 10 yards down field.  AJ McCarron's girlfriend got more camera time than him.  Just ask Brent Musberger.

Now this?  We are to believe he was hoaxed into believing he was in a relationship.  Then he was hoaxed into believing she died.  We were all duped.  For a moment the Golden Domers had restored their national dignity after several years far off the radar.  It turns out the whole year was a fraud.  Tehy caught some breaks, played the right schedule, then were exposed.  The same can be said for their star linebacker.  NFL executives stay far away from this kid.  He has a certain Brian Bosworth scent following him.  That is never a good thing.  Unless of course you were clamoring for Stone Cold 2.

Maybe the NHL will come save the day.  Strip away the needless fighting and constant labor issues and  you are left with perhaps America's purest sport.  Egos and showmanship are not as integral as say, the NBA.  A short regular season might provide excitement and a few surprises.  Salaries are reasonable for the most part.

Who knows?  My baseball team has left for the dreaded AL.  My beloved Seahawks were gallant in defeat and show tremendous promise.  But that must wait for next year.  There is talk that the Seattle SuperSonics might come back.  That might bring me back from the depths.  Where have you gone Jack Sikma?  Xavier McDaniel?  Gus Williams?  Detlef Schrempf?

The sporting life was supposed to be my escape route from the social meltdowns and police blotter I do my best to avoid.  They are so intertwined now it is impossible to tell them apart.

Thankfully there is youth sports.  Things can't be screwed up there, right?

What's that?  Oh, wait.  One of my players parents is emailing me about their kids playing time.  Gotta run...  far away.


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