Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Us, Weakly

There are many reasons I love sports and follow it the way I do. For one, I am a compulsive gambler. I also have nothing better to do than own twenty different fantasy teams. But I used to think the main reason was because I love competition. Watching men in real time battle physically and mentally is like nothing else; it's pure reality. Well, unless you're watching baseball.

But this whole Tiger Woods mess is shining a different light on what I may have secretly enjoyed about athletics all along; all of the information that I want, and the kind of information I want, is dependent on me. If you follow politics or celebrities, you only get what the newsmakers want to give you. Only after sifting through piles and piles of bullshit can you actually find unbiased information. Everything is blown up, polarized and branded for mass consumption. Barely any of it is real.

That's why the Woods story isn't a sports story. Yeah, it's all over ESPN and every other sports network, but hey, it's Tiger freakin' Woods. I wrote on Friday that we were lucky that Tiger crashed his car on Thanksgiving weekend because it would turn into a non-story. That was before it came out that he was having an affair. Now it's turned into a tabloid fiasco.

And all of these "revelations" about Tiger are fed to us. We can't look up stats for his marriage or break down footage of his parenting skills. We can only learn what we've been told, with no chance of finding out the truth for ourselves. This formula is what fuels the tabloid world and networks like CNN and Fox News. We either have no way to learn how Brad and Angelina are really doing or don't take the time to really read the President's health care plan. We take everything at face value.

But sports has layers that we can dissect ourselves. Everything is out in the open in three hours of game tape. It would be like watching a Zapruder film of Woods' car crash. There would be no need for sensationalism if everyone had the same knowledge to work with.

Not to say this whole incident has no sports angle. I can talk all day about how I think this could affect his career. Will he cave mentally and no longer return to form or turn into Michael Jordan with an "Eff You" attitude where he simply doesn't care anymore? It will be interesting to watch. But every piece of "news" that breaks from here on out will be basically meaningless, because it's coming from sources that make a living out of controlling the story.

Sorry, I'm a thinker, and I like to get the information for myself, because I can trust myself. I don't need to be told what to think, keep the tabloids to yourself. Plus, there aren't any bookies that let me gamble on Jon and Kate.


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