Monday, August 27, 2012

Is being good at sports an "inspirational story"? Part 2

Being good at sports is fun. It can be cool to watch people being good at sports. BUT - is it an "inspirational story"?

Coming out of the Olympics really demonstrated something to me, and it's the standard, predictable narrative for people who are good at sports, and if they fit it, they're heroes in the media.

The narrative is this:
A dedicated athlete has something bad happen to them, hurting their body or feelings, but they're still good at sports anyhow.

If you haven't faced "something bad" then you don't have a good story. Inspirational stories seem to rely on some idea that people all over the world are quitting all the time because of bad things. Bad things happen and they quit being what they are or what they do.

BUT not to athletes. Bad things happen to them, but they are still athletes.

This is not to take away from the genuine "badness" of the things that happen to them. Bad things are bad - and it's unpleasant and unfortunate for everyone involved - but the idea one can only resume doing the thing they're doing (sports) because they're individually great in character, is a bit flawed.

I have a LOT more respect for people who overcome poverty than people who overcome injuries or illness.

If you're an athlete and someone in your life isn't dead or dying, then you've had it easy, man! Be prepared for a long anonymous life in the majors!

I just can't understand why someone has to be sick or dying for someone else to have a "good story."

I guess that's just a rant on the predictability of the sports star narrative - but let's face it, celebrating sports is about as flaky as things get. Enjoying sports is one thing - but dredging the lives of athletes to uncover their
"TSN Turning Point" is getting disgusting.

There are many different narratives, but this one comes up all the time and it's so predictable (right down to the same music in the background, striking the minor notes to tug at your heart strings at just the right moment) that it's becoming a distraction.

But are there fresh new sports narratives that could replace the inane repetition we're hearing all the time? Could I just follow along with another professional league and rekindle my interest?

Part 3: Can other sports fill the void? Part 3

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