When I was young, my mother asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. Of course, I said that I wanted to be the President of the United States, and of course she laughed. She didn't hate the idea of me trying; she just was well-aware how ridiculously impossible that feat would be.
When it comes to sports talk, we are constantly flooded with idiotic requests coming from our fellow fans, sportswriters and TV/radio talk show hosts. We find ourselves at times laughing at them because we are well-aware of how stupid their ideas really are.
This is my list of the 10 most unrealistic changes people want to make in sports. Feel free to chime in.
As a Detroit Lions fan, I loved it when Detroit hosted the Super Bowl. Why? Because that was the only way we would have a chance to see the Vince Lombardi Trophy in Detroit.
So I was angry when I kept hearing complaints from the "football purists" wanting the Super Bowl to be played in a perfectly sunny environment.
OK. Fair enough.
Let's put the game in a traditionally sunny environment like say...Dallas.
How did that go for you?
1. We can't control mother nature. Sometimes she can be nice, sometimes she can be naughty. Regardless, she still going to do whatever she wants. Deal.
2. Read this very carefully...
THIS IS FOOTBALL!
Outside of a lightning strike, a hurricane, a tornado or an earthquake, the game is going to be played. Why? Because it's football, a tough sport played by tough athletes!
The fans are supposed to be just as tough as the players, so man/woman up and go to the game.
I'm a die-hard Detroit Pistons fan.
For many years, I've contested that the 1988-89 and 1989-90 Detroit Pistons, a.k.a "The Bad Boys," had one of the greatest championship runs in National Basketball Association history.
Why? Because during their two-year NBA championship run, they had taken on Larry's Bird's Celtics, Magic Johnson's Lakers, Patrick Ewing's Knicks, Clyde Drexler's Blazers and Jordan's Bulls. And they did it all with a combination of both skill and aggressiveness.
So how is history treating them?
Sadly enough, poorly. Why? Because Detroit is not considered a "big-market" sports city.
The media makes its money off TV ratings. Therefore, they believe that there are at least four cities in America where they can guarantee positive TV ratings.
1. New York
2. Los Angeles
If your team is not in these cities, they are not going to encourage you to root for them, but they will encourage you to root against them.
So does the media really want parity in professional sports?
Say NO and get it over with!
They want at least one best team, coming from either of these four cities, to play for the championship.
Now if you think I'm a liar, fine.
Pay attention to how the media has talked about the Miami Heat. It might be a coincidence that throughout this season, the "NBA experts" had suggested that the Heat could lose to the Knicks, as well as the Lakers, Celtics and Bulls.
The criminal justice system of the United States, despite its controversies, is STILL the greatest system in the world for one reason and one reason alone: It is the only system in the world that will guarantee you an opportunity to seek redemption; that is, if you want it.
When I first read the Scarlet Letter, I couldn't stomach finishing it. Nobody could really prove that Hester Prynne had actually slept with Arthur Dimmesdale. Yet the community was quick to shame her by having her walking around, with the letter "A" on her dress, for the rest of her life.
I said to myself, "Wait a minute! She thought her husband was dead and that husband of hers didn't want to come get her! Who are they to judge that woman, for that long, for doing something she thought at the time was right?
In the end, I did manage to finish the book. I had gone on to find out that the community had not only forgiven Hester Prynne, but gave her a high social status, which had remained with her all the way to her death.
The Scarlet Letter was a book that had but two underlining questions within it.
Just how long are you planning on punishing someone for one bad mistake? Most importantly, what must this person have to do in order to satisfy your definition of "justice served?"
I'm not trying defend the Michael Vicks of the world; what he did was horrible. But you know what, here's a little secret about Vick.
He served his time. He's free to go!
To me, all that you are doing, when you complain about Michael Vick, is hurting my ears.
1. You can't try him for the same crime again.
2. This spectacle failed to put a dent in prevention of the practice of dogfighting.
3. I don't like PETA anyway. Save the dolphins? Tell that to the tuna!
Let it go folks, let it go.
Look, this is our national anthem, and I was upset that Christina Aguilera mulched it up.
But you know what, I don't care. You know why? Because everybody is giving her the "business" about it. That's punishment enough.
The United States of America is the greatest nation on earth, because our constitution has three elements within it that separates us from the other nations' constitutions.
1. The right to bear arms. The ability to defend ourselves from all enemies both foreign and domestic.
2. The separation of church and state. To ensure that an evil "false prophet" does not lead us down a path to destruction, by proclaiming that what he/she is doing is "In the name of GOD."
And the third and most important element—the right to free speech without the fear of persecution. The ability to say anything, within reason, without being arrested, attacked or murdered.
Nowhere does the first amendment shines its brightest than in the singing of the national anthem.
In a brief moment, a singer has an opportunity to show his/her patronage to this country, using his/her own voice and style, without having to worry about a ton of "rules and regulations" concerning how to sing this song.
We're not a communist country, we're America. Let these singers utilize their First Amendment rights and sing the song the way they want to sing it.
People talk too much about what Roseanne Barr and Christina Aguilera did, but few remember what Marvin Gaye and Whitney Houston did.
So remember folks, we are "the land of the free and the home of the brave." Therefore, we have an obligation to to allow our singers the freedom to sing our anthem and they see fit, provided one rule...
DON'T FORGET THE LYRICS!
So let's get this straight.
Old conservative white men are telling us to ban the slam dunk because they couldn't dunk?
I remember my first dunk. It was great because it was a "facial." The guy that tried to block my shot couldn't jump high enough. Sorry.
The slam dunk, when executed properly, is the easiest two points in basketball. There's no coach in this country who is willing to stop this practice.
With that being said, the referees do need to step in when there is a case of unsportsmanlike conduct after a dunk occurs.
Hanging on the rim is a dangerous move because you don't know how strong that rim or your grip is. You can easily hurt yourself, as well as others, should that rim break or if you lose your grip.
Throw the ball down, let go of the rim and go about your business.
Soccer is a fun recreational sport, but has several disadvantages.
1. No money. Sorry, I don't care if my son can play like Pele. If he's a 5-star football or basketball player, that soccer ball is going to turn up "missing"...capiche?
2. Our culture demands high-scoring games, not games that promise that a score could happen. Hockey and soccer doesn't sell well here because of the lack of scoring. While the NHL did make some improvements in terms of scoring, soccer refuses to change. The "promise of scoring" is just too boring to watch here.
3. WINNING! No, I'm not Charlie Sheen...
We're not good at soccer...period!
America loves a winner. When it comes to the Men's World Cup, we suck. When it comes to the Women's World Cup, we started out strong, then regressed. You can't lose like that, then expect people to show up to watch you play.
If you want soccer to succeed here, two things must happen.
1. Show me the money! Average soccer salaries have to be within reasonable distance of football and basketball salaries.
2. WINNING! Team USA soccer has to play a lot better than they're playing now.
G.A. Richards, the first owner of the Detroit Lions, was given historical credit for starting the Thanksgiving Day tradition, even though there is evidence to suggest that such games were held well before the founding of the NFL.
Because of its huge success, the Lions were pretty much given immunity from being taken off that schedule. It was their idea, therefore, they have the right to play on Thanksgiving so long as they want to.
If you don't like that, you have a remote...use it!
Look, the argument is all about money.
The networks that televise the game are losing money because of the low ratings. The NFL doesn't care because it got money up front from the networks, courtesy of the contracts negotiated with them.
In short, the NFL gets paid, the networks don't and now you have Colin Cowherd's "unbiased opinion" shoved up your nether region because he's under pressure to bitch about it.
The Pro Bowl is the "people's game." It's the NFL's way of saying, "Thank you for your support." What the NFL needs to do is to loosen up the game and allow such things like end-zone celebrations and clowning around.
Make the game fun to watch, and people will watch.
Look, I don't mind the universities saying that they have total rights to their "product." But when you see a man working his butt to sell your "product," the least you can do is slide him a couple of dollars, once he completes his obligations to your school, in order to take care of himself and his family.
My plan is simple...trust fund. If they stay all four years, they will have a substantial financial package waiting for them, upon graduation.
Food for thought.
I'm a male chauvinist pig on this issue...OINK, OINK!
I cannot watch women's sports unless those athletes are hot! Sorry...
Men like watching other men play sports. It's called male bonding. Quit trying to make us villains because we want to have time to ourselves.
Men invest more time and money into sports than women. Because of that, we care to invest in male sports versus women's sports.
So the question is, how can women draw men into investing into their sports? The answer is...
SEX. I want to see an attractive woman kick butt.
I can see myself rooting for Danica Patrick to win a race. Why? Because she's hot. Serena Williams in tennis, yep! But can I see an unattractive woman play? No.
Make the games sexier, and we will show up. We're not asking you women to slide down a pole as you enter the field, but we do ask you to check the mirror before you step out there and play.
The United State of America is a free enterprise country. Therefore, every decision that is made here is basically motivated by money.
Every one of these "pet peeves" share one thing in common, solving these problems will lose money.
The National Football League will lose money in ticket sales if it dropped the Lions' Thanksgiving game and the Pro Bowl. Nobody is going to pay for tickets to see a basketball game without slam dunks or a soccer game that takes all day to score. Nobody wants to see women play sports unless those women are hot.
Everybody is not rich and in Florida and California. They don't find themselves spending millions every year to travel to the "perfect Super Bowl site." We don't want parity because we don't want to spend millions traveling to a place we don't really want to go in order to watch a best-of-seven championship series.
But the two things we are willing to do is to pay for tickets, knowing that the money is being used to support the amateur athletes and to be present when someone screws up the national anthem.
America is a surprisingly simple country. When asking for change, keep it simple and ask for something the country really wants.
Food for thought.
I'm now available on Twitter and Facebook under McCleskyphilos. If you think my opinions are wild here...
Wait until you go there.