Recently, I have come to loath the direction sports are going. As I mentioned in a previous article, the sports world is literally going to hell in a hand basket. We live in a world of greed, corruption, and unfathomable events that seem to be a daily scoff at the daily news feed on Facebook. Yes, we now get our day-breaking news from rumor central. Sports used to be an escape for me and probably fellow sports fans alike. It meant more…because the stakes weren’t life or death. It wasn’t that serious…and that was okay. No matter what…we all lived for another weekend of sports. Lately, it has become increasingly apparent (like repeatedly slamming my fingers in doors) to me that sports nation as we know it is dissolving into that of the shadow of greatness it used to be. So as a past friend said to me, “Today I am dreaming of better days, and smiling at the former”. And like any man should, I will create my own solution to the madness.
10. When flopping didn’t exist in ANY sport
Let’s get one thing straight: Flopping is NOT a part of the game. Never was, and I refuse to let it be any part of what I teach to future kids. Earl Weaver once said, “In baseball, you can’t kill the clock. You’ve got to give the other man his chance. That’s why this is the greatest game.” Earl, I couldn’t of said it any better, myself. Sports aren’t about winning. They’re about the victory in itself. The struggle. It’s about the match up. Showing your strength by giving your opponent a damn chance to beat you. Goodness, if it were about winning…then we’d all grow tired of our team romping Squeaker State 45-0 at halftime. Flopping is an embarrassment to sports.
In basketball, if the guy fouls you…then the ref will call it. If he didn’t foul you, or the ref didn’t call it…get over it. You aren’t paid millions of dollars to whine about penalties/fouls. Pick yourself up and get back on defense. Or has it always been about you and your feelings? Nothing aggravates me more than seeing a player I like whine about a foul. Talk about a soul-crusher.
In football, if the other team is whipping your butt up and down the field with the no-huddle offense, don’t lie down and play hurt. Cowards lie down and fake injured. Furthermore, you look like an idiot in front of all your family, friends, and fans. That’s right, the three “F’s”. You aren’t being severely overpaid to fall down and play damsel in distress. Soccer players do that. It’s an established part of their game and I get it. This isn’t European soccer and you aren’t roaming around a field for hours upon hours with no rest. Get up, think how you can beat your man next time…and get back to the huddle. Your high school coach should’ve taught you better.
Just like “stick ‘em” was, ax it. Throw the book at floppers. If they flop, throw a one game unpaid suspension (three games for the NBA) with a $300,000 fine on top of it. Warnings are for kindergarten teachers who can’t get their class to calm down. I know, I know…the owners whine and complain. I don’t ever hear them whining because they OWN a professional team. That’s because all of them are financially better off than most of us will make in three lifetimes. If flopping is banned…then so it shall be. Owners won’t have much to complain about then. And if they still do, maybe they should get a fine, as well. They’re already fined for criticizing officials. Maybe you could use a little of that fine cash to fund point number 9. Either way, the point needs to be made; flopping is ruining sports.
9. NFL Europe
Call me crazy, but come April…I am itching for football. It’s that time when college basketball just ended, NBA is almost into the playoffs, MLB is still in spring training, and all fans have to look forward to is the NFL draft. NFLE was fun! Guys were playing for the pursuit of happiness. They were playing for a shot at the dream. There was no tomorrow for them. What could honestly be more inspiring than that? A lot of them never got to live the dream. But it was fun, which is the entire purpose of sports. I realize the whole concept was to get Europe involved in Futbol Americano. You didn’t really expect it to rival soccer, did you? So does EVERYTHING have to be about money? C’mon guys. In the end, that’s why it was expendable; lack of revenue. It was still a way for football fans stateside to get their football fix without watching re-runs on ESPN Classic. And let’s be honest, its not like the NFL couldn’t afford it.
Never say never, but I don’t think this guinea pig is coming back anytime soon. If it did, then fund it through point number 10. Have media, will travel. If you got NFLE as highly publicized as the real NFL was, you might just surprise yourself. Plus, double the teams could mean double the fans. It will never be soccer to Europe, but healthy advertisement will provide a steady fan-base both in Europe and stateside. Heck, fans might even make the trip to an NFLE game. With how much the NFL as a whole makes, tell me with a little more effort than before, the NFL could probably afford a charity every now and then.
8. Free Agency was merely a formality. The NFL Draft was the only off-season we needed.
Remember when the draft was ALWAYS bigger than free agency? The past two NBA summers filled with the Dwight Howard saga really made me SICK. Seriously, if you are a Dwight fan…you haven’t the slightest clue what a team concept is. If you did, you wouldn’t root for this guy. THE biggest agent-infused man child since Allen Iverson. The man could not make his mind up for nearly three years who he wanted to play for. This guy gives me horrid flashbacks of what it’s like to shop with teenage girls. What should’ve been the greatest center for his generation (his rebounding skills are unrivaled) turns out to be a HUGE head case. No wonder Charles and Shaq are laughing at you. You, my friend, are an expensive joke.
Getting back to my main point…there is NO loyalty in sports anymore. Up until “The Decision”, it used to be just baseball. The Yankees could be blamed for starting the trend of “buying” their team. As a whole, you couldn’t keep up with the entire league unless you lived and died MLB. There are literally TOO many players for one league. It has, unfortunately, become a plague that has spread throughout the entire sports world. Sports (college and professional) are not about loyalty, honor, and certainly are NOT about commitment. They’re about media pressure, old blood/new blood, greed, ignorance, and arrogance. It is a huge disgrace to simply hold out or break a contract because someone wanted to offer you more money. If you stopped and thought back to the team who originally signed you and made you into the superstar you are now (instead of thinking for yourself in the present/future tense), I’m sure you would be inclined to see it their way. There are simply no more Tony Gonzalez or Dirk Nowitzki-type athletes anymore.
The Solution for this…is far bigger than we can imagine. It goes back to environment someone is raised in. The pee-wee days when an athlete is 6’5 at twelve years old and everyone is telling you how big of a star you’ll be someday. Over and over again, they tell him. Where the issue lies is development. Too much media-driven controversy will spike an ego, as well. I’m afraid there is just no humility left anymore. The milk has finally gone bad.
7. The Big-12…not the Big Texas
I, for one, am against power conferences and the playoff strategy. I ask the NCAA, are you really trying to kill all of tradition in college sports, or just worried about your pocketbooks? Furthermore, I miss simple conferences like the old Big-12. Back in the 1990’s-2000’s where the rivalries were great, and every season was like a mystery. There was no telling who would be the dark horse for that year. Bob Stoops at OU, Tom Osborne at Nebraska, Mike Leach at Texas Tech, Mack Brown at Texas, Bill Snyder at K-State, and Rick Neuheisel at Colorado. This was a great conference. And then came greed. What used to be a great conference seemed ruled by an up-and-coming Texas squad. Suddenly, the conference no longer seemed interested in funding any other teams but Texas.
For instance, in the final years, the Championship game was to be played only at Cowboys Stadium. Not Reliant stadium, the Alamo Dome, or Arrowhead as the previous yearly rotations suggested. The game would be conveniently located to the closest city to Austin, with the biggest crowd. Another show of faith was the Longhorn Network. So, now you need your own television station? You think there are so many fans out there that you need an entire channel devoted to Texas sports? And finally, who could forget how the Big-12 conveniently dropped the conference revenue sharing bomb on the public. Guess who earned the most every season since 2005?
The biggest reason people hate Texas…was because of the bandwagons that seemed to pop up in EVERY state. They had truly and undeniably great squads. They were the team you either loved…or loved to hate beyond the point of sanity. THE best part was when Texas axed the person responsible for reviving the Texas football program higher than the Earl Campbell days. Your real problem was letting Muschamp leave. There’s your trouble.
The solution is past the point of no return on this one. The bed is essentially made. Nebraska is happy in the B1G. Mizzou and A&M are competing quite well in the SEC. And Colorado is…well…Colorado in another conference. The rest, as they say…is but a memory. *Sigh*
Be sure to stay tuned for Parts II and III.
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