Who believes in karma?
I didn't until about five minutes ago, when my original draft of this article disappeared. The whole thing was a tongue-in-cheek homage to me, since the entire sports world seems to be one big exercise in self-promotion these days.
Well, consider me warned. Talking about myself will get me deleted. If I'm lucky, just from this website, not from Earth in general.
Unfortunately, that same revelation hasn't dawned upon most of our athletes. Sure, there'll always be the humble utility infielder who's just happy to have a job; the Jack Haleys of the world, cheering from the end of the bench. Although, if you think about it, Jack Haley was the poster child for "Look at me!"-ism, so perhaps that's a bad example.
The point is, for every Greg Maddux who efficiently throws ten different kinds of changeups, there's a Manny Ramirez who can be counted on to stare at a home run, even longer if the Sox happen to be losing. For every Jason Kidd threading the needle with a perfect bounce pass and running back down the court, we get to see Stephon Marbury beating his chest after hitting a jumper with the Knicks down by thirty (on the rare occasions he decides to show up, anyway).
At the end of the day, it makes sense. These guys are paid to be entertainers, and if nothing else, they certainly entertain. If not, there wouldn't be websites like this to recount their exploits and render our opinions. ESPN would lose half of its daily programming, and the blogosphere would shrivel up and die.
But wouldn't it be nice to appreciate just the act itself, whether it's that changeup, bounce pass, or perfect spiral, and not have to worry that the athlete who engineered the play is going to jump into the crowd demanding hugs and accolades? Chad Johnson is amusing with his antics, but most fans are more appreciative of the touchdown he just scored, or at least I hope that's the case.
So what are we left with? In an era demanding the instant highlight, the quick soundbite, or the witty one-liner, there's no room for consistency, overall performance, and behind-the-scenes production. No one shows up on SportsCenter for setting a legal screen, after all. Although, one could argue that's because there hasn't been a legal screen since SportsCenter debuted, but I digress.
In spite of it all, though, we ARE entertained, and we do write about it, and talk about it at bars and in living rooms across the country. As long as the games are played, there will always be the asthetic beauty and the awe-inspiring talent to override any of the "me first" drama associated with sports, and THAT is why we love sports.
Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to find an end zone full of fans to jump into. What would my first column be without that, right?