Friday, December 11, 2009

A decade in fallen sports heroes

Gosh, it's been forever since I blogged on here but this is usually the time of year when everybody's busy. I try to juggle it all with work, keeping tabs with people, shopping and keeping up on things. Like me, you're probably sick of hearing and reading about Tiger Woods. So he's had several affairs (10 at last count?) and he may have been drinking before the car crash. By the time the 2000-09 decade is over, we have another sports hero who has taken a dramatic turn.

I admit this has been a bad calendar decade for sports all in itself. Yeah I know, we've had our own St. Louis Cardinals win the Series ('06!), plus 2 baseball teams who hadnt won a world series for 3/4s of a century win their first World Series in a long time. But whats mostly been dominating the news this decade is the steroids scandals, basketball players gone bad and demanding too much, and of course, greed when it comes to the sports players. As Jack Buck once put it, 'This is their way of getting even with the owners'. Probably the biggest blow came to O.J. Simpson as he was found guilty for that hotel room incident last year. I remember reading an op-ed column about it (don't remember author) called 'A True Fallen Hero'. He talked about in the 1970s where O.J. Simpson dominated pre-teen boys walls and people from all races looked up to him. O.J. Simpson was a person who could do it all: be a football hero, an actor, and a celebrity pitchman. Of course, all that changed in 1994 when he accused of murdering his ex-wife and her lover. But despite of the acquittal, there was still a lot of speculation. The final nail in the coffin came last year as we saw the 'real side' of O.J. Simpson.

Its hard to find a sports hero. And by the way, this has gone on for a long time as far as controversy. In the 1930s, Babe Ruth was one of a kind out on the field but outside the game he was a 'boozing womanizer' that fans quickly forgave. I don't think it was such a big deal back then what they did in their outside life. But society is different today as public figures, no matter who they are (politicians, actors, sports figures), have to deal with gossip all the time. After all, that's what we get for being in 'The Information Age'.

It's looking like my pick for 'Athlete of the Decade' is Lance Armstrong. I'll get to more on that in a future blog. Before the year and month is over, I want to post a few lists of the best of 2009 as well as the best of 2000-09. Be on the lookout!

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