One Strike and You’re Out

It must be difficult to be a coach or manager of a sports team these days, whether at the college or professional level, because almost every fan seems to feel he knows as much about the sport as those who are paid to coach for a living.  Most of us would hate having people look over our shoulders while we work – lord knows, The Curmudgeon’s reaction, when someone at work wants to change the wording of something he has written, is borderline homicidal, which he can mask only because he works at least 100 miles from whomever’s suggesting the changes.

Sports fans tend to view everything in black and white.  A player is good or he’s a bum and a bad person.  A coach who fails to succeed every time should be fired.  A manager who fails to assemble a perfect team should be replaced.  Because sports fans now get most of their sports information from the internet, moreover, television and radio personalities increasingly adopt the same outlook just to try to remain relevant.

Last week, a member of the Philadelphia 76ers basketball team overslept and missed a team practice.  No explanation was offered publicly about why, but one assumes it’s the usual thing:  forgetting to set an alarm.  As far as The Curmudgeon knows, the player has never done this before.

Who among us hasn’t failed to set an alarm?  Who among us has absolutely, positively never been even a minute late for work?

But fans of the Philadelphia 76ers basketball team are apparently perfect, demand similar perfection of their team’s players, and want nothing to do with anyone who fails to meet that standard.

On the web site, which chronicles all things Philadelphia sports, one reader wrote:

What time was practice?  Most of us WORKING people get up between 5am and 7am.  If practice was at noon, then get rid of him.  Just another overpaid athlete who thinks he can do whatever he wants.

Another intolerant fan opined that

Why would someone oversleep for WORK?  Isnt [sic] there a familiar routine to follow?  Sounds like practice is an AFTERthought to me!  LAME-ass!

Another suggested that

This is why so many people are turned off with the NBA. This part of the “culture” thing is a crock of you know what. It’s about a guy (one of many) who doesn’t give a (you know what) about the team, the sport, the fans or the city. A grown man who [sic] they will treat like a child and let off the hook, just as he’s probably been treated his entire life. I used to love the 76ers. That was when I respected the players. I no longer do, because they don’t respect anyone or the game itself. What a joke.

Rest assured that this reader NEVER respected either the players or the game.

And a final critic apparently wants the wayward player not only fired but also deported:

Please get rid of that lazy ass bum! I saw that laziness in him from the start. Now i’m [sic] sure. He’s one of those guys who only plays when he feels like it. Send his ass to the China league….

Intolerance, it seems, knows many forms.



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