I love sports. I love watching sports, I love playing sports, I love sports stories, I love sports fans (most of them, actually the more realistic ones rather than the unrealistic ones i.e. see most Raider fans, most New York and Boston Fans and any SEC football fan.)
As I sit here and watch the ESPYs I have been choked up at least twice. Once for the Lauren Hill story. If you didn’t watch it, do it. If it doesn’t get you choked up a bit you are either: A. A cold hearted person, B. Never participated in any group activity or C. Dead.
Having said all that, then why am I so irked at the ESPYs this year? Oh yeah, now I remember! Because this year the ESPYs sold out to ABC and to sports fan. Why do I feel this way? Well there is only one obvious answer. Caitlyn Jenner. Caitlyn is receiving the Arthur Ashe Courage award and it is totally killing my sports mojo. I am really struggling with this. I know sports athletes sell out. I know sports team sell out. Hell even some sports fans sell out. But I am feeling like I sold out. This year’s ESPYs are lumping every sport, every moment, every team, every fan into one big sell out and it is killing me. Now let me stop for a moment and say I am not opposed to someone being what they want to be. Good for them, good for Caitlyn Jenner to be who she wants to be. But to give her the courage award is nothing more than a publicity stunt. I get the ESPYs are kind of goofy. I just have this feeling of sports being hijacked to promote someone who is most known, by anyone under 50, as a reality TV star.
There are better platforms to rightfully discuss what Jenner had to share. I don’t understand the tie in with sports. Educating the world about the topic is commendable and needs to be done. For me it takes away from the stories of people fighting for their life, losing their life or health. It takes away from a teams and individuals who achieved their ultimate goal.
Michael Sam received this award last year. I believe it took way more courage for him to come out as a gay man prior to the NFL draft. His announcement, affected his status in the sport he loved. That took courage.
Jim Valvano was the first ever recipient of this award. He was fighting cancer. He was fighting for his life. That took courage. In 2003, Pat Tillman was honored with this award. Pat Tillman gave his life for our country. That took courage. But to watch Caitlyn Jenner receive the award seemed so fake.
I am really not trying to be an insensitive person. I grew up in the “Sex Change Capital of the World,” back in the late 80’s and 90’s. I had to defend my childhood city countless times from people who made jokes about me being a female instead of male.
I digress. I have one more gripe about sporting events or achievements. I don’t understand why we need to have tweets read from any sports star. Former or current. To other sports stars about what happened or what they did. It is great that they reach out and congratulate people, but why does it need to be read on TV. I don’t care what Magic Johnson says to the winner. He sent it to the winner and let’s keep it that way. #Don’tbroadcast #KeepitReal #Surfacelevel.
I can’t say that there aren’t other things that bother me about sports. At the end of the day, I have to focus on the stories that choke me up. That make me smile. That make me turn up the volume on the TV so I can hear the roar of the crowd. The homerun derby was the most recent example of this. I just happened to turn the TV on to the derby and it was AWESOME to watch. To see the crowd hang on every swing of Todd Frazier was amazing. To watch Todd, his brother and the Cincinnati fans cheer was why I love sports.
At the end of the day I will continue to watch sports. Love sports and find the ways to remember that they bring more joy than frustration in my life.