The Dilution of Sport

D.J. Byrnes's picture
April 23, 2013 at 1:28p

In a week that saw the bombing of the Boston Marathon.. its subsequent manhunt that put Boston under martial law... a dilapidated fertilizer plant blowing up in West, Texas that killed at least 35 people... an earthquake in China that caused 200 deaths and over 8,000 injuries... a bomb in a popular Baghdad coffee shop that killed at least 27 people... a quadruple murder in Akron that still lacks motive or suspect... the continued American use of extrajudicial international killings via flying kill-machines...  and a plane crash that killed an Air Force Major General... I have found my palette for sports entertainment suddenly lacking.

Granted, this is a trajectory I have been as my body rots with increasing age, but last week was kind of a smack in the face for Americans who do a rather remarkable job insulating themselves from world news and the plight of their fellow human beings. (LOL if you think I don't include myself in that last sentence.)

This is why I have come to detest the camera-whoring antics of the likes of Buck-I-Guy or whatever ridiculous moniker some grown-ass man has taken before caking himself in levels of makeup that would make a prostitute blush and heading down to the Horseshoe. Have people like that ever removed themselves from the bubble of adolescence required to make their behavior acceptable?

How privileged and unbecoming am I, the guy who feels real emotions over a team of millionaire strangers kicking or passing a ball about a field? What the hell would I be able to say to somebody who lost their legs in the bombing of the Boston Marathon? Or worse yet, somebody who lost their legs in the woebegone effort in Afghanistan?

Somebody will read this, hop off their leather recliner, (spilling the latest powder-infused Frito Lay chip all over their grease-stained sports shirt), and guffaw something like, "BUT THIS IS WHAT THE TERRORISTS WANT, TO TAKE MY FREEDOM AWAY!!!11" In this scenario, I'd point out that ONE nineteen year-old stoner on the lamb was able to put a major American city under martial law, but I feel my point would be lost on my astute, fictionalized, chip-mongering critic.

I don't understand the notion of "healing through sport," as if my running a marathon is supposed to bring back the dead or ease the daily horrors that plague this world. To me, continuing to find the same utility in sports would be akin to sticking my head in a vat of sand. There is nothing special about sports, it's just another pointless activity used by humans to kill time as we hurdle through space on a galactic pebble. Sports has the same healing power as knitting or conventional baking.

Will I continue to watch and try to enjoy sports? Yes, because like all human beings, I am a creature bequeathed of deep flaws rooted in hypocrisy. I don't know any other way.

But I doubt it will ever be like it used to be, and perhaps that's a good thing.

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