RWP was born in Manchester, in the north of England, in the late 1950s, so he is very old. He really liked the north of England, which by 1965 was hip and had three TV channels, and where he went to a coed school. His parents, for reasons best known to themselves, then yanked him away, to Belfast and then Dublin, which had one TV channel that started up at 6 pm with the Angelus (Catholic call to prayer). He also had to go to an all boys school, where he realized he really missed girls. This probably let him focus on schoolwork, though, and at age 19, after he had finished college, he set off for America, where he still resides. He has a bachelors degree in biochemistry and a Ph.D. from Harvard in biophysics, and has lived also in Mainz, Germany, Setauket NY, and Richland WA. He currently divides his time between Nebraska, Rosslyn VA, and Florida.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Sports fan quits

This week I gave up being a sports fan.

Here at UNL, our athletic program went through one of its periodic melodramas, as a tape surfaced of Bo Pelini cussing out Nebraska fans, sports reporters and pretty much everyone else he could think of. The Lincoln Journal Stars sports hacks immediately leaped to his defense, and by the end of the week were announcing we had all forgiven Pelini after he received absolution from Saint Thomas of Osborne. It's not so much I care about forgiving the man; I think he's an imbecile without the mental wherewithal to coach a top football team, or the self-control to keep his emotions buttoned down. I don't want to think about him.

Osborne himself was a cynical, win-at-all-costs coach who wrapped his machinations in a cloak of po-faced sanctimony. His glory years from 1994-1997 were beset by a long series of scandals where his athletes committed a serious of violent felonies, and Osborne openly interfered with the justice system to keep them playing, all the time piously preaching about the redemptive qualities of big-time athletics. The best summary of it all is here.

Since he left, our athletic department has continued to intervene in the legal system to help athletes evade the consequences of sometimes pretty horrible acts. This is often with the active connvance of the courts and a large part of the citizenry. Doesn't anyone find it odd that Ndomukong Suh, who was pretty much idolized here in Lincoln, is one of the most despised players in the NFL? Did he just magically change when he went to the NFL? Or was he doing the same stuff here, and we didn't mind at all?

Getting away from Lincoln, we have a national sports media that recently poured adulation on Alex Rodriguez for setting a record for grand-slam home runs, a record was almost certainly the result of massive steroid and HGH abuse spanning most of his career. Most of the major records in baseball are suspect for the same reason. One of the best players on my favorite American football team is under indictment for murder. Basketball is the domain of thugs and rapists. International soccer is replete with corruption and match-fixing. The Olympics has a governing body that would be shameful in a central Asian republic. The best American athlete of the last couple of decades, Lance Armstrong, was doping, threatening his teammates to keep it quiet, while all the time promoting healthy living. And the list goes on and on...

Sorry, it's all too much. About a year ago I read a very wise piece of advice; never make your happiness depend on something you can't control. It's not just that you can't control, as a sports fan, what your favorite team or athlete do. It's that there is a good chance they just sold you down the river. You might as well get emotionally invested in professional wrestling.

Ironic, considering the Red Sox are going to win the AL East and three New York sports franchises are looking disaster in the face. But the defeats are as phony as the victories, so I'll pass on the schadenfreude. I've got better things to do with my time than watch cheats and thugs and crooks.