Sports Commentary: Observation From Vacation 4/22/13
Observation From Vacation
Every vacation leaves some lingering observations that must be made after the fact. The damage done to the Masters had Tiger Woods come back to win may have been irreparable. It would have created the greatest controversy in Masters history and diminshed the tournament in the eyes of many who have revered it for decades. In the final analysis the Masters rules officials, when Tiger’s infraction was brought to their attention, didn’t have the guts to assess a two stroke penalty at the time, then, when Tiger signed an incorrect scorecard and the purists of the sport became even more vocal overnight, they didn’t have the guts to disqualify him, the first golfer not to be disqualified for signing an incorrect card. It was just as important that Tiger finished four shots back, so those who still hold him sacred, even above the sport itself, couldn’t argue that the two stroke penalty cost him his 15th major, an argument that would never die if he fell one short of Nicklaus. It was with great sadness that I learned of the passing of Lou Bazzano while I was away. The long time Hartford Public athletic director was one of the truly great, and truly respected, people in Connecticut sports. I’m not going to be one of the apologists for Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz, one of those who says, under the circumstances, ambushing thousands of families, parents who brought their kids to a ball game, that the national pastime might play a critical role in a national healing process, with the adjective he chose to use in front of a national audience, is acceptable. In front of a family crowd the use of such language is not acceptable, under any circumstances. The real problem from his use of the word will surface when “anything for a buck” entrepreneurs find ways to market his comment. At the two ends of the spectrum of last week’s terrifying and tragic events in Boston we were once again reminded of the position of sports in our lives, at a time when one of our worst fears became a reality, a major sports event becoming the latest venue for a terrorist act. The heinous act and the actions of true heroes, those who instinctively respond, throw themselves into harms way to remove others from it, reminded us that the actions of so called “heroes” in the arena of sports are meaningless by comparison, as are the outcomes of the games themselves. At the other end of the spectrum we were reminded how the sports to which we devote so much of our idle time can be a catalyst to healing. We were reminded of the salve a home run from Mike Piazza had become to so many wounds in New York as thousands of voices raised as one in rendering out national anthem at Boston sports venues, after honoring our real heroes before cheering on those who represent their city in the home town uniforms, perspective properly in place. Now we know. The importance of sports in the overall scheme of our lives is minimal indeed, in the healing process they can have an amazing affect. With a comment from the sports world, I’m Scott Gray.