Johnny Damon, when age and ability are both taken into consideration, was the best available free agent in this off season’s anorexic market. Instead of receiving the due diligence owed from his employer, The Boston Red Sox, both Damon and his representation felt slighted by the organization when they took a decidedly lackadaisical approach toward negotiations. When the New York Yankees stepped up both their pursuit and offer, Damon bolted, shedding ties with the team and fans that catapulted his image into stardom, and granted him the opportunity to shine on Baseball’s biggest stage. He did this with all the complex tact of a thief in the night, tainting sacred memories still lifting the spirit of Greater New England. The situation’s simplicity couldn’t be less fervently understated than in the above paragraph. Damon is now being directly compared to such historic luminaries as Benedict Arnold for the crime of treason. Has this transaction been overcomplicated, trapped in a spindly web of a sports nation’s double standards?
The answer lies in a common place, within the field of creased dollar bills, where unity and friendship are reduced as rubble, buzz words in a forgotten vocabulary.
Sports have an interesting niche in our society. In a corrupt world, athletic endeavors alleviate the hurt from living a directionless, middle class existence, where the transaction wire of our local sports team holds far more resonance inside our emotional spheres than the unending proliferation of those damn bills. Sports balance out reality, and it works for me just fine.
However, when this prescribed perfect world begins to seep its influence into everyday life, that is precisely when the hypocrisy flows at a discount rate, purging forth from commentators, writers, and T.V. Talking Heads. The fair and foul lines exist for a reason. Viewing our obsession from the stands compares favorably to the examination of an opposite reality while perched at a safe distance, peering through the looking glass at a game that means undeniably more than the word’s narrow implication.
We always forget that a refined business system carries this existence on its back, serving as a life support system. Expecting a professional athlete, emphasize professional, to forego his every day needs as an individual creates a double-edged dagger, which pierces both the players and fans. Indecipherable as it may sound, these players are people, with families and responsibilities. Would you take the higher offer?
The double standard exists as a necessity to separate our world from theirs. It angers us when the figures populating this alternate environment behave as we do, whatever the vice may be. They are somehow supposed to be above us, physically and morally. We created Comic Book heroes, and why is that?
Must have gotten bored while paying those bills.
To participate in a chorus questioning the integrity of a man when balanced against imaginary ideals lies in tantamount with a parent being shocked at the discovery of an existence without the Tooth Fairy.
The motives behind a cheer or boo never do require a succinct line of investigation. We ask athletes to mirror our least complicated emotions.
Somewhere a sun rises in Boston, Coco Crisp the new conquering hero, and life goes on.
It should all be so simple.
One reply on “Life Goes On by Matt Waters”
I can’t wait to… see Damon from the center field bleachers in August when I visit Fenway. I will not boo him because I don’t blame free agents for leaving teams. I will cheer him (once) for what he’s done for the Sox. After that, he’s the enemy. I have to wonder though, if he’ll get a Carlton Fisk-like reception in the outfield, with people throwing combs and razors at him.