Whadda'ya think? Every sports fan has an opinion
The one common denominator among sports fans is opinion: Every fan has one and is eager to express it. Here are a few topics to assess.
With sports as with everything else in life, we have to take the bad with the good, but at times it can get overwhelming: the losing, the rule-breaking, the trash-talk, the money-hunger, the egos. People can be forgiven for turning off the television and using the sports page to line a dog crate. As fans we have the option to walk away– at least for a little while.
But what about the athletes for whom all that’s disappointing about sports is the stuff of their daily lives? What can they do?
They can complain on Twitter like Bernard Berrian. Or throw stones like Zack Greinke, blame the referees like Michael Vick, pout like Alex Rodriguez or throw tantrums like Serena Williams. There are myriad ways athletes can react to disappointment, most of them unbecoming. When a job is mixed up with power and dominance, reacting gracefully to even minor disappointments can seem weak. And no athlete wants that.
So what do we make of the Colts’ third-string– no, back up– no, starting— quarterback, Curtis Painter? He spent two uncomplaining years in Peyton Manning’s shadow, silently bore the humiliation of watching Kerry Collins usurp his position, and held his tongue when an Indianapolis Star reporter wrote that the team “may as well stick with Curtis Painter.”
Is Painter weak, or is his reluctance to complain a strength? Would we respect him more– or less– if he publicly criticized his team and his coaches?
Has NASCAR gone too far?
Talladega Superspeedway has announced that it will award $100,000 to the driver with the most lead changes in the Sprint Cup on October 23 if the 43-car field sees 100 lead changes during the 188-lap race. Are things really looking that bad for the sport?
NASCAR’s popularity, which has been dwindling in recent years, seems to be on the upswing. Ratings for several races, including the Daytona 500, were up over last year, due in large part to the new points system that has increased competition and decreased confusion, a change fans have been begging for for years. But this latest attempt to up the ante flies in the face of what race fans say they want, which is less emphasis on “a good points day” and more emphasis on winning races.
Talladega already holds the record for the most lead changes at 88, and 12 more could prove disastrous. Already known as one of NASCAR’s most dangerous tracks, Talladega has instituted some rules for the upcoming race, including larger restrictor plate openings to increase horsepower and disallowing lubricant on bumpers, making bump-drafting harder.
Has NASCAR recklessly compromised safety with the $100,000 bonus? Is the promise of increased ratings worth the risk?
And finally, overheard at the Hampden-Sydney homecoming game: UVA football coach Mike London has one more year to right the ship before his grace period ends. Are three years ample time for a coach to turn a program around, or should he be allowed more– if only to fully assess the impact of the first full recruiting class?
And if that’s the case, should the coach be assured another year to work the kinks out of his program? Should Virginia allow London more– or less– time to adapt to the ACC’s expansion, shaking up the conference as it does?
Surely you have an opinion.
Juanita lives on a farm in Charlotte County with her husband, son, and many dogs.