Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Late Jere Wears The Late Crown: The 9/12 Rant

It's been a trend lately to act like the sports world doesn't matter as much as "real life." Talk show hosts and other sports media will refer to sports as "the toy department," as not to give the impression to listeners, viewers and readers that all these teams and players we incessantly scrutinize mean more than, say, earthquakes and terrorist attacks.

I'm not saying that sports are more important than life itself, but without entertainment, what kind of lives would we all be living? Why not call "the arts" or even education the "toy department"? These are all just things we humans do and pay attention to every day. That's what life is. It's what we do. Should we stop "doing stuff" because someone else ceases to be able to, or can now only do it with one arm, or without a roof over their head?

On the fifth anniversary of 9/11 this kind of talk came up a lot, as could be expected. And all I could think of is how all those people that died, no less tragically than the people--American troops and Iraqi civilians--being killed daily in the middle east by the way, enjoyed all these "distractions" every day of their lives. Aren't we disrespecting them by diminishing all the things they loved to do while they were here?

With me it comes down to the fact that we should care about our fellow creatures all the time. Not on a specific time and day when we're told to. It's kind of like how we should be charitable always, not just after a disaster, or when the guy is ringing the bell outside the supermarket.

This doesn't mean I don't think we should mark anniversaries, or that specific events should be ignored. Each tragedy, natural or otherwise, should be remembered and learned from. It also doesn't mean that I constantly go around helping old ladies cross the street and shelling out c-notes to homeless people. I'm sitting here writing on the internet when I could easily go outside, grab the first homeless guy I see, and say, "Come on in, Chan and I aren't using this Aerobed tonight."

But this "toy department" thing pisses me off. It's ridiculous for a person whose livelihood depends on the sports world to brush off sports like they don't matter. Aside from the fact that there are things to be learned from sports, or any other type of entertainment, these people would have no job if it weren't for sports and other people who enjoy sports. Their babies would starve without sports. So how are sports not important?

They feel the need to apologize for what they do. I think we know going in that just because you're some type of sports host or writer, it doesn't mean you don't care about the world around you. Look at all these blogs, for example. I've learned so many non-sports-related things about people from their sports blogs.

If you really don't care about anyone but yourself, if you saw planes crashing into buildings on TV and just kept flipping around, hoping to come across an old college basketball game on ESPN Classic, if you go ten blocks out of your way every day to throw rocks at pigeons, then by all means, apologize for being so heartless. But if your only crime is "doin' stuff"--sports, stamp collecting, whatever--you've got nothing to worry about. It's okay to live your life. People whose lives have been cut short would've loved to have that chance.

Wow, Jere....that's all I can say. It's just a 'WOW'. A truly great piece. Have a good day.
The Sports World is, very-much a part of the Real World:

It is a cog in that world, as is Joy & Sorrow, which meld into it.
Well said, well written, well done Jere.
Me too, me too. Great stuff.
then there's John Updike: Baseball is a metaphor for life. Course his essay on the topic ran a little longer than that.

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Location: Rhode Island, United States