Ok, so I must be remiss if I didn’t post this, as my wife reads my blog and points out things that I mess up on. She jokes about me being a liar, but I think it’s just my swiss cheese memory because we do so many things and my notes and memories aren’t quite what they used to be.
For the record, we had fresh mozzarella during our craftsteak dinner, and the whole gluten episode and drunkfest started on Tuesday and went into Wednesday. However, all of the events did occur, and it just points out to me that I should get a laptop or just take better notes. I did have time to blog in Vegas with a nice laptop, but I also know that computer time for me leads to more time on the computer surfing, checking out Fark, trying to figure out what’s right or wrong with my various fantasy teams, and checking out the next fad on the Interwebs. Without further ado, we turn our attention to a few things from sports and society.
The Timbers won the USL First Division title last night by virtue of their 2 to 1 win over the Cleveland City Stars. Granted, the team had already clinched mathematically on Saturday when the Puerto Rico Islanders lost to Carolina, and by virtue of schedules and results, no other teams could overtake the Timbers. They could tie the Timbers, but the Timbers had all the tiebreakers in their favor. However, after clinching the title, the lads in green and white proceeded to play some of their worst soccer in losing to Austin and Cleveland over the weekend. They finished the season last night versus Cleveland, and with the win, there’s no technicalities, no debate, the Timbers have 58 points and nobody can catch them. It was what needed to happen, not just for the fans, but for the psyche of the team.
I expected the Oregonian sports page to cover the game, and sure enough, there’s a headline on page one talking about the game. However, the article title says “Timbers head into playoff with win” as the secondary headline, while the signing of Juwan Howard by the Trail Blazers is the main headline. Granted, I’m a Trail Blazer fan and I’m happy about the boys in red and black adding a key cog to their title run, but it just proves to me that the Trail Blazers rule this town, and the rest of the sports in this market are pure afterthoughts.
We have one major professional team playing in the NBA, one professional soccer team that is moving to MLS, a triple AAA baseball team, a junior hockey league team, two major colleges that reside around 2 hours away, many other college teams, and a smattering of other fan groups and interests. If the NBA sneezes, the sports world here catches a cold because of its status. In some respects, that is good because we get unbridled attention about the team and its inner workings. But because it has little to no competition, the spotlight is put squarely on them.
But the disjointed coverage gets worse. Sports radio is obsessed with college football all weekend, wondering if the Ducks or Beavers will win their games against decent opponents, while talking a bit about the Trail Blazers. The Timbers are an afterthought, even though we have only won a regular season title just once in our history. Being a soccer fan, I’m used to being ignored and having people look past my sport, but at the same point, the media perpetuates it at points. Even the Duck and Utah game got a colored headline that draws attention to the game, and I agree it’s a big game. There’s part of me that just wished that for one day in the world of sports, the sports world would appreciate my team as much as I do. I guess I should take comfort in the fact that it’s still a personal experience, and something that only a handful of people can really say they can enjoy. Maybe there is something to being one of the best-kept secrets in Portland.
What’s not a secret is talk of sportsmanship, as I talked about last time. I surf CNN from time to time, and I read a rather interesting commentary about this new talk of rudeness, and what might be causing this issue. The commentator pointed out that many people within the last two generations have become extremely narcissistic, only being involved with things that benefit them directly. It starts with being told you are special, and then thinking you are more important that you might actually be, trying to keep discomfort and anxiety down to the point of some young people have never dealt with their own issues.
I’ve never heard the term “buy-in” so much until I spent time in the workplace, and it’s phrased in a way to talk about the benefits of changes so people understand what’s going on. While I agree with this approach, as it helps folks deal with change by better understanding it, it does perpetuate the belief that changes have to benefit in order to be accepted. There’s some things that happen in life that aren’t good or provide benefit, but the reality is that life isn’t always fair, and the sooner people learn that, the better things will be.
We have too many people trying to protect the younger generation from reality so much that they can’t deal with things the way they are, and you wonder why there is so stress associated with things that should fun. And in order to deal with things, it’s all about selling things by spinning the benefits, making things sound better than they are, whatever it takes to gain acceptance.
I’ve had to learn some rather tough lessons in life, and there’s some issues in my own psyche that I’m trying to deal with, but I’d like to think that I’m fairly well grounded in the sense that I understand how life works. We don’t always win the big game, we don’t always date the cheerleader, we don’t always get straight A’s, and life doesn’t wrap problems up in 23 minutes, just in time for a compact simple lesson to be displayed followed by a touching family moment or fun dessert.
And honestly, I’m completely OK with that reality, because a life where everything is always good or always about you isn’t really worth living. I’ve learned more from my adversity than I ever have from winning, but yet I understand on some level why some parents do it, “I don’t want my kids to face what I did, so I’m going to make it all better no matter what.” While that’s an admirable sentiment, what it’s done is create the situation we have now.
That isn’t to say that every young person is like this, but I see and deal with more and more younger people with this attitude. While I appreciate the efforts to work on sportsmanship and being more civil to each other, I’d like to see us really make a move to show the younger generations the reality of life, which isn’t on a television set or on the Internet. It’s not always fair, and you will get hurt at some point, even if you play by all the rules. But when things really come together, you will have achieved something that should be treasured and appreciated. And in my book, that’s better than being famous any day.