Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Another Brick in the Wall

24 years old. Father to a little baby girl. Dead of a gunshot wound that happened during a home invasion. Or so they say.

Joe Kennedy, 28 years old, also a father to a young child, dead of supposedly an enlarged heart.

Screw the world of sports for turning me into a cynic: first thing I thought of when I heard SeanTaylor had been shot and then passed away? His somewhat checkered past had come back to bite him in the end.

When I read of Kennedy's death, I'm sad to admit, the FIRST thing that crossed my mind was this: steroids.

I have no reason to believe that either one of these men died of anything other than what is being reported, and I feel like a first class dink for thinking otherwise. But when you've been reading and listening to the stuff that has happened over the past few years, it's really hard NOT to be a cynical S.O.B.

Barry Bonds, the all time Home Run king, has been indicted for perjury for reportedly lying about using steroids and HGH.

Chris Benoit, a professional wrestler, kills his wife, then his son, and finally, himself.

Rafiel Palmiero lies to congress, Jason Grimsley is apparently MLB's equivalent to Scarface, and Sen. George Mitchell has a report that is going to rock the baseball world. And those are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to scandals and the world of sports.

Growing up, I don't remember all this nonsense going on in professional sports. Athletes were heroes, and as such, deserved to be looked up to. At this rate, by the time Rakes and Trot are old enough to understand reality, I'm going to have to institute a ban on anything involving a ball and let them watch CNN and FOX News because the world of sports has turned into a cesspool.

Before you think I'm some naive yahoo, I realize the Mick was an alcoholic womanizer, L.T. was a coke head, and O.J. Simpson was a tad more evil than his Hertz commercials and The Naked Gun movies implied. It's just we didn't KNOW it: before the advent of 24 hour networks, sports talk radio, and the Internets, all this stuff just never got out.

I'm not mad and I'm not bitter that we find all this stuff out 1.3 seconds after it happens these days: I love the fact we can get news and get it quick, and I'm a rabid listener of XM radio and ESPN. Anger is not the emotion that I feel when I hear a story like the one involving Sean Taylor.

It's sadness I feel: sad that a father lost his life at such a young age, and sad that the culture of violence and lack of respect for human life has ingratiated it's way into our society in such a way that this sort of thing doesn't shock us anymore.

Sadness for my two boys: that they will never get to see sports as a special, magical thing. For them, the world of sports will be just another facet of life, with no demarcation line between fiction and reality.

Isn't that what sports is supposed to be? A diversion from our daily life, a welcome break from reality, where we can forget about all the pain and suffering in the world, forget about the bills and the mortgage and just enjoy a game of baseball for what it is? A child's game, played by grown men getting paid a king's ransom.

Thankfully, there are still people like David Ortiz, Tim Wakefield, and Mike Lowell I can point out to my kids as people to look up to and admire.

In the back of my mind though, I wonder: what if one of them was exposed as being a phony? What if they were like all the one's we read about and it has all been just a front? Frankly, the thought of that happening makes me sick to my stomach.

Growing older and wiser has it's good points.

But sometimes it just flat out sucks.


Tex said...

Ted. Sport players are human too. Many are born into money or life is easy and they take it for granted and don't appreciate it...then end up screwing up. Some take the good luck they've been given and make their destiny. So it is with sports...they are just human...real people who make bad choices sometimes.

what I think is sad is the fact kids are growing up without both parents. What I think is sport players are stupid when they are given such an opportunity and blow it. What I think is we put way too much worth in sports figures. I know you're just venting and I get it. But I think we need to make sure our kids know that sport figures are not the heros to look up to because they make mistakes too.

Ted D said...

Tex, my greatest hope is my children see myself and Angie as a hero. However, I'm not naive enough to think they won't look elsewhere, like I did. Now, I see the fact my Dad was a REAL hero. At 12, no way. And it makes me sad there are fewer and fewer athletes who I would be proud my boys would look up to.

You're right: I'm venting. I'm also wishing for a simpler time that just isn't coming.

And that is what makes me sad: you and I had the good fortune of seeing these larger that life people and not having to deal with the real life baggage my kids will have to deal with. And that makes me a little sad.

Tex said...

the greed of money, the lure of flash, the seeking of validation by the wrong means, having priorities out of order, putting the wrong things first in our lives, (i could go on) are the things that cause all humans to fail at no matter what field they are playing on: the diamond, endzone, or life.

it's a vicious circle because society wants the sports for entertainment which causes the demand for great players which causes players to be tempted to do things to get better then be paid ridiculous salaries which causes them to make stupid choices cos they can't handle that kind of money and lifestyle which in turn causes society to judge them cos of their choices not their sporting ability...and the beat goes on

Ted D said...

Well put, Tex. It just makes me sad that a level of innocence seems to be lost forever now.

Edge of Design said...

On the other hand, there's a lot of good taking place in sports too. We just don't hear about it because it's not selling news. I wish I could tell you the time and days but sometimes I watch a program that highlights some of the coaches and their real lives and influences. There are some awesome role models that because of their faith, don't get much recognition from the media. I'll see if I can catch it again and let you know the details.

Tex said...

\\There are some awesome role models that because of their faith,//

that unfortunately doesnt sell newspapers and magazines

Ted D said...

Denise, I whole heartedly agree with you. I also agree with Tex: those guys don't sell papers and they don't move ratings.

Tim Wakefield has been a pillar in the Boston community since he's been there with all sorts of charitable work. Sadly, you don't hear about those type of things enough.

scott h said...

Read Jason Whitlock's article on fox sports.

This story and the fact that Andy Reid should have asked for a leave of absence to deal with his boys makes sports not real important right now.

Ted D said...

Bub, I forgot about Andy Reid's kids. What a sad mess that is.

scott h said...

I thought we might get some live updates from Matt "I need a vacation" Dalton.

Ted D said...

He called me tonight: apparently, he is thinking of giving it all up to run the "Pirates of the Caribean" ride for all the cotton candy he can eat.