The Breakdown: It must have just slipped our minds |

The Breakdown: It must have just slipped our minds

summit daily news
Summit County, Colorado
Sports editor Bryce Evans

Naturally, I’m a fairly forgetful person. It may take me three days to remember to take the garbage out or to drop something in the mail or pick something up at the store. That’s not to say I have a bad memory, because I can tell you off the top of my head that Wayne Gretzky had 894 regular-season NHL goals and can name the last 20 or so winners of golf’s U.S. Open. Little things in my daily life though, seem to slip my mind from time to time.

And I think that’s a bit of a tendency in our culture, too, at least when it comes to sports.

For instance, we’ve all gotten caught up in the hysteria of the Yankees’ rumble into the World Series and Alex Rodriguez’s emergence as a fall star. Somehow though, we forgot that we all hated A-Rod because he admittedly took steroids. It slipped our minds, somehow, that praising an athlete for showing his “natural abilities” in crunch time, as ESPN has done for the last two weeks, is

a bit hypocritical when six months ago we were questioning whether any of his abilities were natural at all.

And how about the Cardinals hiring Mark McGwire as a hitting coach this week? Have we already forgotten when he – or at least a shriveled version of who he used to be – stood before Congress and avoided personal steroid questions the way pitchers used to avoid throwing strikes to him? I guess we’re supposed to shrug it off and say, “At least they didn’t hire him as the team’s nutritionist.”

Maybe it’s a bit of selective memory, in that we just want to enjoy watching the games and not have to constantly be reminded of how seemingly everything in baseball over the past 20 years may have been about as legitimate as pro wrestling.

Really, that’s not that much of a bad thing. After all, sports are supposed to be a release from our problems. I’ve never watched a game with the intent of being reminded of why my day was bad; I’m simply watching to escape from it.

I’ve always said that the sole purpose of professional sports is entertainment. We follow our leagues and our teams because we enjoy it, not because we’re going to learn some valuable life lesson from it. If you want to see a life-altering experience through sports, don’t turn on the TV, watch a local high school coach impact the lives of his players, watch a local high school team give everything they have for nothing but pride and their teammates.

I’ve mentioned all that before in columns, so I’m not going to bore you with it.

The real question here is if it’s really that bad of a thing that we forget, without forgiving, A-Rod’s extracurriculars? I mean, should we be outraged that McGwire is now back in baseball? Should we only be able to enjoy watching guys like Derek Jeter or Joe Mauer that we can (hopefully) always be sure they’re clean?

It’s a tough question.

Not everything is going to be perfect in sports, and that’s part of the fun of being a fan.

Because, the bottom line is that you don’t have to forgive A-Rod or Big Mac to be able to enjoy watching them play or coach, because, really, that has little to do with anything. Even if you let their past transgressions slip your mind while you’re watching, all that really matters is that you don’t forget.

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