Can we keep sports fun, please?
Can we not twist sports into some sociological representation of chivalry and manhood and honor, as if it’s the modern day equivalent of William Wallace standing up to the English (PDF)?
Gregg Doyel, who is truly, honestly one of my favorite sportswriters working today (Why? Because he keeps it fun.), posted this old fuddy duddy of a tweet in response to Heath Bell’s entrance slide into last night’s Major League Baseball All-Star Game:
First, why call Bell an idiot? Second, who cares? It was fun. I smiled. My friend who was at the game said the crowd loved it. Isn’t that enough? It’s not like Bell threw behind a batter’s head and celebrated by waving a Nazi flag.
I don’t get it. I don’t get why sportswriters get all serious when it’s not necessary. Want to get serious about Rae Carruth, or Lisa Olson and the Patriots, or Michael Vick, or Frank McCourt’s handling of the Dodgers? Fine. Makes sense. Those are issues of murder, sexual harassment, animal cruelty, financial mismanagement so severe it effected fan safety.
Heath Bell was having fun. “Fans are what it’s all about,” he said. Follow the link to see his grass-stained pants.
I remember Deion Sanders because he was great, but also because he was fun. I never search YouTube for Rod Woodson highlights.
I remember Jimmy Connors as being a great tennis player, but when I watch the occasional highlight, it’s the 1991 U.S. Open, when Connors was old and even more demonstrative than usual, and the crowd willed him to the semifinals. He connected with the fans (fast forward to the 1:00 mark), albeit more organically than Bell’s forced effort last night.
The point is, I have enough crap in my life. Bills. Obligations. The usual. Bell made me smile, he made the fans smile, and he made some teammates smile. Let’s not turn that into a negative.
Find Dave Schwartz on Twitter @daveschwartz.