Pros, And Cons…

A Kick To The Gut…

The 2nd hit to the chin always seems to surprise me more than the 1st, though it’s usually not as painful. So earlier this week when I read that Adrian Peterson had been accused of child abuse only days after the NFL indefinitely suspended Ray Rice for punching his then fiancée in the face, I was stunned but not in any more pain.

Like many, my immediate reaction was, that’s it – no more supporting the NFL. In an era when crybaby millionaires dominate headlines ahead of more pressing social matters, it has often seemed to me ridiculous to support professional, and even high level collegiate athletics.

It's best not to judge, but if you're going to judge, please be consistent your judgment...

It’s best not to judge, but if you’re going to judge, please be consistent your judgment…

With so much going on in my own life; the more pressing matter of finance, family, community, and self, I have questioned for years why I have invested so much of my time and emotions into the actions of others, solely to satisfy my need to feel uplifted. Quite often, I am as let down by the play on the field, as I am by off the field behaviors.

And then I remember this, “It ain’t the 6 minutes, it’s what happens in the 6 minutes.”

This remains one of the most formative scenes from any movie I have ever watched. A good reminder that we have a very human need to be transported away from the daily articles of discomfort and disdain that bind to our psyches from living otherwise unstimulated lives at home and in the workplace.

A Walk Not To Remember…

When the baseball World Series was cancelled in 1994, I swore I would never watch another game. It took the Boston Red Sox contending for and winning a World Series nearly a decade later to bring me back, but even so, today I follow baseball from a distance.

When the NHL experienced a lockout in 2004-2005, I was beyond disappointed. Not that I was a huge hockey fan, but like a lot of people, I had believed the NHL was the last professional sports league not to be (excessively) distorted and corrupted by greed.

I could dedicate a year to researching criminal offenses by professional athletes, coaches, and administrators, and still not scratch the surface of what transgressions take place in the arena of professional sports. I could also say the same thing about the business world, Congress, and probably the local elementary school. The relative proportion of infractions might vary from institution to institution, but the truth remains that greed, violence, and corruption exist in all walks of life.

Upright Culture On The Skids…

Man has been playing sports competitively for millennia. Whether we’re talking about the ancient sports in Mesopotamia, Mesoamerica, or Rome, there have been two constants in sport; fans and corruption – and the tween have always met, and seem to have been necessary and compatible bedfellows.

I’ll suggest that there may have been as many cheaters and wife beaters in the Native American sport of Pasuckuakohowog, as there have been in Cricket, Football or 3-meter springboard diving. I sometimes have to work to remember that there are many more citizens of good intentions, who are graceful practitioners of their athletic craft seeking only to succeed and entertain, if not to be role-models.

There Will Be No Roycott…

I will continue to watch professional sports for their value to both entertain and transport me away from an otherwise unexciting life. I will simply appreciate the good they have to offer, and look beyond frailty of character which is in all of our collective DNA.

Whenever discussions of boycotts arise during times when violence or corruption are exposed in professional sports, I always try and take a step a thousand steps back and view the bigger picture. I ask myself, who gets effected in a boycott, and what are the unintended consequences. Again, I could dedicate a year to studying that and still not scratch the surface. I will simply suggest that there are unintended consequences to a boycott of any kind, and unintended consequences are the folly of man.

In Artistic Terms…

Many reading this are not sports fans and will scoff at the very idea of investing time, money or emotion into the sweaty jocks of others. They may feel all sport should be boycotted all the time for their lack of artistic merit in society.

To them, I ask only that there only be consistency in judgment. For every person that chose not to enter a Mel Gibson movie on the evidence that he’s a foul mouthed anti-Semite, there is someone else listening to and appreciating a song of John Lennon. Though Lennon sang of peace and love, he had a taste for heroin that is well documented. I can assure you the chain of producing and marketing that drug was appalling, and that Lennon probably knew the steps it might have taken before it reached him – and he used it anyway.

There have been as many creative artists through the span of culture as there have been athletes who have had issues with drugs, violence, and greed underlying their creative endeavors. Many have been forgiven or overlooked because they stood for peace and love, if not for touchdowns. I ask then, with whom do we draw the line…? Be well. rc

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Please check back in a few weeks to see what happens when I hit the STOP button on the blender in my head.  Oh, and there is this from The Allmans.  Enjoy…

8 responses

  1. There might be less drama in watching women’s sports teams. From what I understand, women soccer players don’t need to take acting lessons or lesson in how to drop down to the ground, writhing in pain, while clutching one’s leg. They play for the love of the sport, not because they are earning millions to play and prance around in endorsement advertisements.

    • I so desperately want to say thank you Kristen, but alas, I will call you Kirsten as you prefer 😉

      Next to The Masters, my favorite sporting event is the world series of women’s fast pitch softball. It’s a great sporting event, though I’ll suggest not without some transgressions on the part of players, coaches, and admins.

      Thanks for taking the time…

  2. This is a fact: I cry when babies are born and when athletes make the big play. Not sure what that says about my character, but again, it’s simply a fact. Thanks for sharing your perspective. It was a great read!

    • Agreed Heidi. An excerpt from a previous essay a few years back:

      “Alfred Williams was a standout defensive end at The University Of Colorado. He would eventually play professionally for The Denver Broncos. During one particular season in the late 90’s, Williams played at his usual high level, but well into the season he had failed to have a single quarterback sack – which was kind of in his job description. It might have been 12 or 13 games into the season when Williams got his first sack – also causing a fumble. Williams recovered the fumble himself, took it down field as fast as a 300-pound man could, and from two yards out of the end zone, he leaped into the air, stretched his body out, and extended the ball over the goal line for a touchdown.

      Here’s the punch-line: There was not a single player from the opposing team anywhere near him. He could have moon-walked into the end zone stopping to pull weeds along the way, but he leaped – an expression of joy, and an act of beauty. There he was, mid-air… this man who would have played that game on a field of broken glass and carpet tacks, for a dollar, doing what he most loved to do, for the fans who came to see him do it.

      So as the friends I watched the game with screamed, stood up, and pushed their beer mugs into one another, I just sat back in my chair, swallowed hard, and tried not to show my tears – beauty in the smile of a man and his love of the game.”

      There is most definitely a good side to all of this 🙂

  3. I often flash back to our road trip conversations. Some of them led to our love sports,and somethings we equally dislike. For many of us Fans sports is our outlet,a nice distraction out of our hectic lives. So when we here of the Salary disputes, Ray Rice situations,Substance abuse,performance enhancements violations. Non of those compare to what Adrian Peterson did. How sad it happened to him as a child,and for him to discipline his own that way. To be in the public eye as an entertaining athlete. You best mind your P’s and Q’s. And no matter who you are never abuse a child.
    I grew up with a strict disciplinarian military father,3 strikes rule ending with an ass whooping. The day I learned to love greater was when I became a Dad, I broke the cycle to never lay a hand on our children the way I was struck. In fact Susan and I never hit our kids. Time outs sure,took things away,followed through with what we said we’d do. Backed each other up,of course. Hey Adrian Peterson gets some help between the ears,break the cycle,go through whatever 12 step program. Tough Love Your Children without beating them. They’ll have the mental scars for life like you have in your DNA.

  4. I’m not fond of many major league sports for many reasons and football is my least favorite. But football didn’t cause Adrian Peterson to abuse his child or Ray Rice to beat his now wife. Those are choices they made and they should know better. Hopefully, bringing these things into the light of day will get these guys to recognize they have problems and they need to find help. I don’t know if suspending them from playing will do anything. It makes the league look good, maybe, but what will it do to prevent further abuse in these families? Will they be asked to get into a treament program and demonstrate that they are trying to change before they are allowed to play again? I don’t think so, but it would be nice if it happened that way.

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