I was sitting around watching the Little League World Series today because hey there was nothing else on and the LLWS is truly (to be cliche) the "purest" level of sports. Call me naive but I'm under the assumption that at least 80 to 85% of these 12 year olds have not yet discovered the magic of performance enhancing drugs yet. Anyways I'm in a nice positive mood, relaxing on a Sunday watching Mexico beat up on Germany. Then the play by play guys notify me that they have a "truly inspiring story" about a young man on one of the teams...
ESPN's boys in the booth then spend the next 10 minutes talking about some kid with multiple sclerosis that is an honorary member of one of the teams. He is really courageous and it's just so inspiring that his teammates are so supportive and bring him along for the ride. Then ESPN proceeds to show us this poor kid with his crippling disease in the stands and have him do the play by play for an inning. Jesus. Here I was sitting around enjoying a little baseball on a lazy Sunday and now I'm completely dejected. What am I doing with my life? If I thought for a second that my life sucks I should think about the fact that I don't have multiple sclerosis. In fact instead of spending $60 at the bar last night I could have donated that money to MS research. Now I feel like if I don't root for this team with the inspirational diseased kid mascot to win I have no soul.ESPN does this shit ALL THE TIME. Look I'm sorry I'm not Ebenezer Scrooge over here. It's not like I am unsympathetic to children with debilitating diseases or something. It is truly sad that there are kids out there that have to deal with that type of adversity. Why however, do we need to hear about this type of stuff during sports broadcasts? It's fucking depressing. Do you know why I love sports? Sports are the world's greatest distraction from reality. We watch sports to get away from thinking about what a cruel world we live in. If you've had a tough week at work. Or your grandpa is sick. Or you're dealing with some other tough life obstacle. With sports you can forget about all this for three hours and get lost in the fact that you really need your team to win to stay in the wild card race. Basically you get to invest yourself in something meaningless, to distract yourself from real life issues. When ESPN beats you over the head with depressing "inspirational" stories of terminally ill children during their broadcasts, you are once again forced to think about how there are more important things in life than a stupid ballgame.
The worst is ESPN's "My Wish" program. Basically ESPN takes kids with terminal illnesses or some other terrible handicap and gives them a chance to meet their favorite athlete/team. This is after all the kid's "Wish" presumably. To hang out with their favorite overpaid douchebag running back for a day and get a signed football and jersey out of it. ESPN repeatedly devotes a 10 minute segment to this on Sportscenter. Last time I checked Sportscenter is defined by my TV guide as "a thorough presentation of sports news, highlights, and analysis." Not "A thorough presentation of inspirational stories." The other thing that pisses me off is that "My Wish" is another example of the media trying to portray athletes as "Heroes" Oh wow. Brett Favre took 30 minutes of his busy day at training camp to carry a crippled kid on his back and sign a football. I'm so inspired by how much he cares. Aww Tedy Bruschi got some kid with cancer front row tickets to the week 1 Monday Night Football game. He is basically the fucking Mother Teresa of scrappy middle linebackers.
Personally if I were a dying 12 year old cancer patient I'd have no fucking interest in getting a signed jersey from Peyton Manning. How about ESPN really makes a kid's dreams come true and arranges to take him to Vegas? Have Chris Johnson buy him an evening of lap dances. Or let Ben Roethlisberger take him to a frat party and have his sloppy sorostitute seconds. Or let him spend a day taking bong hits with Ricky Williams. You know..something that literally makes you say "now I can die happy." THAT would be inspirational and wouldn't depress me when I'm trying to watch sports and forget how mch life sucks. Arranging for a terminally ill child to attend Oakland Raiders training camp...? Shit you might as well pull the plug on him yourself ESPN.