Sports needs to rise to these troubled times
Or how cornhole may help us turn the corner
It’s been a crappy week.
Yes, this isn’t exactly breaking news with the shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio. Is anything going to come of this? Probably not.
Nothing happened after Columbine, Sandy Hook, Connecticut, Virginia Tech and insert-your-name-of-shooting here.
And we’re looking at a presidential election in a little more than a year. After the upcoming election, half the nation will be disgusted with a second term of President Donald Trump, or half the nation will be outraged with the new Democratic president.
This just seems hopeless.
The division of America didn’t start with Trump, nor would it have been helped by the election of Hillary Clinton in 2016. Had the latter happened it’s not like the nation would be united; we’d have had two years of investigating the second Clinton administration.
Before you email me telling me to keep politics out of sports, well, the reason I’m writing this is that I’m dying for some sports to take my mind off the fact that this country is divided more than it was with the exceptions of 1968 and the late 1850s, common points of historical crisis.
Maybe it’s a good thing that ESPN is running “ESPN 8 The Ocho” as I write this. Sign-spinning is on, and, apparently, “slippery stairs” is next. Homer Simpson, “Whoo-hoo.”
OK, we’re actually laughing in the newsroom about the Slippery Stairs World Championships. Apparently, that’s a thing. Move over Mikaela Shiffrin and the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships. Pfft on you.
And cornhole? The sport of bean-bag toss needs a better name, although it is oddly hypnotic, like curling. By the way, why do we need a sideline reporter for cornhole? One named Stormy? Really? Overkill, perhaps?
OK, bringing it back from “The Ocho,” maybe the Paxil ain’t kicking in as it should, but I need sports right now.
I need Friday night football. Or Thursday night. (Vail Christian plays its first game on that day of the week. The Saints versus Gilpin County might have a national audience.)
I need Battle Mountain-Steamboat Springs soccer, Eagle Valley-Battle Mountain volleyball, even though I know it’s going five games, which will kill me on deadline. I want to be writing about the Blair sisters splattering all comers, whether Huskies girls cross-country will nine-peat in regionals.
Major League Baseball needs to have an epic postseason. While I think the Astros are going to win the American League, I’d almost like to see — wash my mouth out with soap — Dodgers-Yankees in the Fall Classic, the collision of worlds and baseball empires.
The NFL starts its 100th season — best commercial ever — and let it be a big year. Let’s have a team make a run at the 1972 Dolphins. It can be the Patriots. Sports is also theater. You need the villain. Since the Raiders are likely to continue to stink, bring on the Pats and the Cowboys. (They have to lose in the end, though.)
Or we can have the rise of the Cleveland Browns. They’ve got to win some year. Why not now? Browns-Lions in the someone’s-gotta-win Super Bowl. OK, maybe not.
You hear me, though. I want a wide-open college-football season. As much as it was awesome to see Clemson dope-slap Alabama last year, let’s have no one go undefeated and College Football Playoff madness.
The NBA will be wide open, for once. The Warriors dynasty is now more and the stars have scattered. Good. Maybe the regular season might be relevant.
Every game needs to go extra innings or overtime. Championships need to go seven games. Now more than ever, we need sports to be great.
By the way, the USA won cornhole on The Ocho on Thursday. There might be hope for this country yet.