"You Gotta Be Kidding!"
by Mickey Charles, CEO Sports Network
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - That's what you might hear from someone
that does not have a calendar at home with the dates of The Masters, March
Madness, Bowl Games, Super Bowl, NFL/MLB/NBA/NHL playoffs, Olympics, World
Series, Stanley Cup, NBA Championship round, important rivalry contests and a
whole lot more circled in red. It would also be the hue and retort from
someone who forgot his wife's birthday, son's Little League game, promised
family trip and what time the in-laws were coming.
Sports is compulsive, it consumes, causes more divorces than cheating, engulfs
one's life like an alien with unlimited tentacles, creates more grief and
tears than the passing away of Marley and is responsible for more highs and
lows than the temperature in Michigan from September to February.
You embrace it with greater affection than you do your best friend, you cry
when your heroes fail, rejoice when they succeed, go into the depths of
despair when the promised championship parade dwindles down to the confetti
bag being put away for the umpteenth time and raises you to heights of
exultation when there is a victory. Vanquishing every terrorist on the planet
would not be greeted with as much applause and cheering.
Love of sports is an anomaly that eats away at our very being and yet, like
quicksand, we thrash about it. In our case, that of our company, we actually
fuel the flame. That is what we do...bring sports to you every second of
every day in every fashion possible. We thrive on it, you exult in the
receipt of it and we are all as pleased as punch. But the toll is
considerably more than the amounts indicated on your last Turnpike ticket.
Sports, whatever may be your favorite(s), is not a divergence, a now and then
digression from the norm. It is the norm. It is part and parcel of your,
our, very being.
If it is square, round, or spherical we kick, throw and hit it until the phase
of competition passes, and then all that remains is our being spectators.
Golf, tennis and over-40 basketball, baseball, football and hockey leagues
allow us to cling to what might have been if we were 6'11" or endowed with the
other abilities necessary to compete at the professional level. Then we turn
to our children and their youthful participatory adventures where, sadly,
parents are apt to become overzealous over what is, in reality, a children's
game, an adventure that they will forget by morning, if not bedtime of that
You tailgate hours before the game, while your spouse might be off
shopping...alone or with friends. You devour more over-priced food and liquid
refreshment than many third-world countries in the same span of time. Many of
you arrive in outfits that make every day Halloween and yet others are out of
a misguided Picasso school of painting. You overpay for the tickets, parking,
memorabilia, necessary paraphernalia to grace your body and den, and usually
display absolute disdain for anyone showing up to root for the visiting team.
They are miscreants and this is your "house."
Steelers' fans celebrating their Super Bowl victory last February.
No, it is not seasonal, you are not lost to the family, business colleagues
and friends for just a few hours, day, week or month. It is this discordant
conduct of yours, of ours, that is so much a part of it that there is no cure
for it. It is, to many men, what shopping for shoes and spending the
afternoon at Victoria's Secret is to many women. Yankee Stadium, Camden
Yards, Citi Field, Fenway, Dodger Stadium, Wrigley become our Bloomingdale's.
Augusta is Valhalla, the Brickyard...the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is as
requisite a destination for racing fans as the Library of Congress is for
potential politicians. Mount Rushmore can wait. The Grand Canyon? Next
summer. Stone Mountain? They have photos on the Internet. Alaska? Too
cold. Heck, what do you call a game at Green Bay in December, summer blossom
You learn to endure seating that leaves ridges on your butt, weather that only
a polar bear could tolerate, disappointments that create despair for weeks at
a time, parking situations that make stock car racing look like child's play
and bathroom facilities that you thought were eliminated when the OK Corral
became a tourist destination, not one for gunfighters.
Get a life? Sports is your life! We swim in it like sharks searching for
prey. Flags fly from our car windows, "hoodies" are de rigueur attire and
baseball caps worn backwards (which I still cannot comprehend) are still
stylish. The merchandise stores at the US Open and The Masters gross more
money on a weekend than any of you will make over the next 5-10 years.
When your wife sits down next to you to watch the game...the game, not the
super duper event that shuts out all else...you have won the war, even if she
is faking it like she did the night before. Who knows how to do that better
than the distaff set? They are the chameleons of our being and are able to
adapt to any given situation. It is what fools you into thinking that your
obsession is the norm, the acceptable. It is not. She just made a trade
bigger than any of you have witnessed in sports. It was a superior fake to
the one Kobe threw at his defender the night before. Be thankful.
It is what we do whether they kick it, throw it, catch it, hit it, run with
it, push it around the ice, dunk it or find another way to use it. Just
remember that "she" is at the mall while you are tuned into the "big game."
With your credit cards and cash. There's food in the fridge if you are home
and the greasy chicken wings at the game will have to do if you have tickets.
Sports is your life. You think not? You are in denial? Take inventory. It
is what we do and it transcends our being the hunters. From this perspective,
we love you for it. You make my day, despite Dirty Harry's admonition to the
contrary. You just have to flavor it a bit, exercise some self-control, pull
in the reins from time to time, albeit not too often.
Will anything really change? When you "get a life" will it just be more
sports? Or, will you wake up and smell roses aside from the Rose Bowl and The
Kentucky Derby? You gotta be kidding!