Sports can be a beautiful thing, poetry in motion, but with its dark side growing larger and darker by the day, I wonder if that beauty is worth our time and attention, or our kids' time and attention for that matter.
With that said, here is some good and some ugly about sports. Never mind the "bad" - the "ugly" pretty much covers that. For these purposes, bad and ugly go hand-in-hand. And one athlete listed below this week became the new mayor of Bad & Ugly Town.
First, some of the good - the things that make us smile and keep us coming back for more:
A game-winning field goal from the 40 with :01 left.
Any goal in soccer.
Autographs you don't need to swipe a debit card to get.
Overtime in hockey.
Hall of Fame speeches.
Ballplayers who chew gum.
Now, the ugly.
Alex Rodriguez, Ryan Braun, etc. etc. etc.
Home run derbys
The designated hitter.
Tiger after a shank.
"It's not about the money."
For every truly beautiful thing there is about sports, there's a wart. And the warts are getting uglier.
Sport's biggest blemish is Rodriguez, who has dethroned Armstrong for that honor. Call them 1A and 1B. Even after being busted for using performance enhancing drugs, the Yankees' third baseman is appealing his record 211-game suspension. Huh, I thought athletes liked breaking records. A-Rod sounded this week like he could use a little sympathy - someone needs a hug - and says now is not the time to talk about Biogenesis and all these allegations, but we do know he's appealing the ban.
It's not wrong for our children to admire pro athletes, as long as they admire the right ones. Joe Mauer, yes. A-Rod, no. If your kid's still an A-Rod fan after this week, it's time for a sit-down. However, don't be afraid to let your sports-loving kid follow the A-Rod story, at least a little.
Two schools of thought here: One, we could try to totally shield our kids from morons like A-Rod, cheaters who break the rules just to become the best of the best; or, two, we could let them see that in reality, cheaters may win from time to time, but they always get caught. The risk of the latter is kids can see that A-Rod has already profited immensely from cheating. Sure, his reputation is toast, but in a way, he's getting away with it, and we don't need our kids seeing that.
I'll take option No. 1. Forget A-Rod; there are plenty of other pro athletes out there our kids can emulate.
In the end, whether it's in sports or in the business world, we want our kids to work hard and climb the ladder, not cheat and use the escalator.