? There's no back
door in. If you're Aaron Spelling's daughter and you want to act, you get to
act. If you're a Trump, you get to build. But nobody in sports makes it onto
the field because he caught a lucky sperm. Jose and Ozzie Canseco were
identical twins. Jose played 1,887 major league games. Ozzie played 24.
? And sports
doesn't care how you did last month, either. If you're Derek Jeter and you stop
hitting, it doesn't matter how many Visa commercials you've done, you're toast.
And yet Flavor Flav still puts out CDs.
? It turns
hardened people to mush. Truck drivers weep over it. Nurses are overcome. Tell
me the last time the ballet did that.
? The No Way That
Just Happened moment seems to happen every 20 minutes. Fifteen laterals to win
at 00:00; 41-point 'dog whips No. 1; kid overcomes cancer to clinch World
Series. The notion that anybody can become president is pretty much dead—the
last three all went to Yale—but in sports, anybody can still grow up to beat
? It encourages
good, healthy hating. If I'm an Auburn fan, I can hate you, an Alabama fan,
from the bottom of my hater, and it's all right. I can seethe about it and
write blogs about it and boo about it without getting arrested or hit with a
restraining order. Who knows where all that hate would go without sports?
? It's cheap.
With HD, who needs tickets? We've all been the guy who spent a week's salary to
go to the game and ended up wishing he was back on the couch eating queso dip
with his buddies. (That's another thing: Without sports, would there even be
? It's black and
white, there's no gray area. Every night there's a winner and there's a loser
and nothing in between. There's no waiting to see the third-quarter fiscal
report. It's open to zero interpretation. I've never been to a game yet where,
at the end, the ref announced, "O.K., Cleveland won 14--13, but the
Cleveland coach was blocking his deep-seated childhood need for validation. So,
actually, Buffalo is the winner." There's a score and it's fair and clean
and easy to understand. Except for figure skating, of course.
? It's new, all
the time. A Rolling Stones concert is the same 80 nights in a row, but an
Avalanche--Red Wings game is a new, epic novel every time.
? It gives us
something safe to talk about at Thanksgiving without upsetting Aunt Harriet or
causing Grandpa to storm off in a huff. It's not religion, politics, war or
money. Sports is a way in. One of the best e-mails I ever got was from a
writing what you did about the Red Sox. It's the first time I've been able to
talk to my dad in five years."