Warning: rant coming.
I don’t like it very much when people take themselves too seriously. I like to keep things light and make people laugh, and sometimes you have to let yourself get choked up by a cheesy commercial on television, or cry outright at a Disney cartoon. When people complain about these types of things, I roll my eyes and say “lighten up, people.”
But this time, I’m the grumpy dude on the front porch yelling at the neighborhood kids to get off my lawn. This time, I’m not sure whether to have more pity or disgust. This ESPN “Dear Sports” love letter thing is SO over the top that, to borrow a phrase I hate, “I literally can’t even.”
If you don’t know what I’m talking about, click the link, flip ahead to anywhere in the video you want, and watch for a minute or two. Then, after you’re done vomiting, come on back and read on. Go ahead, I’ll wait…
Welcome back! You see what I mean? People are literally PRAYING to “sports!” Do they understand that “sports” is a collective term for competitive activities engaged in by human beings, and not an entity that can hear love letters and feel better about its absence? I’m serious – listen to the way these people speak: “Dear sports. I miss you so much. You mean so much to me. You were there for me when I needed you most. We need you to get us through these difficult times.” THOSE ARE PRAYERS! People are actually outright praying to “sports!”
I mean, I’ve known for a long time that people worship their sports, and that a love of sports can easily fall into an idolatrous love, but this just puts it right out there on display. I don’t even have to go into how these people are obtuse enough to think that just because professional sports are gone, all sports are gone. Hey, everyone, guess what? Sports are still right there to be engaged in, simply by picking up a basketball and shooting at a hoop, or by throwing a frisbee in the backyard with your kids.
Like I said, I know this is a rant, and maybe you think that I am taking this way too seriously, but this entire campaign has just gone WAY over the edge of sanity for me to be even a little bit comfortable with it, and I am a huge sports fan!
I love sports. I’m a sports junkie. I love playing sports, watching sports, fantasy sports, sports movies and TV shows, people talking about sports, sports statistics, sports trivia and everything else sports. Walk into my office or talk to me for a while and you’ll see the evidence. And I miss professional sports.
But you know what? I’m also doing okay without them, and there is no sports deity which has ever provided me with any of the things I have in my life.
I wish people prayed to God like they are praying to sports. I wish they recognized the value of sports as something we do together, right along side talking, loving and praying.
But here’s the thing: don’t fall for it. This is a campaign produced by a TV network that only exists because of professional sports. It is performed (yes, performed) by on-screen talent and athletes who perform on TV, all of whom have become ridiculously wealthy because of professional sports. And every one of these people depends entirely on your money to continue in their lavish lifestyles. They are playing at your heartstrings by trying to convince you that sports are responsible for everything great in your life, so that you will start clamoring for live professional sports to return, so that they can get paid again. That’s it. That’s the game.
Don’t play it.
We can live without sports, just like we are living without bars and restaurants and haircuts. It’s inconvenient and maybe even a little ridiculous, but we can do it. I will be as thankful as anyone when professional sports returns, but I’m not going to be manipulated by the baldfaced idolatry of people whose lives revolve around them.
Don’t get sucked in. Because eventually sports, just like haircuts, bars and restaurants, will be back. In the meantime, let’s get back to remembering that this shutdown is about staying safe and keeping others safe, and maybe even reminding us about what is most important. And as much as I love professional sports, that ain’t it.
End of rant. Thank you for your time.