Monday, July 12, 2010

Less LeBron, More Brains

"If all the year were playing holidays; To sport would be as tedious as to work." ~ William Shakespeare

Am I the only person in America that hasn't gone apoplectic about basketball player Lebron James' defection to Miami?

You fools, You pay your money, and I still play anywhere I want.

What is the big deal? Even if he is the greatest basketball player in history, which is highly doubtful anyway, he is, after all, only a man. And Basketball is only a game.

And, professional basketball, if you've seen any games in the last 20 years or so, has come to resemble not so much a game, as a rumble between the Crips and the Bloods.

A basketball team consists of five players playing together. If the rest of the team is ineffective, James would not be able to win any games singlehandedly.

So, I ask again: What's the big deal?

Lebron James playing for my favorite team (If I had a favorite basketball team) would not put any money in my pocket. In fact, no player from any sport is going to personally make me richer or smarter, or a better or worse person in any way.

I have no dog in this hunt. So, why should I care?

I am a sports fan but I think sports fans in America need to put things in their proper perspective.

This, by the way, is pretty good advice, if I do say so myself. I came to this realization many years ago on my own, and it's made me a saner, calmer, relaxed, less stressed man.

Before you get all excited about any professional sports team or player, consider this sage advice:

1. It is a sport. Recreation. A game. Whether it's basketball, football, baseball, soccer, Nascar, whatever. Sports are not a life or death priority. They are merely a diversion that offers some respite from the rat race.

A good book can do the same. Better, really. A good book can make a positive difference in your intellect, as well.

2. Professional athletes are paid quite handsomely, many obscenely, to play a game. They have no loyalty to the city or region where they play. They play for money.

Even if they play for the love of the game first and the money is not an important priority to them, if they've even come to love the city their team represents, it makes absolutely no difference.

If some other team offered them more money, they would be out and gone before you can say, "Rah, Rah."

Now, I have no problem with Lebron James or any other professional athlete making as much money as their teams want to pay. It is a capitalist system, and I am all in favor of the people being allowed to float their fiduciary boats wherever they want, as long as it's legal. If people want to foolishly pay exorbitant prices for an hour or two of entertainment, I say, "Go For it. Have fun".

I watch the games on TV for next to nothing, get better (and multiple) views of the action, and can walk into the kitchen for a free sandwich without missing anything important. After all, if it's very important or exciting, they will replay it ad nauseum.

3. Every year, the team that wins the league or world championship has to go right back out there and try to win it again the following year. The thrill of winning the championship is fleeting at best.

I was born in Kansas City, MO, and raised in Wichita, KS, less than 200 miles from KC. I like the Kansas City Chiefs. I like the Kansas City Royals. I even like the Kansas City Wizards. Do I want to see them win? Yes.

Do I get angry, depressed, distressed, or suicidal if they don't?


For those of you who aren't sports fans, these Kansas City sports teams are not perennial winners. They are, in fact, perennial losers.

But, nevertheless, I watch the games. I enjoy the games. Usually. If they are fairly well played, I enjoy them. Whether they win or lose. If they win, I am reasonably happy for them, although nothing approaching euphoria.

If they lose, I shrug my shoulders and say to myself, "Oh well, the better team won this time". Then, I go on about my business.

They are not my teams. They don't even belong to the city. The players are not native born Kansas Citians. Why should they care where they play or for whom?

They shouldn't. And I don't care, either.

Just watch the games. Enjoy them. Appreciate their athleticism and their talent.

But keep them in their proper perspective.


Lone Ranger said...

There is a lesson here for the politicians. After taxes, he will probably take home more in Florida than he did in Ohio. Wealthy people all over the country are fleeing high-tax states and cities.

Mark said...

More power to him. Hope he spends his money wisely.

Krystal said...

LOVE #2!!!

Trader Rick said...

yOU'RE NOT A FAN, ok WE GET IT. It's like we jeepers say"It's a Jeep thing, you wouldn't understand!"

It IS a life and death thing.

It IS a BIG,BIG DEAL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Trader Rick said...

yOU'RE NOT A FAN, ok WE GET IT. It's like we jeepers say"It's a Jeep thing, you wouldn't understand!"

It IS a life and death thing.

It IS a BIG,BIG DEAL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Mark said...

I am a fan, Rick. Of sports. Especially football. I used to play football and I was pretty good. I can remember getting so frustrated with my Kansas City Chiefs, that I nearly kicked my television screen out because they made bonehead plays. Like running through the middle on 3rd and 20. Or throwing a short pass well short of the first down marker, and expecting a mediocre receiver to make up the distance.

Then I realized, I was giving myself headaches getting so worked up over a bunch of millionaires who only play for "my" team because they are paid to, and if someone offered them more, they be out of town in a heartbeat. They don't care, so why should I?

I still watch the games. I get withdrawal symptoms between football seasons. I like baseball, but would much rather go to the games instead of watching them on TV. Watching baseball and golf on TV is like watching paint dry.

I enjoy the games even if my team loses. I can appreciate the athleticism without losing my mind because my team is losing.

What if the Gators got embroiled in a 20-30 game losing streak? You'd have anxiety attacks. MY Chiefs and Royals are losing teams, but, because I have things in perspective, I can still enjoy watching the games, win or lose.

Sports just aren't worth the headaches. There are much more important things to worry about.

Trader Rick said...

"What if the Gators got embroiled in a 20-30 game losing streak? You'd have anxiety attacks."

Having followed Florida Football for over 45 years, I've endured the hard times--They just make the good times sweeter. I had no anxiety attacks. Yes, there are many things more important than football--Family, country, politics, religion, economy, hurricanes, parrothead music, etc.etc. But football is a hobby, and something you can be passionate about. Is it important? No. Is it fun to be passionate and fanatic about ? Yes.

"MY Chiefs and Royals are losing teams, but, because I have things in perspective, I can still enjoy watching the games, win or lose."

And that statement proves that you are not a FANatic, Mark. Fans don't have things in perspective. Fans don't "enjoy" losing.

Around here, we bleed Orange and Blue.

Go Gatuh!!!!

Mark said...

Joe Girardi is an idiot. He had the best closer in baseball on his roster, and didn't bring him in when the National League was threatening. Instead, he brought in a couple of pitchers no one has ever heard of, who promptly gave up three runs.

The American League deserved to lose that game with that horrible management.

Fredd said...


Why no mention of your beloved Kansas City/Omaha Kings of old, Tiny Archibald and the gang?

I, too, used to watch the NBA, and played the game with enthusiasm. I recall when you could not put your hand anywhere close to halfway past the 'equator' of the ball and if you did, you got whistled for palming the ball.

Not anymore. With Tim Richmond's infamous 'moves,' (who played for the Sacramento Kings, Mark's old KC/Omaha club redeaux), palming the ball became OK, and accordingly everybody could make fantastic moves while carrying the ball.

If I were a ref in the NBA, I would be calling turnovers left and right on this phony ball handling.

I no longer call the NBA 'basketball.' To me, it is now 'thug ball.' It is now OK to choke your coach, and use it as a vehicle to change teams and get a better contract; perfectly OK negotiation tactic in thug ball these days.

I don't watch it anymore. And for the record, LeBron is not the best player ever. Wilt Chamberlain will always hold that distinction.

Mark said...

Are you talking about Mitch Richmond, Fredd? If you are, I didn't remember him ever playing for the Kings. I know he played for Kansas State. I still like college basketball, BTW. Especially my alma mater, Wichita State.

Chamberlain (He played at Kansas U. BTW)was absolutely at least in the top 5, but I think Pistol Pete Maravich was the best ever.

Jim O said...

While I take pleasure in the death of no man, at least the passage into the next life of convicted felon George Steinbrener knocked this overplayed story (yes, I'm the master of understatement)off the sports pages. For that alone, The Boss deserves forgiveness for his many sins.

Mark said...

Call me stupid, Jim, but I had never heard Steinbrenner was a felon. What did he do?

Jim O said...

He was convicted of a felony for illegal campaign contributions to Nixon, and illegal attempts to cover then up.

Actually, if that were the worst thing he ever did, I wouldn't despise him as much as I do, since, as a rule, I don't like campaign finance laws. What he did to avoid being charged for the dispicable Dave Winfield incident really is the worst of his many acts of wanton cruelty (that I know of).

Phil Mushnick is the only New York sports reporter who seems to remember what he was really like. He summarizes the stories well. Everyone else in this town is writing as if Gandhi, Rosa Parks and Joan of Arc were just killed in a common accident.

Reagan pardoned him, the worst decision of his presidency. Nobody's perfect!