OUR SPORTS WORLD
I was away on vacation visiting my wife's family deep in thought playing Fortnight...er, working on my latest column when she appeared in the doorway. "Are you working?" She asked.
"Um, yeah," I said as I bent the laptop screen down toward me so she wouldn't see. "I'm a little short on inspiration these days. I mean, there's only so many ways for me to say that I think the Padres stink."
She sat down at the foot of the bed and gave me a smile. "Well, why don't you tell me what you want. That might help you."
It was a poignant and profound thing to ask me. My wife always seemed to find a way to get my mind going. I closed the laptop and took a breath.
"I want the NFL to stop worrying about what players do before a game and worry more about what they do when they're not playing. Some of them are going broke, hurting and harassing women, or abusing drugs. I want to see that the NFL owners have more on their mind than just their ever expanding bank accounts. I want to see the owners work in concert with the players association. I want the owners to hear what the players have to say. And I want the owners to understand their side. They don't have to agree, but hopefully they can come to some kind of understanding. As much as Jerry Jones may believe, nobody pays to see him own the team."
"I want Major League Baseball to know that they've got a problem. It seems like only three things happen at every at bat: a walk, a home run, or a strikeout. Games already run an average of three hours. Without enough action to stimulate them, a generation of kids are bored with the sport. And they're kinda right. Today's batters need to remember Wee Willie Keeler's approach to hitting: Keep your eye on the ball and hit 'em where they ain't. If more players went to the opposite field, then less teams would stop implementing the worst trend in baseball, the shift. Let's see more speed on the base paths. Let's see a guy steal 100 bags a year. Hipsters have made all things old new again. Why not do the same with the oldest professional sport around?"
"I want people to stop worrying about how NBA super teams are ruining the game. The Celtics of the 1960's dominated the league and nobody thought that was bad for the league. The Celtics and Lakers dominated the 1980's and the fans couldn't get enough. Everybody loved Jordan's Bulls of the 1990's. So why are so many worried about the Golden State Warriors dominance? What's really ruining basketball are players who don't know how to play. I wouldn't want a kid on my high school team much less an NBA roster who doesn't know how to shoot a basketball, or make a free throw, or understand a basic offense, or realize that it's not just about what you can do, but what you can do with the other four guys who wear the same color uniform as you."
"I want Terrell Owens to shut up. I want Kwahi Leonard to open up. And I want Charles Barkley to keep it up because he's the best at what he does. I want the Yankees to fail, the Jets to keep failing, and the Knicks to keep on keeping on. I want the 'process' in San Diego to work because enough is enough. I want the Lakers and their 'process' to work because enough is never enough. And I want enough people to know that above it all, sports are just games for us to love and loathe, with civility and decorum, and a splash of friendly banter for flavor."
I folded my hands across my lap, quite pleased that my little diatribe had led to what I thought could be a great column. "So what do you think?" I asked.
My wife smiled back and shook her head. "No, you dork. I meant what did you want from In 'N Out. We're leaving to pick it up and taking it to my sister's house."
"Oh," I said. "I'll get a double-double with fries well done..."