Sports

 

Chapter 6 of Love and War includes: Let's Play Two, Balls and Strikes, A Turnaround, Not Just in Sport, and It's Too Hot in Here.

Let's Play Two

No one would argue that children don’t ever need to go to school because they were born with a brain which can develop on its own. But when it comes to the body that contains that brain, we act as if it can somehow just take care of itself.

 

We allow sports programs to be eliminated from our schools at all levels. We force parents and athletes to pay for the athletic programs which remain even though many cannot afford it. We also allow millions of children to go hungry and millions more to become obese. (In the fall of 2010, the high school football coach in the Los Angeles suburb of Temecula said that his biggest problem was that many of his players lived in homes where there wasn’t enough to eat...)

Balls and Strikes

When I first met Gene Upshaw, he was the president of the National Football League Players Association. It was in early 1982 and there was a players strike looming. I went to Fort Lauderdale to interview Upshaw for Inside Sports magazine. We started in my hotel room at three in the morning. After the interview, during which we’d been drinking, I asked him if I could look at the Super Bowl ring he was wearing. It was like holding a brick in my hand. It was so beautiful, and I was so buzzed, that I had a brief fantasy of running out of the room with the ring and getting on a plane for wherever just so I could keep it. Then I looked over at one of the best and one of the meanest offensive linemen to ever play football and… I gave it back to him...

A Turnaround, Not Just in Sport

WARREN, Ohio--The baseball strike is over and the second season has begun. Yet the underlying causes of baseball’s transformation from an island of tranquility into a sea of litigation remain as obscure as ever.

 

Only after careful reflection on my own life as a steelworker and a sports fan did I begin to understand baseball’s true financial picture.

 

As an American, I grew up believing that the only question of significance I would ever have to answer was, “How much more?” Didn’t my parents live much better than my grandparents? Hadn’t I, in turn, quickly surpassed them when I returned from Vietnam? With every contract, my union came up with more money and almost unimaginable benefits. This was achieved despite the fact that the union agreed in advance not to strike and never disagreed with the steel companies on fundamental policies.

It's Too Hot in Here

Yesterday, Minnesota Viking offensive tackle Korey Stringer died of a heat stroke at practice on a day when the heat index was 110 degrees. He stopped sweating, his insides started cooking and his body temperature went up over 108.

 

My son Jesse went to grade school with Korey. I can’t honestly say I remember him but the Stringer family was one of a handful of extended families from Mississippi that helped make Warren, Ohio a good place to live. I knew Stringers at work, at the Y, at the clubs. A couple of Stringers had a great barbecue place in town...