Thursday, February 1, 2007

Sports Illustrated Hates America

From the "Life of Reilly" column in the February 5, 2007 Sports Illustrated (sorry, no link, not on line yet, relying on dead Old Media, does it still count?):

So what do these five athletes have in common? They were all killed in Iraq during a two-week period in January.

. . . .

Five athletes. Five futures. All gone.

Five of 84 Americans killed from New Year's Day through Sunday. Five of 3,084 Americans killed since the war began.

Athletes love teams, and when they run out of sports teams they sometimes join bigger teams, ones with Humvees for huddles and tombstones for trophies and coaches they've never met sending them into a hell the never imagined.

And they throw their whole selves into it anyway, because they are brave and disciplined and will chew through concrete to win the game.

But what if the game can't be won?
What is it with these sports reporters? First Keith Olbermann, now Rick Reilly. Why are they, still part of a small, lonely crowd of mainstream national newspeople, taking a stand? Is it because they spend their days following men and women, boys and girls, chase their dreams and it hits close to home when those dreams get snatched away? Is it because these athletes seem so invulnerable when they're on the field that it's hard to believe that they're dying so young, killed by bullets and car bombs? Or is it because watching people strive and celebrate can't help but spark an appreciation for the human race and it hurts so goddamned much to see a member of it snuffed out in a failed war built on lies?

Or maybe it's just because Olbermann and Reilly are honest, intelligent men of courage. Whatever the motivation, they're telling the truth, loudly. It'd be nice if our political pundits took a lesson from them.

2 comments:

daveminnj said...

also, i think it hits sports writers hard when athletes die
because the athletes had it made,
didn't have to go, and represented
to them
the eternal youth we all thought we would have when we were 10.

perhaps, in some hidden corner of
their minds, sportswriters guess
that the hero-worship and mythologizing that they helped foster helped get young people killed.

Snag said...

That's a good point. The myth of the invulnerable warrior-athlete that's built up in the sports pages and sportscast probably does hang over those who further it.