Seriously, who wants to root for the home team — heck, any team — anymore?
Sports, which has always enjoyed the distinction of being our escape from the reality of the world we live in, seems to fall further and further into the murky abyss of realism.
What we watched play out over the past eight months at Penn State has crystallized perhaps the one weakness sports brings out of the human condition:
See no evil, hear no evil.
The pom-pom waving, tailgate partying, and in most cases, mindless masses who live and die with their teams seem to cheer louder, party harder and scream down detractors or controversy with greater veracity every year.
Who wants to know that seamy underside that is often the price paid so that a community can celebrate guilt-free?
If you ask some of the people who wear Penn State gear today, they likely will tell you they don’t. They won’t say it, but they’ll fumble through excuses to legitimize it.
Heck, when Lobogate blew through The University of New Mexico’s men’s basketball program in 1979, there was a strong faction that wanted to wish it away.
Sadly, there is a feeling in the air that the size of those head-in-the-sand factions is bigger now.
Alas, that is what plagues the world today. We don’t want to know what we suspect, because the price is too high. Not if the price is to watch the horror of cover-ups and crimes exposed and played out in front of TV screens.
Thursday should be a day of circumspection.
For me. For you. For everyone.
The question is: How far are we willing to go to protect something that in reality is just a game, if only to revel in its spoils?
But this isn’t about football. The same “protect the program at all costs” mentality exists with basketball, or baseball, or track, or volleyball. Or any sport really, be it professional, college and even high schools. It might not be apparent on the surface, but dig deep enough, and watch the wagons circle.
And New Mexico.
Protect them from the detractors, from the muckrakers, from the haters. Protect it from the evil that might lay in the background, because without our (insert sport), what will we have?
Perhaps this is just an extreme view that comes from the rawness of what Louis Freeh’s investigation revealed.
No, not the cover-up that Penn State head coach Joe Paterno, president Graham Spanier and athletic director Timothy Curley devised to avoid shame and blame.
Freeh unintentionally exposed the nerve that every person in every town and city in every state — and perhaps in every country — doesn’t want to touch.
When it comes to sports, what are we willing to do to protect the program?
I’m beginning to dread the answer.
Contact James Barron at 986-3045 or email@example.com.