Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Sports Hypocrite

As much as I hate to admit it, I am a sports hypocrite.  “What exactly is a ‘sports hypocrite’?” you may be asking yourself.  Well let me take a few moments to explain.  Sports fans are passionate beyond comprehension.  We often refer to the teams we cheer for as “our” or “my” team.  I can’t count how many times I’ve uttered the word “we” when discussing one of the teams I root for.  The problem with that is that we will blindly defend our teams or favorite players despite their shortcomings.  Conversely, we blast and attack other teams and players we do not like despite the fact that they have the same shortcomings as our favorites.  Thus, we have discovered the “Sports Hypocrite”.  Got it?  Good.  Let’s move on.

I’m sure you are wondering what could have sparked this revelation in my mind.  Read my last blog regarding Tim Tebow and you will understand.  I continually get frustrated to the point of infuriation while listening to the many sports Podcasts or ESPN shows I frequently watch.  The constant bashing of Tebow’s play and incessant “he can’t play” comments drive me insane.  As I was attempting to ignore the latest blasting, it occurred to me, I have refused to cheer for, acknowledge or accept many sports figures throughout time for no reason at all.  To me, the Tebow bashing comes from nowhere and he has not been given a chance to show if he can play at the NFL level or not.  At the same time, I never gave Kobe Bryant a chance in his professional career and have been bashing him since he declared for the NBA draft many years ago.  He rubbed me the wrong way at his press conference and I never gave his game a chance.  When he was accused of sexual assault in Eagle, Colorado, I jumped on it like a shark smelling blood.  Not only could I disrespect his on court game, I had ammunition for off the court indiscretions.

What’s the point of all this?  Well I am tired of it all.  I am tired of negative sports journalism and reporting.  I’m tired of judging these players who have one simple job in my mind, to entertain me by excelling at the highest level of their sport.  Why can’t we focus on the positive in the sports world?  Why must everything become overanalyzed and players ripped down day after day?  It would be nice to turn on ESPN and just for an hour, not hear how terrible someone is on or off the field.  It would be such a great change of pace to hear what a player did right on the court or field.  It would be great to not hear about some off the field issue that is likely not any business of the world.  Let’s admit it, we have to be getting a little tired of the sensationalistic reporting.  We didn’t hear about Michael Jordan’s gambling and womanizing until after his career was over.  He’s still one of the most beloved figures to ever play a game.  Why is that?  It’s because our opinions were already completed at that point.  We didn’t care, nor want to hear the negative stories.  We wanted to hear about his 63 point playoff performance against Boston.  We wanted to hear about his last second heroics or 6 NBA titles.  The other stuff would just cloud our opinions.  The stories come out and we immediately defend our sports idol by saying the story is from some vindictive person and no longer relevant.  We revert back to the days when we didn’t know about things like this and just cared about their sports accomplishments.  Why can’t we go back to that?

I simply want the fun and joy of sports to return.  I’m tired of negativity in sports.  I want us to enjoy the game and not care what our professional athletes do away from it.  If the athlete is arrested for murder or some other felony, then I understand the reporting.  If he’s been caught cheating on his wife, then leave it to him and his family to handle.  Tiger Woods may be an adulterer, but who are we to judge him?  He’s a grown man making his own choices.  Why should that affect how we enjoy watching him golf?

I guess this leads me to an ugly place, but one I must go to.  To Kobe Bryant, I apologize for referring to you as “Rapist” for the last 10 years.  I will not be a fan of yours, nor the LA Lakers, but I will at least admit that I have enjoyed watching you play.  I hate admitting that, but the truth is that I cheered for you to fail and reveled in the times you did.  I was so angry when I saw people so joyful when LeBron James and the Heat did not win the NBA title this year.  I didn’t want to admit it, but that moment is when I started thinking about sports hypocrisy.  How can I be mad at those doing the same thing I was?

Why must sports be so confusing yet we love it so much?  I love sports and will try to stick with positivity going forward.  Hopefully the sports hypocrite in us all starts to disappear…


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  2. Wait a minute... you're giving up on a decade of Kobe hatred over a few months of Tebow hatred!? I'm in shock!

    Okay, you had a more serious point to make, but I couldn't resist. The problem I see with this premise is that it's based on logic & reason -- I will have none of it! Sports fandom is another kind of love, a kind of faith, and therefore logic and reason need not apply.

    Take for example how I, as a Cubs fan, handle the success and class of the St. Louis Cardinals organization. Instead of admitting any positives, I instead focus on stories like Tony LaRussa falling asleep drunk behind the wheel at a red light during sprint training one year. I don't care if the Cubs get Pujols, but do hope he leaves the Cardinals. I think it'd be hilarious for the face of their organization to take a symbolic dump right on top of the Arch before skipping town.

    This is all laughably ridiculous, but I don't care. Hating them is part of the fun of being a Cubs fan. I'm sure vice-versa is true, too.

    I'll willingly admit that some of the vitriol out there goes too far, but give up on ALL of it? Pfft... what's the fun in that!? You have to take the good with the bad. Although, as a Cubs fan, I often don't know which is which.