Sunday, February 01, 2009

Bullet Bob and why I don't care about the Super Bowl

One does not read this blog for the sports. You have probably noticed. The Olympics were pretty interesting because you don't get to see that kind of stuff very often and I like to watch rodeos but other than that, there's not much room in my life for televised sports. I can appreciate how much effort goes into such games but I'm just really not interested anymore.

I saw in the news that "Bullet" Bob Hayes was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame this week and it hit me that the reason I lost interest in the game started with him. He was actually my hero when I was in grade school. I had his poster on my wall over my bed and loved to pretend that I was as fast as he was when I ran. He motivated me as a boy of about 6 or 7 to run hard and play hard and enjoy the game of football more than any other game. I wanted to be just like "Bullet" Bob.

I don't remember how old I was exactly when I heard the news that Bob Hayes had been arrested on drug charges. Looking back on it, what he did was not too uncommon for today's world including sports heroes but back in the day when I was just a young boy wanting to be like that man, what he did was unthinkable. I vividly remember going into my room and slowly taking down his poster from my wall and folding it up and putting it in the trash. I was devistated.

I went on to play football in middle school and high school and loved the game much more than it loved me. You know the joke, "I may be short but I'm slow!" That was me and so I knew pretty quick that my future in football was short-lived. I still enjoyed watching the game some, it was just that seeing grown men abuse the system that put them there, go on strike for more money and use all kinds of drugs and all that stupid stuff just put a bad taste in my mouth for professional games.

This isn't about bashing Bob Hayes. I just don't care who wins the Super Bowl today. I am all about the Super Bowl party that I'm about to go to. Who knows, maybe they will even have some good commercials?


Don Dodson said...

Good thing our Olympic swimmers are pure and clean like the wind-driven snow. We've got to have someone to look up to. But these days that kind of thing is ok. Michael Phelps could still be President, provided that he didn't inhale.

The Donald said...

I can understand the disillusionment when a star athlete falls from his/her lofty perch. (Bonus question: Can a star B.A.S.S. Tournament fisherperson fall from their perch?) Like most people, I get pretty disgusted when I see overpaid, overprivileged 'celebrities' abuse the blessings they've been given, and forget that with that privilege comes accountability. A variation on noblesse oblige, you might say.

But you can count me among those who were glad to see Bullet Bob inducted in Canton, for the following reasons:

1) Bob Hayes came from dirt-poor beginnings, proving himself in the pre-professional Olympics days by winning two gold medals in Tokyo '64.

2) Hayes set his goals and he achieved them. Drafted by the Dallas Cowboys, his blazing speed changed the way defense is played, and he became the only player to have achieved both Olympic gold and a Super Bowl Ring in '72. The distinction still stands.

3) While Bullet Bob probably made a fair living in his career, athletes in those days were nowhere near the ridiculous salaries (even adjusting for inflation) paid today. Why does that matter? I guess I feel the players of yore were more motivated by love of the game than by money.

4) As far as I can tell, Hayes' drug use did not enhance his performance, and his arrest/conviction/imprisonment occurred four years after he retired from football. I have no use for druggies, but maybe this was his escape after the lights and adulation of his professional career faded. I don't know if he was or wasn't using during his playing days.

My point is not to give a pass (NPI) to bad behaviour, but to recognize and accept that, save one, all humans who have walked this earth are flawed. It is right for us to celebrate their victories, just as it's our responsibilities to call out their shortcomings.

I don't know if I've ever had a 'hero'. Maybe because, like you, I've felt I'd get sucker punched by some revelation. But I've certainly admired lots of folks. Among the Dallas Cowboys, the one I most admired was, and still is, another Bob (What About Bob?), Lilly.

I watched the game last night, and probably enjoyed the company of my sons and parents as much as the game. We missed most of the half-time, including BS (aw, darn), by watching some reality show about people trying to navigate some obstacle course and getting knocked into a mud puddle.

The nachos, lobster dip, jalapeƱo poppers and chicken livers were delicious!

The Donald said...

Dew, we're all gonna be real mad at you if you had a SB party and made one (or several) of those Bacon Explosion things and didn't invite us!