Friday, July 28, 2006



One of the reasons I like Major League Baseball is because I like rooting for a team. It's enjoyable to identify with a cohesive group of players, and follow them year to year, win or lose. But these days, it's almost as if the media, and the franchises themselves, intentionally downplay the notion of a team that stays together for any length of time. The focus is strictly on winning, even if that means trading away half the players for new ones. For me, it takes something major out of the game. The Washington Nationals are on a five-game winning streak, but the papers and sports talk shows are obsessed with who will be traded to what teams before the trading deadline. Talk of Alphonso Soriano's trade status overshadows the National's comeback win in the ninth inning. Who am I cheering for? A brand name? The team owner? It's almost like they don't want me to form too close a relationship with the current group of guys, because they could go at any minute. That's the effect it has on me.

Plus there's the steroids...

Saturday, July 15, 2006



The headline on AOL news is "Woman Calls 911 to Get a Date." The subtitle is "Listen to her ask for 'cutie pie' cop."

I suppose the idea is that we're supposed to laugh at this woman. Maybe some folks listening to the tape will say "she's a loser."

Based strictly on the headlines - so I could be wrong - I imagine a lonely woman, perhaps one who idealized a police officer and took a chance, albeit in an ill-advised way.

Shame goes to us if we laugh at her misfortune; shame on AOL for trying to capitalize on her embarrassing faux pas and profit from her awkward predicament. But hey, anything for a laugh. Anything for ratings.

So often, that seems to be the world. Point your fingers at the ones who trip and fall, who stumble and do stupid things. Lay on some biting, witty sarcasm. In the back of your mind, remind yourself that you're not them.

There is another version of the world, where we have pity on the lovelorn, the desperate, the clumsy, those who commit errors. We realize "there but for the grace of God (or luck) go I." We lift others up instead of getting off on feeling superior to them.

For one day, sure enough, we'll be the ones looking up, flushed, stammering, mortified, scared, suddenly unsure of oursleves, and we'll appreciate a helping hand and an understanding heart.

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