Our colleague Roy Black often starts his Facebook posts bemoaning further evidence of the decline of Western Civilization. Usually it is a new idea from Donald Trump: banning cabbage (causes flatulence), registering people who download Timothy Leary books or Beowulf (weirdos) , outlawing Newark, New Jersey (have you been there? A wasteland). Today it was something different.
Mr. Black was concerned that the obituary of a successful doctor, surgeon and medical researcher contained, at the end, a request that donations be made to a particular football scholarship at the University of Pittsburgh. Black found this troubling.
First, people from Pittsburgh are different. They talk funny, "youins" and eat weird things (french fries smashed into sandwiches) and they have a fierce civic pride that is expressed in their support for their sport teams.
Second, our admiration for sports figures knows neither bounds, nor is grounded in reason. Many sports heroes don't deserve our support.
Joe Jackson betrayed his sport-baseball. Babe Ruth was a drunken glutton. Ty Cobb a racist. Pete Rose bet on the games he managed.
OJ Simpson beat his wife, and then killed her. Rae Carruth killed his pregnant girlfriend. Adrian Peterson beat his young son with a weapon and stuffed leaves and dirt into his mouth to stop him from screaming. Ben Roethlisberger was accused of raping two different women on two different occasions. Both Peterson and Roethlisberger will play today, their fans cheering their athletic exploits.
The fact is that beyond the citizens of United States, the citizens Canada, Mexico, Central and South America, Europe, Africa and Asia worship their soccer (football) teams and athletes, although many of the athletes, in their personal life, are not worthy of worship. Many are ignorant thugs.
Who is more important to the planet- a striker, a goalie, a quarterback, a home-run hitter, or the group of scientists that will invent the machine to remove carbon emissions from the atmosphere and cool the planet? Who gets more money and admiration?
Sports at their best remind us of our own accomplishments in youth. The day we hit one out. The coach who brought the best out in us and taught us we can do more than we ever imagined. The team of underdogs that came together and beat the favorite. The 69 Mets. The 1980 US Hockey Team. Persistence and perseverance when all seems lost- any Cubs team in the last 100 years. Perfection- the 1972 Dolphins.
Sports has a place. Today's Washington Post has a story on the young Marco Rubio, and the solace he found in the Dolphins as a young boy and teenager when his world collapsed when his older's sister's husband was arrested in a notorious Miami drug trafficking case. Mr. Black will remember the case: he represented the ringleader Mario Tabraue in one of the first big federal cocaine cowboy prosecutions.
Any teacher is worth more to society than any power forward or guard. But no teacher earns what Dwayne Wade makes. Any ER doctor saves more lives in a week than a starting pitcher does in a lifetime. Any assistant public defender struggling under a staggering caseload helps more people than Justin Beiber (another Black client), yet no PD will earn in a lifetime of public service what Bieber earns in a year.
Mr. Black's concern is hardly startling new news. It has always been this way, and probably always will. The Bill Gates and the Steve Jobs of the world will get their due for changing the world and will become wealthy beyond all means. So will the wall street trader who decodes the scam of bundled mortgages and sells the market short. Jobs and Gates changed the world. The trader made billions for himself and his company.
And so it goes.
The Washington Post breathlessly reported today that North Korea's all girl band Moranbong left China in a hurried huff, hours before a concert was scheduled to begin a goodwill tour.
The performers of Moranbong were personally chosen by Kim Jong Un himself.
More evidence of the decline of Eastern Civilization.
Mr. Black can rest comfortably, knowing it's not just Western Civilization in peril.
See You In Court tomorrow.
Oh... our picks for today:
Cheaters -3 in Houston. Enough is enough.
Green Bay - 5 over Cowpokes. Ditto.
Tennessee +6 over J....E....T...S... Jets Jets Jets.
Giants over Fins, pick em, Monday Night.
Russia -29 over Turkey. A "Gulf Of Tonkin" just occurred between a Russian destroyer and a Turkish vessel. Putin is spoiling for a fight and knows Obama won't intercede.
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