More thoughts around Cal Ripken and others

So I’ve been thinking about my post of yesterday. It revovles around a conversation my best friend and I have been having for over 20 years now. (and we’ve come no closer to solving it – so I am sharing it).
When we were kids, and I admit I grew up in the media reduced 60’s and 70’s so the glare and spotlight were not shined on the private lives (and off field activies) of athletes. We as kids imortalized the athletes we watched. Bart Starr, Walter Payton were names that to me represented both great people (which they both are) as well as great athletes (which they both were).
Charles Barkley once said he was not a role model, but Walter Payton, Bart Starr and many others were role models. Men who worked hard and played a game they loved for fans they loved.
They played for one team. They played for the fans of one city.
But now, athetes are less admired then they were. Part of it is glare of the spotlight (ESPN – 24 hours of sports) generated by a massive influx of media sources.
But I think part of it is that athlete’s have forgotten how lucky they are. I don’t care how great anyone is, any athlete is one knee injury away from being average. We all are – there are things that can happen that will in fact make all of us average.
Ultimately I miss the days when I could idolize an athlete without performing a complete background check. And there are many athletes today who would pass that test. The thing is, we never hear about that. We never hear about the giving, only the taking that is done. Where once our athletes were idolized, now they are more stylized.
As my best friend and I have discussed, when did we stop. The why we stopped is pretty clear – you see it in front of you ever day. It’s the what that bothers me. We once had heros.
I still love sports. The beauty of sports is watching the mechanics of someone, knowing that physically they are doing something you can’t do. The thing that is missing for me is the hero, the person that you could model your life after. To paraphrase the song from the 80’s, "we need  a hero."
While I realize that my personal reaction to the change in sports is insignificant as is my person attempt to boycott all professional sporting events, I need someone to root for.
When I was little I had dozens of players to choose from. To me now it feels like there are so few.

2 thoughts on “More thoughts around Cal Ripken and others

  1. This sounds similar to a conversation I was having with Richard a while ago.  He was talking about people at work having this attitude that they\’re somehow superior to the people around them if they\’re smarter.  I was talking about something… perhaps a crazy-looking guy on the street, and he said, "See, you\’re doing it, too.  You talk like you\’re superior to this guy, but you don\’t know.  He could have alien superpowers. He could have X-Ray vision!"
    I think the same thing applies to modern athletes.  It\’s like societally, we used to feel blessed and humbled by the gifts we had, but now when we\’re societally invested in being "superior." 
    When I watch the Olympics, I can see the grace of form of these people doing amazing things with thier bodies.  When I watch Michael Irvin, though (old reference, I know), it\’s harder to see the grace and skill through all of the arrogance and entitlement, you know what I mean?  It\’s the same at work.  There are people who are genuinely working to make the team\’s results better, and there are people who are trying to prove their superiority through "rightness".  One set is a joy to work with.  The other set isn\’t.

  2. It\’s a mixed bag. Often we as humans can see to the end of our own noses. Past that point it\’s a crap shoot as to the accuracy of our vision.
    There are times when I long for the old days, when as a child it was a safer world then it is now. There are other times when I just wish it all made sense.
    oh well…

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