Wednesday, April 20, 2011


After occasionally writing about sports on social networking sites, I've decided to branch out and start my own sports blog.  Since this is my first original post, I guess I will explain the purpose of this blog. (I say "original post," because - as you might have noticed - I've already technically posted stuff.  Those, however, are things I've written in the past that I used to work out the kinks with formatting and email subscription; in addition to just archiving them on this site)  Anyway, back to the point of the blog.  If the title, and subheading, wasn't clear enough, the main perspective of this blog will be a common sense view of sports.  It might sound basic, but too often I feel like sports stories lack common sense.

An example from the recent past was the Jay Cutler situation in the NFC Championship.  After the game, the story was about players - who weren't even on the Bears - calling out Cutler for not playing with an injury.  Most of the narrative around that story was, "How tough is Cutler?"  The problem with that narrative is that it ignores the big question, "When did playing hurt become an expectation?" 

The Flu game, the Bloody Sock game, the Willis Reed game.  Those games are instantly recognized by their names.  The fact that specific games even have names speaks volumes.  Those games are remembered for the performances of men who were not 100%.  Jordan wasn't even injured, yet it's still remembered as a classic performance.  Why?  Why is Jordan playing with the flu a big deal?  Why is Schilling pitching with a bum ankle a big deal?  Why is Willis Reed limping around on a basketball court a big deal?

They're a big deal because they were extraordinary performances.  Extraordinary, as in they weren't ordinary.  If they were out of the ordinary, doesn't that mean that not playing when you're injured is ordinary?  Because it seems like people believe that not playing when you're hurt is what's out of the ordinary.  It seems like playing hurt is now expected.  At least that's the implication when someone like Jay Cutler is chastised for not playing with an injured knee.  And if everyone's expected to play hurt, then why do we admire Jordan, or Schilling, or Reed for playing when they were less than 100%?  Wouldn't they just be doing what athletes are expected to do?

This is the problem.  If you play hurt, it's amazing.  If you don't play hurt, you're a wimp and you have no heart.  That doesn't even make sense.  Where's the baseline?  What's the expectation?  Playing hurt is measured against the expectation of not playing hurt, and not playing hurt is measured against the expectation of playing hurt.  It's inconsistent.  The expectations need to be clear.  If we're going to revere athletes that play hurt, then we're saying that playing hurt is not expected.  If we're going to chastise athletes that don't play when they're hurt, then we're saying that playing hurt is expected.  Which one is it?  Because it can't be both.

That's one example of something I would address with a common sense point of view.  The reason I combined the blog with "my two cents" is because I didn't want to limit myself to just those kinds of posts.  I wanted to leave myself open to write other kinds of things, whether it be opinion pieces or in-depth player evaluations etc.

Finally, I'm going to try and steer away from fluff pieces, such as "tonight's game was awesome."  Because I want to write things of substance, I'm not sure how often I'll be posting stuff.  Also, I won't be announcing it anywhere else when I do (this is where the email subscription comes in).  If you want to keep current on things I write, without consistently checking the site, just subscribe and you'll get an email when I write something new.

I think that's good enough for my first post.  Feel free to comment on anything I write (whether it be an agreement or disagreement).  Thanks for reading!

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