I’m both honored and blessed to have readers from all over the world, but I know that much of my core audience resides here in New England, know that many of you, like me, are sports fans. I know that the devastating injury to Gordon Hayward has completely changed your expectations for the Boston Celtics this year, the early playoff exit once again for the red Sox, combined with the New York Yankees success, is causing you emotional pain. What I don’t know, but what I can guess, what I can extrapolate from my own feelings, is how there is a part of you that is not sure how to feel about how much these things bother you. With so much going on in the world, so much tragedy and pain, what the hell is wrong with us that we get this upset about a game, a game that in the big picture really holds so little meaning?
For those that don’t know what I’m talking about, Hayward suffered a fracture/dislocation of his ankle 315 seconds into his Celitcs career. The Red Sox were knocked out in the first round of the playoffs for consecutive years, their manager fired.
Should any of this matter in a time of Harvey Weinstein, North Korea, and Puerto Rico?
It does. It does because sometimes even those of us that consider themselves well informed, that pay attention to what’s going on in the world around us, that are trying to make some sort of little difference, need to turn it off, to watch something besides the ever depressing news channels.
It’s why I understand those that complain about the anthem protests from the perspective of not wanting politics to intrude on their escape. It’s part of what makes it an effective protest, an uncomfortableness in having to think about issues at a time when we are trying to escape them.
Rather than boycott the NFL as some people are now doing, my wife and I took a different approach, planning an entire vacation around games that our teams were playing in Tampa Bay and Miami, Florida.
I’ll admit that we missed the anthem at both games. Food, beer and poor time management leading to us arriving at our seats afterward. We didn’t know what the players did, didn’t know what the crowd did, just knew that for the next three hours anybody in that stadium wearing the same colors as us were on our side.
After my wedding and the birth of my child, of course, some of my happiest moments have come based on grown men playing children’s games and celebrating those moments with those around me. The Dave Roberts steal, the 12th inning home run by David Ortiz in that same game, the final out of the 2004 World Series, the 24 point comeback by the Celtics against the Lakers in game four of the 2008 NBA Finals. To this day I’ve never seen my father more excited and animated than when Tate George hit his game winning shot for the UConn Huskies in the 1990 NCAA tournament and he’s not even that big of a sports fan.
Is it silly, an unnecessary expenditure of energy and emotion that would be better served directed elsewhere?
Of course. That’s kind of the point.