It's nearly February, so of course I'm ready for 2014.
In less than a month we've learned all about fake (and dead) girlfriends; deer antler steroids; how Lance Armstrong lied about lying and that a bat can't coexist peacefully with basketball players.
And that's what I can think of just off the top of my head. Oy.
I love sports. It's a huge part of my life. Once I figured out I wouldn't be able to play them for a living, I wanted to cover it. Yet ... this stuff just drives me crazy.
I'd like to think I'm an old soul, maybe a little old school – but perhaps I'm just a young curmudgeon.
- I have no interest in the private lives of athletes. I don't care, never did. Now, the people in a player's private life make it hard – like when wives/girlfriends/siblings decide to tweet out their issues – but it's still a non-story in my eyes. It is in a lot of my colleagues, too, but in the end we're not the sole judge and jury on that one.
- About performance enhancers. This is a tricky one for me. I used to be a hard-liner – you cheat, you deserve to be exposed, shunned and kicked out of the profession. After all, if I plagiarize or make up facts and quotes, I'd be exposed, shunned and fired.
But, I also realize that sports are entertainment and let's be honest – we were all entertained by the home runs in baseball in the late 90s. People who like cycling (hello?) were entertained by Armstrong. And, we all love the NFL (no, it's not natural for men of that size to run that fast). I said I wouldn't have voted for Barry Bonds and Sammy Sosa on this most recent Hall of Fame ballot, but I'd vote for them the next time around. It's part of the game, unfortunately and deserves to be documented.
Once the PED cat was let out of the bag 30, maybe 40 years ago, it was out. Now, it's a case where ignorance is bliss - as a fan, you just have to hope "your guy" is clean. It's a source of pride (see Frank Thomas and Chicago).
As a reporter, it's black and white. Performance enhancers are often illegal in the eyes of the law, and definitely illegal by the rules of the game. The game is what we cover, so it's my job to keep my eyes and ears open. Yet these rules may change over the next few decades – who knows, HGH and the like might be deemed legal.
- Well, I don't have problems with animals running loose in sports venues. They tend to be amusing and turn into mascots – like the Rally Monkey – and twitter handles.
I'm a fan – and the more the merrier.
And fortunately most don't end up dead. That's just sad.
I can't believe that anyone cared about the Manti Te'O thing. Such a waste of time.
Thank you Young Curmudgeon. It's hard to believe that anyone would care about some kid with an imaginary girlfriend....the more that comes out...the stranger it gets. With all the crappy "reality" shows...(how can they be reality shows when you know someone is following you around with a video camera?) it seems people seeking attention are everywhere...and why?....because some people (with low self-esteem) love this garbage. Just like the people who have to know what the Royal Family is doing every minute of the day....who cares?...not me. signed, Grouchy Old Guy. :)
Sure, we who like cycling (hello!) were entertained by Armstrong, Ullrich, Basso, etc. for 7 years...and now every story for the last 14 always comes back to doping, doping, doping. I'd rather be mildly less entertained knowing I can enjoy a race without having to think, "I wonder how long I can enjoy this victory before the illusion comes crashing down and we find out that this wasn't super human strength, it was drugs."
Sure, we enjoyed the home runs of the 90s while they were happening, but do you look back fondly on those memories? Or do they feel hollow? We could try de-emphasizing the scandal and make cheating into something that's not such a big deal, but then the cost of winning increases, both financially and physically.
You say the difference between you getting fired for plagiarism and them is entertainment. What is sports writing, if not entertainment?
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