Tuesday, December 19, 2006

SportsCenter No More

I used to be a faithful watcher of ESPN’s SportsCenter. In the early 90s a friend asked me why I enjoyed it so much, and after thinking about it for a while, the answer was simple:

The rest of the world news was depressing, about violence, things gone bad, things gone wrong. But sports news, and specifically ESPN, was always good stuff. It was about who won this, who won that; what adversities people had overcome. Generally good stuff. Occasionally you'd have bad news (Magic's HIV; Steve Olin & Tim Crews death; cheating in sports, etc); but the bad news was rare, and when it occurred, it helped ground you into reality (a little). And if there was truly significant world news that needed to be covered, ESPN would cover it.

So watching SportsCenter each night was a pleasure.

Mid 90s I stopped watching it religiously, and now I almost never watch. Partly because my children were born, and the reality of what was truly important came along. But also the sports news started to take a nasty turn. Now it was no longer about who was winning, but it was about the corruption in sports, the endless cheating, the drug use, the Pete Rose betting scandal, etc. It seems to me it’s now all about tearing people down, rather than building them up.

Today, no matter how small the incident, it gets blown up into huge proportions and gets endless play over the internet, radio and television. Perhaps the media is just a reflection of our society; people only want to tear down others, and so the media panders to them. I know I’ve talked to a lot of fans who seem to behave that way. I’ve known many past co-workers whose joy in life seemed to be tearing down all aspects of management around them.

You know, if you look hard enough, there’s bad in everything. But there’s a lot of happiness and joy out there, good things going on. Paul Harris was over hyped beyond belief this year; it was almost impossible for him to meet the expectations of fans. But if you sit back and watch him play, you’ll see a young man playing with a lot of intensity and hard work, a real joy to watch play. He’s having a heck of a freshman season, making a difference out there.

Dick Vitale used to be great for college basketball. He over hyped everything, but he was a ball of positive energy. Every player was great! Everyone on his all-Windex team, everyone a diaper dandy, everyone an all-American. Now days, it appears that Vitale is like so many others on television; he takes advantage of his airtime, gets on his soapbox and preaches, instead of doing what truly was gifted at doing… making others feel good.

And now, I realize, I’ve been on my soapbox too long… so I’ll step down. Good day.



MariusJanulisForThree said...

Check out Bill Simmons chat transcript from yesterday, he's puts it in perspective. Basically saying that there were 20 "brawls" from the 70's and 80's worse than what happened in the Nuggets-Knicks game and no one even remembers them (except him).

Its just bothersome that the same station that chides Terrell Owens and Barry Bonds for being Terrell Owens and Barry Bonds is the same station that literally assigns the Breaking News tag to their every insiginificant movement and choice.

And oh...don't get me started on Vitale...

OrangeRay said...

MJfor3, thanks for the reference to Bill Simmons chat. I had missed that; he's one of my favorite on-line columnists.

Here's the link for anyone who is interested: