And They All Moved Away From Me At The Armadillo Grill Bar

The Street Hustle

The deadest sports day of the year is Wednesday the week after Independence Day – the day after Major League Baseball’s All-Star game.  For the red-blooded American sports fan, generally male and always rabid as long as there is beer near, this Wednesday, not the Summer Solstice of June 21 or 22, is the longest day of the year.

This year, sports fans desperate for their angry fix had to make due with either the USA Women’s Soccer team playing for the World Cup, re-runs of various so-so College Football games from the 2010 season or the ESPY’s.  For the record, I don’t think soccer is a sport.  Rather, I agree with the late Detroit Tiger’s catcher Birdie Tebbetts view of the game: it’s not a sport, it’s running.

However, I would much rather watch a soccer game than a Sports Awards show.  After all the ESPY’s are a show created by a cable network to celebrate the I not the We of sport.  Of course in the grand scheme of the Social Networking/Free Agent mad sports world, the ESPY’s are just another opportunity for an athlete to create and strengthen his/her brand.  The concept of team, humility, gratitude, hard work and desire are no lost on the Me Me Me athlete.

I brought this subject up to the three guys sitting next to me at the clean well lit, lime green and white Armadillo Grill Wednesday night as the image of Brian Wilson, the San Francisco Giants closer, in his weirdly dyed black beard, Strummer Mohawk while wearing a onsie tuxedo came floating across the screen.

“I don’t understand why there is a Sports Award Show,” I told them.

“Dude, we love the ESPY’s.  They’re better than the Oscars,” a dark haired guy with an arm full of colorful tattoos told me.

“I understand why there are Oscars.  Actors are narcissists by definition.  But athletes are supposed to stand for more than make believe and look at me statements.  Whatever happened to the concept of team,” I asked him.

“Narcissists,” he said.

“Yes.  The ESPY’s make the modern athlete into narcissists,” I said.

He and his two friends stood up and moved away from me in a westward fashion at the top of the lightly stained oak Armadillo Grill bar.  And for just a moment, I felt like the narrator in Alice’s Restaurant.



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