Tuesday, November 27, 2007
Sports just not worth it anymore
I would never have thought there would come a day when I would feel this way, but I am completely fed up with big-time professional and college sports.
It's odd to hear myself saying that. For 16 years, I made my living as a sports reporter in seven different states, covering some of the biggest sporting events in the world.
Super Bowl? Been there.
World Series? Done that.
Final Four? Twice, including the amazing Villanova-Georgetown game in 1985.
But other than a few Dodger games -- I still love going to the stadium -- I haven't watched a sporting event all the way through in close to 10 years. I don't think I've watched pro football on TV at all in five years.
There's just too much ... I can't think of any other way to say this ... shit going on along with the games. Steroids, mega-contracts, gambling, thuggish behavior on and off the field.
I feel like weeping for young kids growing up who really live and die with their favorite teams. How do you explain to a young kid that because he doesn't live in a large enough city, his favorite players won't stay? How do you explain to him that his favorite quarterback enjoys watching dogs fight to the death? Or that his home-run hero cheated, lied and took all sorts of drugs to do what he did?
My son isn't a sports fan. He loved playing sports, and we go to ballgames, but he doesn't follow any teams. He gets excited when the World Cup comes around -- he was born in France -- but that's about it.
That's why I didn't have to explain anything about Sean Taylor to him. (Of course, he's 22. I don't have to explain much to him) I don't know if Taylor was a random victim of crime or if his death had some connection to his own past. It doesn't really matter. It's tragic either way.
Heck, we grew up in a simpler time, cheering for Sonny Jurgensen and Charlie Taylor, for Frank Howard and the rest of the hapless Senators. Probably the happiest day of my life to that point was Dec. 31, 1972, when the Redskins beat Dallas to advance to their first Super Bowl.
Do kids still care that much? Do we even allow them to care that much?
I still read the sports pages. I still check for scores, and I still feel a twinge if my formerly favorite teams lose. But that's all it is. A twinge.
Mostly I get about as much enjoyment from sports now as I do following politics and business.
Which is to say, not much.