Tuesday, June 27, 2006


Okay, I'm a sensitive guy. And I don't quite mind saying so. Sometimes I get choked up in movies. Sometimes I'm so happy I actually do cry. Sometimes my palms get sweaty whenever I really get pissed off or embarrassed. Sometimes I get scared. I believe in goodness, kindness and the Golden Rule. I used to write poetry. Really bad poetry. Society would tell me I'm a wuss. And that's fine with me. It's how I was raised and it's how I live.


Sportscenter is my haven. It's a cry-free zone. It's the manliest of manly programs. It's a crazed, superfast, action-crammed hour of television where three and four games go by in a matter of seconds, the statistics presented will make your head spin and the announcer's enthusiastic enunciations could bring anyone out of a slumber on mute. Even the commercials are a high-energy barrage of beer, Gatorade and Chevys. It's a show that's based on heroism--making the play and winning the game. So, when you're watching Sportscenter, you really become completely enveloped in the energy.

There's the rare chance that one day you'll be enjoying Sportscenter and they'll dive into a "human interest" piece which tells a story based on sports, but is so much larger than sports. And, somewhere between when the story begins and the story ends, there's a tragedy. And, in case you need levels of tragedy, it's a tragedy so excruciating and crushing that, well, it never fails in making me cry like a baby.

For instance, how about the two opposing college football players that collided head-to-head on the last play of the game, leaving one player paralyzed and how the player that escaped paralysis befriended the injured player and stayed by his side the rest of his life until his untimely death from a blood clot. He travels cross-country without his wife and kids to visit his grave every year on the anniversary of that game. Sure, I save you on most of the emotion, but it's only because I don't want to double over in a sob right now. Crap, I feel a tear coming on. I really gotta switch to a lighter coffee.

Well, the other day I'm watching and it's always weird whenever they go into one of these stories because the show slows way down and it becomes very somber and serious and the introduction of the story almost warns you that you better get the Kleenex out. Watch for the signs. I'll discuss those at another time. But it's like it goes from Sportscenter to like 48 Hours. Like it drags down to this very deliberately slow, storytelling mode because they want the audience to really feel the story. And cry.

So, I'm watching this story of a high school senior on the wrestling squad and his little brother. One night they're stirred by the sound of yelling downstairs and they go downstairs to find their mother and father fighting and the father has their mother cornered. They go upstairs and find to empty shotguns and come down and fend him away from their mother. Later that night after everyone has gone to bed, they hear two gunshots. The two sons dash downstairs to find both their mother and father dead. Their father shot their mother just before turning the gun on himself. They buried both of the parents before they even graduated high school.

Turns out, their father was secretly bipolar and had lost touch that night. The older brother, despite the huge loss in his family (or of his family), he goes to the state wrestling competition with one goal: win the championship. He loses the first match, wins the next two, then loses the fourth. He would come in eighth in state. At his graduation ceremony, they read a letter that he had written to his parents.

Later days.

I freaking lost it. I just felt like taking the rest of the day off. It was crippling. I left the house to Gump back to work and I'm like wiping off my nose as I lock the door. How unfair! They already know I'm a sensitive guy. Then they rip my heart out and slap me with it. It was brutal.

But it's a testament to how good that show is. And the second your wife/significant other passes off Sportscenter as just another man-show, have her watch one of these segments and she'll never speak in ill-will about ESPN or Sportscenter again. She'll freaking swear by that show. She'll let you watch the re-runs until three o'clock in the morning. She'll let you paint the bathroom astroturf green. She'll let you name the dog Manny.

Crap, gotta go wake up the Mrs. Not a word about that last paragraph. Have a great day folks and take time to cry. It's like a good bath.


sarahsmile3 said...

Or what about the high school basketball manager kid who had autism? When they let him play and he scored all those sweet 3-pointers? "I was hot like a pistol" he said. The whole crowd cheered for him like he just saved earth. I am getting goose bumps as I type this. I menstrate though, so I have an excuse.

j3 said...

Yes, I became tearily happy about that story. Incredible. Sometimes things happen in the arena of sports that completely overshadow the sport itself and SPORTSCENTER never misses a beat.

That story is insanely remarkable.

TX said...

How did I miss this post?!?! I'm with you, bro. Those things are great for the soul.

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