The games we play


Charlie Maricle

I don’t care where your thoughts are on war, the current one or any other.

I don’t care how much you like sports, popular or not.

War and sports should not be likened, paralleled, or anything close to related.

With the madness of college basketball finally done and the endlessness of Major League Baseball in full swing, thoughts turn to the odd relationship sports and war has.

But really to relate the two does an injustice to both. It builds sports figures into more than what they are, adding pressure and stress that need not be in any game. And it trivializes war, hiding the gruesomeness that accompanies war. But more than anything it makes the person look foolish.

Yet so many sports writers and columnists insist on correlating the two. Why?

Sure I understand that they both are struggles, they both have significant people profiles and they both let writers use swell, catchy verbs (making them look smarter). But is that enough to put both on the same level?

If you take a close look, war and sports are not as close as we would like.

War is not a lot of fun. Sports are and always should be.

War is not well paid. Sports, well, are overpaid.

War is always dangerous. Sports are not, at least not the majority of sports.

War is scary. Sports usually are not.

War is not a game. Sports are.

If you are really honest, sports figures should stay away from the subject of war.

There is no way this is easy. Sports figures are possibly the people most in the media spotlight. Their words and actions are plastered across media outlets throughout the nation every day.

Now I’m not saying athletes should not have feelings about the war or they shouldn’t show emotion away from their field of play. But to use their status as an athlete; well-known, well-liked and admired, as a platform for their political views is wrong.

Before the war with Iraq a small college student from the state of New York began to protest the war.

She turned away from the flag every time the National Anthem was played before the basketball game she participated in. This caught the attention of many people.

Her stance generated feelings for and against the war, but also for and against her.

Now she has every right to do what she did. But her choice to use a sporting venue to do it in was poor. Because war and sports should not mix.

However, war and sports are two of the easiest things to correlate for most people. The teamwork involved in each links the two in everyone’s mind.

But in sports, if your teammates fail, you still wake up the next morning. In war you’re not given that assurance.

Sports figures play for pride. War figures play for life.

Therefore to say that a certain player gave a heroic effort or another athlete has a warrior’s attitude is misleading, to say the least.

If you want heroes look, to those who battle daily for your freedom.

If you want someone to cheer for, look to those who draw a line in the desert sand and say you will not harm my family tonight.

War heroes play for life, yours, mine and those who protest the battle they are fighting. War heroes are for life.