The lecture today is about athletic competition and what it means to be a real athlete.
This is occasioned by somebody I heard on the radio Thursday night. I was driving home from an event and made the mistake of tuning into WSSP, one of the sports talk stations in Milwaukee. I have no idea who the guy I was listening to was, but he sure sounded like an authority. Of course all sports talk radio guys sound like experts.
Here’s what this guy said: "The Bucks lost to the Indiana Pacers tonight by five points. The worst team in the league almost beat the best team in the league in their home arena. And I was scared. Really frightened. This is a team that is supposed to be tanking. I was really frightened that they would win."
Find the most outrageous dunce cap, put it on this guy and send him to sit in a corner until spring comes.
In all of my years of covering, talking and thinking sports, I have never heard such an idiotic statement.
You know what he’s talking about. If the Bucks end up with the worst record in the league they will most likely have the first pick in the draft. Whoever this idiot is obviously belongs to the wacko crew who think the Bucks should purposely lose games so they ensure they will get that pick.
It’s time someone took these crazies to task, and I am the guy to do it.
It’s obvious that none of these people has ever played competitive sports. They are probably those little guys who sit around in their basement with computers pretending to be play-by-play announcers.
Anyone who has ever played sports understands that the concept of losing on purpose is absolutely foreign to the ethic and joy of playing a game.
The greatest joy in sports comes from winning. The second greatest joy comes from trying hard to win. The third greatest joy comes from playing.
Not on that list, at all, is trying to lose.
If these people would stop and think clearly for just a moment (a task seemingly beyond them) they would realize how ridiculous they sound.
Let’s say, just for argument’s sake, that the Bucks decided to give in to this school of thought. How do they do it?
Do they tell the players to take it easy on the court? Miss shots on purpose? Commit turnovers? Kick rebounds out of bounds? Never make a free throw? Foul out of games in the first quarter?
Does John Hammond tell Larry Drew to start the five worst players? Does Drew signal to opponents what play the Bucks are going to run?
How about Hammond? Does he decide to hide his best players on the injured list? Does he suspend players for conduct detrimental to the team?
See how absurd this is?
There are no athletes who are going to put up with being told not to try. A big part of the reason they are athletes is they appreciate the skill and hard work that goes into being the best you can be. Go tell an athlete that you want to lose games so you can get a top draft pick and you are liable to get your head handed to you.
Anybody who thinks the Bucks should tank, including that radio imbecile, should be ashamed of themselves.
And I should be ashamed of myself for wasting even one second listening to this guy.
With a history in Milwaukee stretching back decades, Dave tries to bring a unique perspective to his writing, whether it's sports, politics, theater or any other issue.
He's seen Milwaukee grow, suffer pangs of growth, strive for success and has been involved in many efforts to both shape and re-shape the city. He's a happy man, now that he's quit playing golf, and enjoys music, his children and grandchildren and the myriad of sports in this state. He loves great food and hates bullies and people who think they are smarter than everyone else.
This whole Internet thing continues to baffle him, but he's willing to play the game as long as OnMilwaukee.com keeps lending him a helping hand. He is constantly amazed that just a few dedicated people can provide so much news and information to a hungry public.
Despite some opinions to the contrary, Dave likes most stuff. But he is a skeptic who constantly wonders about the world around him. So many questions, so few answers.