Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Does the "E" Stand for Exploitive?

Here’s a special “thank you” to the sports reporters of ESPN.com for finally giving me perspective on 9/11. Gene Wojociechowski tells me that sports shouldn’t matter on 9/11. Thanks, Gene. This is a conclusion that I never would have reached on my own. I, like many of the ESPN generation, take sports much, much too seriously. And I know how ESPN just hates that, taking sports seriously that is. I spend most days pushing old women into traffic to get to the sports bar a little bit faster. I’ve been known to punch strangers in the gut who wear clothing of a team I despise. I start the wave in church. But Gene your words have taught me that there is more to life than sports. Thank you for freeing my mind and my soul.

To Bob Harig and his heroic story of 9/11’s everlasting impact on the sport of golf, thank you sir. The story of a golf event cancelled after 9/11, golfers stranded in their private planes, circling, looking for somewhere to land, brings my own memories flooding back. Your coverage of, gasp, increased security at golf events causes me to think that possibly the terrorists have won at least a small victory. Golf has always been a sport of the people, white, black, rich, poor, men and women treated fairly and equally, it’s a shame that this increased security takes away from the intimate fan experience.

It’s good to see in the days surrounding the 9/11 anniversary that every media outlet is got into the act. Each channel caring more. Each channel remembering more. Each channel doing more. Each channel fighting to be the authority on 9/11. Everyone attempting to be the most pious and one-upping each other until the day ceases to have meaning. Thank god for the media, because if it weren’t for you I probably would have been roaming the streets for crack on 9/11. I simply would have forgotten about it.

And ESPN, you saw this happening and you said to yourself “we’re not news, we’re sports, but we can out-care, out-pious, out-do anyone better than anyone. Why not spin the sports/September 11 angle. Let’s own it.” And you do own it. With years of experience exploiting your audience you do it with a style and a grace like no other and I thank you for it. No more full body paint for me, no more swearing at Little League games, no more clothes-lining elementary school students in Yankees gear, for now I, after five years, finally have perspective.

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