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  • Writer's pictureToddlb

Unsportsmanlike Conduct

About a month ago, despite losing his summer job coaching basketball, my son donated ten of his last 11 bucks to George Floyd's GoFundMe memorial campaign. He did so without fanfare. Not a peep. I'm not sure who to credit, but I suspect that following the Twitter & Instagram accounts of the likes of Lebron James, Kemba Walker, and Jaylen Brown may have played a part. The NBA is currently crowded with Kareem Abdul Jabbar and Bill Russell righteousness. Not a bad place to find role models these days.

I've not always held jocks in high-esteem. I remain dismissive and suspicious. The behavior that landed Emilio Estevez's Andrew Clark in detention is certainly not fictional. From the Dead Kenneys to DEVO, jocks are portrayed as brutes and bullies. Based on my high school experiences, I'd say the songs are mostly accurate.


I was raised by a three-sport jock who'd be really proud of his grandson today. So you never know.

Before everything went awry this spring, I was all set for a new baseball season. I'd even selected a new nemesis to loath through 162 games: Alex Bregman. Astro. Signal Stealer. Brash bat flipper. An prototypical arrogant jock. I really hadn't such a perfect candidate since the days of Alex Rodriguez.

And, yet... Bregman has been pretty dang righteous in both COVID generosity and Black Lives Matter responsiveness. He did not dither on either subject, reacting to both with the empathy one would expect from a human (it's not hard, GOP. Really.). Baseball is the cruelest of sports. Its wickedness and greed are legendary. Its players seem the most disconnected and dispassionate about the world-at-large. So, my miscalculation on Bregman came as a pleasant surprise. I guess I'll have to find a new nemesis. Brett Gardner is a hothead and a Yankee. I wonder where he stands on fairness, justice, and common sense.

Or, maybe instead of unearthing more wickedness, I'll simply focus on celebrating unsung heroes like my dad and my sons.

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