'I want my highlights back'
By Sgt. Michael Molinaro
CAMP LIBERTY, Iraq-As a youngster, I couldn't wait for the sports segment of the local news to come on. It seemed like the first 20 minutes of the newscast took an eternity as I waited to hear about what Lynn Swann had to say after practice or how many points Mario Lemieux scored in last nights game.
I love sports but I think subconsciously it was more than that. The evening news talked about murders and unemployment and all sorts of bad stuff. But then the sports came on and it was action, celebrations and honoring achievements: positive material that we were neglected to for that first 20 minutes.
Then ESPN got more and more popular, my parents finally subscribed to this new thing called cable TV, and I had highlights galore at my disposal. It was fantastic. So I ask myself today: what happened to the highlights?
It seems like the sports segment has gotten in synch with the rest of the news and gone negative. I crave for sports news while deployed. When I got off of my shift I can't wait to see what happened in games back home, no matter the teams. Same for when I go to chow to eat; I crave for the highlights and games to watch.
For the past two weeks, I have been subjected to Roger Clemens, syringes, gauze pads, trainers sticking athlete's wives in the rear with growth hormones, and all kinds of other stuff sports fans are just tired of.
Before that it was either about Michael Vick, or Spygate, or Pacman Jones "making it rain." It disgusts me. I know I am not alone when I say I want my sports shows back. I am not saying that these stories shouldn't be discussed. They are from the world of sports so that's what a good journalist will do. But the overblown coverage is nauseating.
Clemens is obviously lying about something. We all know it. He has a legacy to protect and that is what the man is trying to do. But in the end it's Pete Rose, to an extent, all over again. He will deny and deny. That's not a story. When did sports become a male soap opera? Isn't that reserved for World Wide Entertainment wrestling? The day this stuff comes out, OK, it's a big issue and we get to hear all about it. But after that, an occasional update seems logical, not the lead, day in and day out.
How about some highlights? How about a little dose of some analysis about a game or an upcoming playoff run?
It's just like everyone knows Bill Belichick cheats. It's a fact. Who really thinks he only did it that one time? Come on. Yet with everyone knowing that, a lead story on ESPN was "Senator thinks Belichick cheated more than once." Give me a break. How about "LeBron James scores the final 10 points of the game as the Cavaliers rally against rival Detroit?"
I want the highlights back. If ESPN goes the way of MTV, which gave up on actually showing videos about five years ago, I and countless other sports fans won't know what to do with ourselves. I know we can get our sports from a variety of internet sites, but we want our highlights back, our biting commentary, and our blooper reels.
ESPN has even been running a segment lately titled "Greatest Highlights." I love the highlights, but it almost comes across to me like they are reminiscing about the days when highlights made the show.
We don't care that some player got busted driving drunk. We don't care that a player was seen at an illegal poker game in some dirty basement. Who cares? We want dunks, end zone dances, and "back-back-back-back-back."
This is the year we demand that we get our sports back. Enough is enough. Who's with me?
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