A Burgundy and Gold Obsession
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A Burgundy and Gold Obsession

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“Ahh yeah, that's right baby
Girl, tonight we're gonna make love
You know how I know baby?
Cuz its Wednesday, and Wednesday night is the night that we make love.
Tuesday night is the night that we go and visit your mother, but
Wednesday night is the night that we make love.
Cuz everything is just right, conditions are perfect.
There's nothing good on TV, conditions are perfect.
You lean in close and say something sexy like " I might go to bed I've
got work in the morning." I know what you're trying to say baby.
You're tryin to say "Ooh yeah, it's business time, it's business time.”


Who knew? As kids growing up tossing around the old pigskin (you know, that well-worn Wilson with the lump on one end where the bladder was trying to bust through the seams), we pretended to be our idols. We admired their skills, their courage, their grit, and their moxie. They could do things ordinary humans couldn’t.

Sonny.
Billy.
Theismann if you were the brash, mouthy type.
Hell, in a pinch, it might even be Marino or Elway, or if you rolled old school – Unitas, Montana, or Broadway Joe maybe?
Ron Jeremy? I never game him a thought. Maybe I should have.

Today, our backyard heroes try to get away with things ordinary humans couldn’t.

So what is it with today’s athletic icons? Fame. Riches. Adoration. It isn’t enough? Having the world at your beck and call, no wish unwishable – it just doesn’t ‘do it’ for you anymore?

When did being a decent human being go so out of fashion?

Sam Kinnison once claimed to have to drink a six pack of Heineken every night to keep from cutting his girlfriend’s head off and storing it in a bowling ball bag. ‘I don’t condone that kind of thing’ he'd scream, ‘but I UNDERSTAND IT!’. As an official member of American maledom, I too understand that primal urge, the inner voice whispering continuously ‘look at her…’. We have all been very naughty boys. We’re all bad bad boys at heart. We (and our head-shaking significant others) know this about ourselves. And yet, most of us - far more than anyone gives us credit for - don’t act out like our former heroes, the modern day sports star.

Tiger.
Big Ben.
Kobe.
And God knows how many other ships waiting to find an iceberg with their name on it.

It’s not about being a ‘hero’ or a ‘role model’. Sports fans gave up that fantasy a long time ago (sometime around the time of the Chicago Black Sox). It’s just about trying reasonably hard not to be a horrible human being.

What drives star athletes to seek to divide and conquer all of womankind like Genghis Khan gobbling up Asia? Is it the sex? Is it, as Tiger Woods recently claimed, a ‘sense of entitlement’? Or is it a reflection of some pathetic emptiness these guys feel, some desperate attempt to fill some incomprehensible void that no amount of fame, fortune, or screwing can satiate? There’s a lot of irony in each seemingly endless revelation. A lifetime of discipline in the pursuit of athletic perfection is somehow useless in the face of mere temptation. That the affection, embrace, and love of literally millions still isn’t gratification enough. That athletes who can do the unthinkable on their chosen field of play, just can’t follow through on the most basic male requirement of them all. Just. Don’t. Be. A. Scumbag.

It’ll be interesting to see how our former heroes fare. Maybe it will take losing millions to drive home the point. Maybe it will take experiencing that ‘other kind of fame’, the kind that makes you a pariah, elicits finger-pointing and whispers, not autograph-seeking at restaurants, to help them get it. I don’t know. I hope our modern day athletes do start getting it. Because frankly guys, it’s an embarrassment.

It’s time to start living within some norms. You don’t have to be perfect. Just try to give up the whole ‘Caligula’ thing. You don’t have to experience every sensation in every orifice. Leave the records to Warren Beatty and Wilt.

Come on athletes. You were right – sports is a business, and it IS business time. And the business you need to get busy with is growing the eff up.

Updated 03-08-10 at 11:50 PM by Boone

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Comments

  1. Aston Gambino's Avatar
    Amen, Boone. Couldn't agree more.

    All the more reason why #28 was so special. Hard to find a better corner ever to play, and even harder finding a better man to remind us that the good guy still lives.
  2. Pravda's Avatar
    I think it'll take a paradigm shift where athletes are treated like people instead of demi-gods. When people treat you like the rules don't apply to you, then you start acting like they don't.
  3. Boone's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Pravda
    I think it'll take a paradigm shift where athletes are treated like people instead of demi-gods. When people treat you like the rules don't apply to you, then you start acting like they don't.
    I dunno Pravda - that sounds an awful lot like a cop-out to me. Despite the bad guys (and I'm more and more inclined to judge based on behavior than how gregarious or charismatic a player is on Sports Center), there are plenty of star athletes who are married, seem to respect their wives, and who aren't interviewing their next lay at college bars across America.

    Then again, maybe those guys just haven't gotten caught yet
    Updated 03-08-10 at 09:47 PM by Boone
  4. Pravda's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Boone
    I dunno Sol - that sounds an awful lot like a cop-out to me. Despite the bad guys (and I'm more and more inclined to judge based on behavior than how gregarious or charismatic a player is on Sports Center), there are plenty of star athletes who are married, seem to respect their wives, and who aren't interviewing their next lay at college bars across America.

    Then again, maybe those guys just haven't gotten caught yet
    Oh, I'm not saying that there aren't people that behave properly, I just think there's something in human nature (or that gestates in some people) whereby they can't help but act up (or down) to expectations. That's not to say that they shouldn't hold themselves to a higher standard, but it doesn't surprise me that they don't because there are so many enablers out there.
  5. Boone's Avatar
    Interesting take. I'll take it one step further and wonder if it's not that, at their deepest core, folks like star athletes and others with sudden and incredible fame have difficulty justifying their success and somehow seek to derail it?

    It's hard to comprehend the stupidity of some of their blatant acts from any reasonable vantage point. If you're Ben Roethlisberger, are you telling me it's tough to find attractive available women without going to college bars and having them parade in front of you like you're at the sushi table?
  6. Om's Avatar
    Thought-provoking piece, brother. A couple of related thoughts ...

    1) I'm not so sure today's superstars are all that different from yesterdays ... part of me thinks we're just living in an age where everything any of them do is NEWS, which translates directly into MONEY in today's hyper-competitive, salacious-headlines-sell media environment.

    Stories of Babe Ruth's 'colorful' private life are legend. Jack Kennedy apparently made Bill Clinton look like a priest (okay, bad metaphor). Even godlike Darrell Green is reputed to have a very different side to him behaviorally than widely known. Are today's athletes/public figures really all that different than yesterday's, or are they simply living in very different times?

    2) Of course, that doesn't necessarily give today's uberstars who get into trouble an "out." Why? Because if they've been alive and breathing throughout their lives, they KNOW these are different times, that the paparazzi are around every corner slobbering to catch them doing anything untoward that might translate into a cash bonanza photograph. Maybe it could be argued today's athletes who get into zipper trouble are not just suffering from personality/character issues, but serious lack of judgment issues as well.
  7. fansince62's Avatar
    and here I was thinking: "because they can".

    we've all seen the same thing in Hollywood, business world, military....and on and on. sports figures aren't unique. me thinks there is something more primal in play...but what do I know?

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