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'Stick to sports?' Fine. Maybe others should, too

A number of social commentators, many of whose assertions are fully substantiated by their own opinions, have advised yours truly on occasion to "stick to sports." This is where I chuckle. I know I got 'em. Sort of like another famous chap who likes to say "fake news" when nothing else of substance or insight is available within his bandwidth.

But as I watched the local news the other night, in veritable disbelief that protesters honked their way around the state capitol all but ordering Gov. Lamont to reopen the state amid a health crisis, I thought this: Maybe we should all stick to sports right now. Their inherent lessons have never been more relevant.

Sports teach us the virtues of self-sacrifice for the greater good. We all want to get the winning hit in the ninth. But we might have to take a base on balls instead of selfishly swinging at a bad pitch, allowing the next person in the lineup to win the game. We all want to make the game winning shot. But we might have to pass the ball to a more open teammate.

We've reached a period where the concepts of greater good and self-sacrifice have never been more prevalent. And yet this protesting assemblage of the miffed, mordant and maskless choose to trumpet "me" over "we," even during a pandemic.

I suspect this is a consequence of perpetually stoking fear and anger into our political methods, undermining what Thomas Jefferson advised us many years ago: "a well-informed electorate is a prerequisite to democracy."

Well-informed has degenerated into "misinformed." Which, on some days, is tolerable enough. It's not breaking news to suggest that our inherent individualism invites us to seek news sources that suit, service, reinforce and intensify our predispositions and prejudices. At best, we agree to disagree. At worst, we morph into a cacophony of soapbox carnival barkers shouting damnation at one another.

But this?

With frontline workers from hospitals to grocery stores risking their health to keep us safe — the embodiment of team — others choose to make political statements because, presumably, they can.

I'll take "neither the time nor the place" for 800, Alex.

I've had a health issue for the past two weeks that has required me to visit healthcare facilities. The people have been heroic. And let me convey their abject disgust at the aforementioned protesting. I'd humbly suggest that healthcare workers sustain Mr. Jefferson's "well-informed public" better than others talking out of their tailpipes because their lives have been inconvenienced for too long now.

Perhaps the protesters could take up sports instead. Sports are the antidote to stoking the fires of fear over science and reason. The lessons of sports are quite contrary to that.

Sports do not tolerate fear of people who look different than you.

Sports do not tolerate fear of people who think differently than you.

Sports promote the willingness to sacrifice for the team. For the common good. And the lessons of sports don't merely apply to sports. They apply to everyday life, as any successful person who has ever partaken of them would attest.

Sports teach us that once we understand and practice self-sacrifice, we appreciate how there is nothing better than achieving something great together. Youngins, at the behest of their parents, can schlep to all the individual sporting showcases they want. There's still nothing else better than winning with your friends in front of your community with the name of your town written across your chest. Nothing.

I get that many people want and need to return to work. But if it happens too fast, the next wave of home confinement comes sooner, not later. That helps nobody. But endangers everybody.

We'll never keep people from their own selfish motives. But ask yourself this question: Is this about political and societal reality or simply being tired of being told what to do? We need group activity at the moment. Not individual responses.

We're almost to 700 words in now. My time is up. I'll happily retreat to my cave and "stick to sports." Funny, though. Maybe some others should, too.

This is the opinion of Day sports columnist Mike DiMauro


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