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Real life intrudes on any sport you choose

by | Dec 28, 2014 | Comment, Detroit Free Press, Sports | 0 comments

“Dad, will you throw a ball with me?”

“In a minute. I’m watching ESPN. Come on. We’ll watch together.”

“What’s the show?”

“It’s called ‘The Year in Sports.’ It’s got all the big stories of 2014.”

“But I want to play outside.”

“It’ll be quick. Sit next to me. There you go.”

“Who’s that?”

“Ray Rice. He’s a football player.”

“How come the TV’s black-and-white?”

“It isn’t. That’s a recording from an elevator. That’s his fiancée getting in it with him.”

“Are they having a fight?”

“Whoa … hang on, I’m gonna cover your eyes.”

“How come?”

“You don’t need to see this.”

“Dad? … Can I look now?”

“OK. We’re into the next story.”

“Who’s that?

“Adrian Peterson. He’s a really great running back for the Vikings.”

“How come he’s in a suit?”

“He’s in court. He did something to his son. That’s why they’re showing those photog—… OK, I’m gonna cover your eyes now.”

“Again?”

Frightening on- and off-the-field incidents

“OK, you can look.”

“Is that fast guy a quarterback?”

“Yes. Jameis Winston. He’s in college.”

“Why is he standing on the sideline now?”

“Well, that’s a game he missed. He was being punished for yelling something bad to a room full of students.”

“What did he yell?”

“I’ll tell you when you’re older.”

“How much older?”

“When you’re 50.”

“Who are those guys?”

“Soccer players. This is from the World Cup in Brazil. What a great event. Ooh. That’s a game between Uruguay and Italy and … oh, no.”

“Did that man just bite the other man?”

“Cover your eyes.”

“I already saw it.”

“Don’t tell your mother. OK, there, look! Basketball! Thank goodness. Let’s see the big story. Ah, yeah, there’s LeBron James. There’s Tim Duncan. There’s …”

“That guy’s old. What’s his name?”

“Donald Sterling.”

“Why does he look so mad?”

“He said some bad things.”

“Who’s that woman on roller skates?”

“A friend of his.”

“Why is she wearing a mask?”

“It’s a long story …”

Nowhere safe to turn in sports

“Hey, those are like my Hot Wheels.”

“Yes, except those are real race car drivers. They go 200 miles an hour.”

“Who’s that?”

“That’s Tony Stewart. Wait a minute …”

“Daddy, why is that man getting out of his car? Don’t you tell me never to go in traff—”

“COVER YOUR EYES!”

“You changed the channel.”

“I’ll explain later.”

“When?”

“When you’re 60.”

“You changed to the news.”

“It was the next closest number.”

“But you always say sports is better than the news. You say it’s an escape.”

“All right. We’ll go back to ESPN.”

“Who’s that guy? He doesn’t have legs.”

“Oscar Pistorius.”

“Why is he talking to a judge?”

“He shot his — it’s a long story.”

“Look, women basketball players.”

“Finally, something safe.”

“What does ‘I Can’t Breathe’ mean?”

“You know what, son?” (Click.) “I meant what I said. Sports is better than the news. Sports is an escape. That’s why we’re going to play some.”

“You mean you’ll throw me the ball?”

“Yes.”

“Just me and you?”

“Uh-huh.”

“That’s all I wanted anyhow, Dad.”

 

Contact Mitch Albom: malbom@freepress.com. Check out the latest updates with his charities, books and events at MitchAlbom.com. Catch “The Mitch Albom Show” 5-7 p.m. weekdays on WJR-AM (760). Follow him on Twitter@mitchalbom. To read his recent columns, go tofreep.com/sports/mitch-albom.

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Mitch Albom writes about running an orphanage in impoverished Port-au-Prince, Haiti, his kids, their hardships, laughs and challenges, and the life lessons he’s learned there every day.

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