A WEEK TO PUT SPORTS IN PERSPECTIVE –Kenny Rice
A calculated mass murder, depicting evil at its very unthinkable core in an Aurora, Colorado theater.
An unprecedented retribution in State College, Pennsylvania against a corrupted system revealing a win-at-all-cost sickening mentality of concealing the vilest of acts on children.
Some people wanted their money back in Calgary for one of the more lackluster shows in UFC history.
It might seem the thinnest lines to walk in discussing these subjects in the same breath. Yet there is a correlation, in that going to movies and sports events are the freedom we enjoy. These are the places to escape from the harshness life presents to us all at times. From business to personal problems there can be a cathartic release in that simplest of things — entertainment.
To complain about a fight being lousy or that game stunk, to wish we hadn’t gone; to share that we have to see that movie again or tell everyone to save their money, is part of that freedom. To enjoy, complain or debate about an athlete or actor, a play call or film plot is our prerogative.
At least it was until a sinister young man walked into a crowded midnight movie and an older assistant football coach stepped into a shower stall with boys.
Now can we feel safety by going into a dark place and letting the light of a screen wash over us and wash away our worries for a couple of hours?
Can we sit in boisterous stadiums built for those in similar worship of sports programs forgetting cares for a few hours without pondering in the least what dark secrets our revered symbols might be hiding?
Perhaps no time in most of our lifetimes have the worlds of entertainment and sports been put into such a soul searching perspective as over the past week. How and why? There aren’t easy answers to what appear to be simple questions.
For they were simple acts, those supposed to be happy diversions. Buying a movie ticket, sending a son to football camp. How basic is that? Why would there ever be any doubt?
People are dead. Kids had their precious youthful zest stolen. There is no reasoning.
Movies and college football are powerful stimuli for us. Theatergoers spend over a billion dollars a year, more than decades worth of MMA pay per views. In the major conferences, more people will attend football games in a single Saturday than watch a year combined of MMA action.
We vicariously exist through movies and sports. They provide us a common bond that can’t wait until the next exciting moment to breakup the otherwise mundane of it all. They still do, always will. There is resiliency and strength to overcome the darkest of experiences we prove that daily. Though time while never erasing, is needed to continue putting one proverbial foot in front of the other. Forward in spirit while hearts ache and minds struggle to find sense in the senselessness.
Maybe during all this a few have paused to think about the need to find some humanity within. It’s so easy, so political correct to throw out prayers and wishes to those we’ve never met. But will it pass? Of course, that’s our way and in the natural progression we must move on. Forgetting though shouldn’t be an option this time. To appreciate the opportunity to laugh and cry, to cheer and boo, should hold more for us all. Nothing should be taken for granted in our pursuit of entertainment, we should embrace it and give thanks.
Everywhere in sports there are angry people, just read blog posts, tweets, facebook messages. This is the time to really find out what perspective has been gained from a massacre and a heinous crime and cover up. Can sports fans disagree minus the vitriolic bashing? Will the desire to express your self be curtailed from profanity laced tirades?
Those professing to be “real” fans of MMA haven’t cornered the market on this, but they are among the leaders in the nastiness that is prevalent in sports today. Now is a chance to show a “real” fan doesn’t lose credibility with clever prose over tiring rhetoric.
It would be plain foolish, merely idealistic, to expect all to come together in peace. There will always be the athlete, the team, the game, the fight that you just can’t stand. You just don’t like them and never will. Tragedies don’t rearrange that thinking, not in the long run. Again, it is that freedom we fans enjoy, to have our say.
Perhaps the only questions are to ourselves as we regroup in society and push on. How will we say it? What do we really need to spew about that is so important? Why should we purposely want to launch hateful thoughts? Should we provoke just for the sake of it?
Sports and movies will always be intertwined with us. As cold and starkly shocking as the events related to these passions of ours have been over this week, can we get over pettiness and realize what really matters?
We have been shown the fragility of life and the loss of innocence. That is the unflinchingly real world. Sports and movies allow us to blink occasionally but we should never lose our focus.
Watch Kenny Rice along with Bas Rutten LIVE every Monday night on Inside MMA, and check out Kenny’s new book “Not Hit Yet” an insider look at the MMA world in 2012, available at Amazon now
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