By Frank James IV
There have been some shocking developments that took place in America over the past two weeks. The Boston Marathon bombing and the subsequent manhunt afterwards shook the nation. But in true American fashion the country bounced back in dazzling form. The main way the country overcame the polarizing effects of the bombing was sports. Sports have become the one medium many Americans turn to in order to keep from going crazy.
In ancient Rome it was said that the gladiator matches were designed to entertain the masses. The gladiator matches kept the populace’s mind off problems their leaders couldn’t solve. In America sports have taken a similar role in the society. But whereas the Romans only had the gladiators America has the big three: MLB, NBA and NFL.
The number of ESPN channels shows the importance of sports to the American psyche. Americans love their sports and in times of turmoil sports usually responds in kind. Who can forget George W. Bush throwing that strike to open game three of the 2001 World Series after the 9-11 tragedy? In the case of the Boston bombing three sports kicked in to alleviate American anxiety. The first month of Major League Baseball, the NBA playoffs and the NFL draft.
In Boston the city was gearing up for a hopeful playoff run by their Celtics. The Celtics have been a force in the Eastern conference for years. The hope that Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett could play like they were 25 again helped ease some Bostonians’ minds. The MLB Red Sox started the 2013 baseball season in first place so this was another thing to relieve the tension the city felt as the hunt for the suspects concluded. Sport was doing its job in both Boston and America.
Enter the 2013 NFL Draft. The NFL is undoubtedly the king of sports in America. In European countries soccer is king, but in America football rules. Many will go by the old standby that baseball is the American sport of choice, but in today’s world football rules.
The NFL draft gave many Americans a chance to scout for their favorite team. The draft gives every armchair genius his chance to be general manager for a day. The coverage of the NFL draft on all mediums is astounding. The amount of blogs and chat rooms that were filled with fans voicing their opinions is beyond number. Many television stations dedicated specials to the pro team in the area. These specials were related to team needs and possible picks in the draft. The NFL was giving Americans a chance to think about something other than a possible bomb in the kitchen.
In Milwaukee sports plays its role. The Bucks engaged in an uphill battle with the defending champion Miami Heat. There are thoughts that Brandon Jennings will be dribbling the ball in another team’s jersey next fall. Fans wonder will the Bucks ever get past round one in the playoffs. The Brewers are only a game or two back from first place and in Green Bay the Packers have reloaded via the draft. Sport is doing its job well in Wisconsin.
Many people say sports plays too much of a role in American life. This may be true but who can say what’s good or bad for anyone else? Would it be better if Americans barricaded themselves inside their houses and shot the first person that knocked on the door out of paranoia? Or is it better to let people ignore the madness that can be the political world and cheer for their favorite gladiator? The answer all depends upon who you ask and point of view. One thing is sure: It’s a Raider Nation! Just Win Baby!
Frank James IV © 2013
The opinions expressed in this editorial are those of the writer and not of the Milwaukee Times Weekly Newspaper or NCON Communication, its staff or management. Being Frank is a bi-weekly column exclusive to the Milwaukee Times Weekly Newspaper.