The Breakdown: A great column |

The Breakdown: A great column

summit daily news
Summit County, Colorado
Sports editor Bryce Evans

In the recent aftermath of the Vancouver Games (and in particular, the gold medal hockey game), a glaring problem in sports was revealed.

OK, it’s actually been “revealed” every time a major sports championship was decided, a player set some sort of record or any team or athlete did something great in the 23 years I’ve been alive.

But we’ve got to be timely here, so let’s use the Games as an example to start out with.

Here are some story lines/claims I’ve heard in the last two weeks since The Great One lit the Olympic cauldron in Vancouver:

– Bode Miller wins three medals in one Games. With four career Olympic medals, Miller is declared as the greatest American male alpine skier of all time.

– Lindsey Vonn, despite injuries, takes home a pair of medals. Combine that performance with her World Cup track record, and the Minnesota-native is now the greatest American female alpine skier of all time.

– With hockey reaching its peak of skill and speed, the NHL-filled Olympic competition must be the greatest hockey tournament ever played.

– After winning a World Junior gold medal, a Stanley Cup title and, now, an Olympic gold medal, Canada’s Sidney Crosby is clearly the greatest and most accomplished 22-year-old in the history of team sports.

(Note: That last one was actually talked about on ESPN Monday for hours. Seriously, people argued for hours and hours about how Crosby must be the greatest 22-year-old ever.)

In case you didn’t get my point, what I’m trying to get at is the word “great.” You know, that word everyone wants to throw along with every noteworthy accomplishment in modern sports today.

Don’t get me wrong, some things are certainly great. For instance, Wayne Gretzky is unquestionably the greatest hockey player ever; a Chicago-style hot dog is hands down the greatest dog of all time; and Gump Goosenberry is the best badminton player to ever live.

So I made up that last one, but that still leaves us with two.

And that’s about where it ends.

Somehow, we still want to proclaim everything we see as being great.

All fall, talking heads on TV boasted that, if he won his second Super Bowl, Peyton Manning would go down as the greatest quarterback of all time. Of course, he tossed, essentially, the game-ending pick, and the Colts lost to the Saints.

In basketball, LeBron James has been called “King James” since he was 18. And coincidentally, he still has the same amount of NBA titles (zero) as he did when he got that nickname.

I’m sorry, but don’t you have to rule over something to be a king?

I guess not in sports.

You see, we always blow things out of perspective every time something worthwhile happens in sports. We just can’t help it. Between the 24/7 sports coverage, access to hundreds of games on TV and unparalleled access to athletes through social media, we need something to fill all this new space with.

Really, we don’t want to feel that all our time was wasted. Because, if Lindsey Vonn is the greatest American skier we’ve ever seen, then it was well worth watching NBC’s extensive 47-hours of Vonn stories, montages and race coverage to learn that the country’s greatest skier rubbed a smelly, Austrian cheese all over her leg.

Don’t get down about it, though. At least, you didn’t waste your time reading the past 624 words.

After all, this is the greatest sports column ever written.

Sports editor Bryce Evans is hoping his Chicago Cubs are great this year and can be reached at

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