Modern Sports Just Not Very Sporting

By Jason Menard

I’d like to show you a vision of the future, if you don’t mind. Today’s sporting landscape is so out of whack, I can’t imagine how we’re going to explain it to our kids and grandchildren. I’m guessing that it will go a little like this.

“Grandpa Jay, what was the juiced ball era in baseball about?”

“Well, that was a time in the late ‘90s and early 2000s when people had suggested that Major League Baseball had fiddled with the actual balls, making them easier to hit out of the park. It turns out that it wasn’t just the balls that were juiced, but, allegedly, it was the players as well!”

“What do you mean by players being juiced?”

“You see, there are these things called steroids, which help people work out harder, get bigger, and, once again for all you lawyers listening out there, some players allegedly took them and started whacking the baseball out of the park on a more and more regular basis.”

“Well, that sounds a lot like cheating.”

“You may say that. Ironically, little one, the side effects of these steroids, which may have been responsible for the juiced ball era, probably were responsible for the Shrunken Ball era that followed after – but that’s a different story.”

“Wow. Was it just baseball players that used steroids?”

“No, it wasn’t. Certain football players allegedly used performance-enhancing drugs. And then there were the Olympic athletes that routinely got caught.”

“Oh, the Olympics, didn’t we have one of those in Vancouver?”

“Yes, we were proud to host the 2010 Winter Olympics. But, unfortunately, they didn’t live up to our expectations?”

“But I thought everybody loved Vancouver.”

“Without question, little one, and they put on a great show. But it kind of felt like having a birthday party and all your friends going home with your gifts.”

“I don’t understand.”

“You see, the Olympics are all about sports that the majority of Canadians only care about every four years. And, as we built up to the event, there was much hand-wringing and government discussion about providing more funding for our athletes so that they could compete better. Unfortunately, as you know with the government, all it came out to was a lot of talk, and these athletes – who don’t get any support from the public during the other three non-Olympic years, just couldn’t compete with better-funded, better-supported athletes from other countries.”

“So we didn’t win any gold medals?”

“Why, we didn’t win any medals. Although the International Olympic Committee did present President Gretzky with a nice Participant ribbon – kind of like the ones they give away at school.”

“Speaking of President Gretzky, how come we didn’t win Olympic gold in hockey? Weren’t we good at that?”

“Well sure we were. But with the NHL lockout going on to its seventh year, the players and owners decided that they were just warming up and didn’t want to break their momentum by actually hitting the ice.”

“Is that because they don’t want a salary cap? Baseball doesn’t have a salary cap and it’s doing well, isn’t it?”

“Sure. It is now. Especially since the other 28 all merged into one, barnstorming, mega team so that their salaries could match the Yankees and Red Sox’s payrolls!”

“You know, sports in your day just didn’t seem to be much fun, did they Grandpa. I think I’ll go read now.”

“That’s probably for the best…”

2005 © Menard Communications – Jason Menard All Rights Reserved

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