It's time to take a step back from the recent problems facing sports and look at our society in general: Americans use drugs of all kinds. Americans drink, many to access, some to maintain, others minimally to socialize. A surprisingly high percentage of American men - mostly whites, blacks, and Latinos - physically abuse their women, not to mention verbally abuse them. Many Americans are still racially prejudice.
So why are we shocked when our sports stars succumb to the same failures as the general population of the country?
Because they, like movie stars, are our nation's heroes? Is that a good enough reason?
Professional sports teams have a responsibility to clean up their organizations, (No tolerance? You bet!) but so do NBC, Exxon, Walmart, the neighborhood plumbing company, high schools, colleges, YMCA's, grocery store chains, the military, the United States Congress, and all churches.
The egregious acts of abuse and prejudice of some of our pro athletes, administrators, and owners only point to a national ethical and moral failure. We better get with it, folks. This is a wake-up call.
We can't sleep through another generation of children. With the very first breath of air, children should learn:
Men do NOT physically ABUSE women.
Drugs and booze are CRAP.
Racial prejudice is EVIL.
How sad writing this blog left me. Sportsmen should be better than this, a cut above. There in lies the rub. We're not. Charles Barkley had it right when he said (I'm paraphrasing), he didn't ask to be any one's moral compass. So that just leaves the sport, the act of playing, how we athletes are purified by the noble acts of our bodies.
It doesn't get more pure than running. Here's a poem about the simple physical pleasure of a boy running the bases.
By Richard Wilbur
(North Caldwell, New Jersey)
What were we playing? Was it prisoner's base?
I ran with whacking keds
Down the cart-road past Rickard's place,
And where it dropped beside the tractor-sheds
Leapt out into the air above a blurred
Terrain, through jolted light,
Took two hard lopes and at the third
Spanked off a hummock-side exactly right,
And made the turn, and with delighted strain
Sprinted across the flat
By the bull-pen, and up the lane.
Thinking of happiness, I think of that.
What my musings are all about...
Blogging might well be the 21st century's form of journaling. As a writing teacher, I have always advised my students to keep a daily journal as a way of organizing their thoughts for future writing projects, a discipline I have unfortunately never consistently practiced myself. By blogging, I might finally be able to follow my own good advice.
The difference between journaling and blogging is that the blogger opens his or her writing to the public, something journal- writers are usually reluctant to do. I am not so reticent.
The trick for me will be to avoid cluttering the internet with more blather, something none of us need more of. If I stick to subjects I know: sports and literature, I believe I can avoid that pitfall. I can't promise that I'll not stray from time to time to comment on ancillary subjects, but I will make every attempt to be interesting and perhaps even insightful.