As per NFL tradition, the defending Super Bowl champions will kick off the new season on the Thursday before the remaining teams begin their respective seasons. The Super Bowl champion New York Giants, however, will not be starting their regular season on the Thursday but the Wednesday.
The National Football League announced that they decided to push their always-galvanizing opener back to a day earlier so its schedule doesn’t conflict with a speech to be made by United States President Barack Obama, which is scheduled for Thursday, September 6.
However, a significant motivation for me to watch sports is to avoid politics. Politics makes people cynical and quite frankly, since Republican Party leader Mitt Romney looks uncannily like a jackass boss I once had, nothing would give more pleasure than to punch him right in the mouth. Woody Allen said it best as Alvy Singer in ‘Annie Hall‘: “You know the ethics those guys have. It’s like a notch below ‘child molester’.”
Aren’t you sick and tired of hearing about the economy? So am I! Even if you answered “no,” I’m still saying “so am I!” Yes, I escape the dreaded discussions about the economy to watch a bunch of guys who make approximately 50 times the normal worker’s wage. But so what? Of all the fans that come out to see a sporting event, not one of those fans pays to see an owner. Okay, maybe a few do but they’re just on another playing field (no pun intended, believe it or not). But sports is, and will likely always be, a personal escape from everything that’s real in the world.
In the autumn of 2001, the fans of New York rallied around their beloved Yankees to escape the all-too-harsh reality and aftermath of September 11. In normal circumstances, the Yankees would have been loathed that fall as they were just a couple of outs away from becoming the first team to win four-straight World Series titles since the 1953 version of the Bronx Bombers. But this was different. The United States particularly had its foundation shaken. A country and a city that seemed on the verge of falling by the wayside weeks earlier now built themselves up so far that nothing would bring them down.
At the end of the day, sports may be as trivial as what shoes your crush down the hall wears on Tuesdays but sports is, nevertheless, an escape and a healthy one at that. If the alternative was hearing about a quadruple homicide in an otherwise-safe apartment building in a friendly part of town, I’d rather see Barry Sanders run 80 yards from scrimmage to paydirt. I don’t mean to make it seem like I’m turning a blind eye but how much of this can we deal with? I was inspired when I saw a 6th-round draft pick by the name of Tom Brady lead his team to three Super Bowls and have his name mentioned in the same breath as Roger Staubach, Terry Bradshaw and (Brady’s boyhood idol) Joe Montana. Conversely, when I hear about John Doe’s schizophrenic neighbour who fondles herself with broomstick, it discourages me from making any contact with the outside world.
As for Obama’s speech that the NFL have went out of their way to clear a path for, what will be the importance of it? Obama’s going to step up to a podium, say something about what a great country the United States is and discuss what he’s going to do to change the world. Enough already, Barack! Obama was brought in with so much hope, so much promise and for what? To put it simply, Barack Obama is the Ryan Leaf of American politics. He talked the talk but he just can’t walk the walk. Give me (Giants quarterback) Eli Manning throwing for 300 yards anytime. After all, unlike Obama, no one believes in the younger brother of Peyton. Yet, he not only won two Super Bowls but he won them both against the aforementioned Brady. How many rings have you got Obama? Better yet, how many rings do any politicians have that actually mean something to them? Newt Gingrich, I’ll give you more than enough time to answer that one.
Sports or politics: how can you ask that? It’s not even remotely fair!