Friday, July 9, 2010

Good Sports?

Since I’m not a sports nut, it’s easy for me to forget about how important the rest of my fellow humans consider athletics to be.

And not just Americans. With the World Cup taking place these past few weeks in South Africa, Germany estimated that their economy could forfeit up to $8 billion - yes, with a "B" - in lost productivity as workers watched televised coverage of the matches. Vuvuzelas became the hot new international sensation we all hope doesn’t catch on here in North America. Even insular North Korea sent a team to South Africa, along with lackeys actually paid to cheer them on.

  • "The towels were so thick there I could hardly close my suitcase." - all quotes today by Yogi Berra

In the United States this past week, sports has held the top headlines, from LeBron James humiliating his own hometown on national TV to an over-eager fan plunging 30 feet over a railing at our ballpark here in Arlington. Mark Davis, a talk radio host, also blasted Texas Rangers baseball star Michael Young for saying he is embarrassed over the illegal immigration law in Arizona. Oh yeah – and Tiger Woods’ divorce papers were signed this week, giving jilted wife Elin a reputed $75 million from his rapidly-dwindling portfolio.

  • "If you don't know where you are going, you will wind up somewhere else."

Part of the intrigue within the wide world of sports is the fact that there are winners and losers. It remains to be seen if “King” James will still be a winner in Florida. True, he apparently decided playing with his friends was worth more than the $30 million he left on the table in Cleveland, and maybe in today's warped "sports is a business" mentality that makes him some sort of hero. However, he burned all his bridges in spectacular fashion by the childish and unsportsmanlike way he announced his defection from Ohio. Nobody faults him for wanting to join another team, but to intentionally dis your homies on live television after all their pleading for you to stay? Dat ain't right, bro.

As it turned out, Michael Young unwittingly appeased the blustering Davis by not being voted an All-Star, but why can't a baseball player hold an opinion that may not be embraced by his hometown fans? Young's employer, the Texas Rangers, didn't seem to have a problem with it.

And the only people winning in the miserable Woods fiasco are the lawyers. Tiger and Elin's kids are the biggest losers, mostly because they have big losers as parents too narcissistic to resolve their problems and pursue reconciliation for the good of their family. While most people have taken Elin's side in this spectacle for obvious reasons, they forget that Elin could take the high road: not the high road out of their marriage, but the high road of "better or worse" that comes with most wedding vows.

  • "If the world were perfect, it wouldn't be."
  • "We made too many wrong mistakes."
  • "Shut up and talk."

On the flip side, perhaps the biggest winner this week has been Tyler Morris, the guy who shocked the entire ballpark here Tuesday – both players and fans – with his gut-wrenching fall over the second-tier railing. Although he landed on his head, Morris emerged from the hospital yesterday, smiling, walking, waving, and expected to make a complete recovery. He even made a point of telling a reporter that what happened was “an accident,” which must mean he has no plans for suing the Texas Rangers or the City of Arlington because of faulty railings at the stadium (they're already higher than building codes specify).

Wow – somebody who takes responsibility for his actions! Not that Morris could be faulted too much for getting so focused on the game that he didn’t maintain his balance. I imagine Major League Baseball would like to have more fans who love the game so much. Just as long as they sit a couple of rows back from the railings.

Trying to sum up this week of sports news, I researched some of the famous quotes from New York Yankees great Yogi Berra. However – and I’m sure you can understand this - I couldn’t possibly choose just one. Of all the opinionated people who have been immortalized by their words, Berra probably remains one of the most unique, sincere, and even eloquent.

Here now, for your laughing pleasure, are more inimitable gems from Yogi Berra:

  • "You can observe a lot just by watching."
  • "If you don't set goals, you can't regret not reaching them."
  • "The only reason I need these gloves is 'cause of my hands."
  • "I knew I was going to take the wrong train, so I left early."
  • "Why buy good luggage? You only use it when you travel."
  • "We're lost, but we're making great time!"

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