Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Stuff happens

The last sentence of my previous post (see "Calvin Johnson and the wrong place") was "stuff happens".

Indeed it does, sometimes out of the blue. While many have come to play the "blame game", as in everything bad has to be somebody's fault, that argument doesn't always hold water. They miss the bigger picture. Sometimes things ---- just ---- happen. And they can be unfortunate or even tragic. Call it God's will -- if you will.

There's no good reason innocent babies should die from various causes while some evil people live to be a ripe old age. But it happens. You can be the safest driver in the world, but still get killed if someone else crashes into you. It wasn't your fault, but you're still dead. People get struck and killed by lightning bolts. What's the chances of that? But it happens. The list is long of weird and tragic occurrences happening to people.

True, there are those that increase their risk of bad tidings for various reasons. If one chooses to live close to an active volcano, or in a trailer park in tornado alley, or on a seismic fault line, or in a place where hurricanes are prevalent, chances are they'll be OK. But if the worst case scenario comes along some day, they knew this going in, but chose to stay there anyway. Stuff might happen.

Then again, where on Earth CAN one live in total safety? One way or the other, there's always going to be a danger, however unforeseen. A plane could crash into your house. Your neighbor's could go up in flames due to his/her carelessness and take yours with it. The odds against it are incredible -- but it happens.

So what does this have to do with sports? A couple things.

We all know #1 golfer in the world Rory McIlroy recented suffered a severe foot injury while playing a little recreational soccer. He's out for the upcoming British Open -- the first such defending champion unable to defend his title since Ben Hogan way back in 1954. The dashing Irish lad may well be on the DL for quite some time. Surely he'll heal up eventually, but whether or not this will have a long term detrimental effect on his golf game is something nobody knows. Let's hope not.

But the blamers came out in full force. Shame on Rory, they chided. He shouldn't take such chances with so much at stake.

To which yours truly replies -- shut up. The dude was running around kicking a ball on grass and suffered a one in a million freak injury. Stuff happens.

When people are world-class at what they do in sports, should we expect them to live in a biosphere when they're away from what they do best? Of course not. It's called having a life. There are also those that say at least Rory wasn't doing something really dangerous like riding a motorcycle or surfing. The same two words. Shut up. If he wants to ride a bike or catch a few waves in his free time, who the hell are they to say he's supposed to be some sort of golfing droid only? For that matter, if he wants to bungee jump, mountain climb, skydive, or get into the Octagon with Serena Williams to see who taps out first, more power to him -- though the latter is not recommended. Ahem.

Yet many sports fans have come to expect superstars to live and breathe whatever they're really good at to the exclusion of all else. This is largely caused by the media in their insatiable quest to rate and rank every jock. They have stats from hell that few understand, or could even care about, and will likely come up with more of them. In their world, it isn't good enough for an athlete to just be world class -- everybody has to have a number. The golf rankings go all the way down into the 200s. Who cares? Show me the leaderboard on the back nine on Sunday in any given tournament. Should it matter if they were partying in Vegas or dancing with the stars instead of playing practice rounds before they teed it up for the tournament?

On the other hand there's the curious case of Jason Pierre-Paul, a defensive end for the NY Giants. JPP recently experienced a "stuff happens" episode. It seems he was playing with fireworks on or about the 4th of July, something went boom, and Jason is now missing a finger. Ouch.

This happened somewhere in southeastern Florida and the authorites are still trying to figure out exactly where. Nonetheless, JPP supposedly had a whole van full of such goodies, all of which are illegal ANYWHERE in Florida.

So let's see. He managed to mangle a hand while dealing with illegal goods. Criminal charges are a definite possibility in the future. If so, Jason will eventually face the wrath of Roger Goodell under the player misconduct clause. The Giants have yanked their $60 million contract offer off the table, because they rightfully don't know if JPP can be the same player he once was after this injury. The Giants had put the franchise player tag on him, but JPP had never signed it. Basically, he's a free agent missing a finger and likely in trouble on a couple different fronts.

Stuff happens indeed when athletes try to have a little innocent fun away from their games. Some unforeseen. But in this case, it was a 26 year old grown man playing with illegal fireworks. Even your average 5 year old knows not to hold them in their hands once the fuse is lit.

There was nothing innocent about it. It was just flat-out stupid.

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