Wednesday, May 06, 2009

There and Back Again [J. Mark English]

For the few of you avid readers of this blog, you might have noticed that the site has not been updated much since the fall of 2007. (Sarcasm?)

There are no good reasons why this site has not been updated on a regular basis.

Consider the site reopened. American Legends Blog 2.0 is up and running!

As editor of the site, I will reach out to writers who share different views and passions as they follow the world of sports.

The business that this site is affiliated with, American Legends, will keep sports cards and memorabilia collectors up to speed with the latest news in the industry. There will also be postings about any special sales that will be going on, and updates on fantastic collections that have been purchased.

Also, please join our Facebook fan page. Our hope is to build an online community of enthusiastic sport fans who want to be involved in the wonderful world of sports in a way that only the magic of the internet can provide.

There are millions of sports blogs available to anyone spending time online. This blog will not offer the false promise of being anything other then a group of fans who just want to share therir take on the sporting community. This site will not attempt to be a source of news, other then to help point readers to articles of interest from our point of view.

If we can find our way into your niche of sports blogs that you check on a regular basis, then we will do our best to keep the ideas on this site fresh, full of ideas, and a commitment to regular updates.

Should you have any suggestions, please do not hesitate to contact me via e-mail:

Finally, over the past year, the New York Mets left my heart aching after two breakdowns in consecutive seasons, both occuring on the last day of the season. Sandwhiched between these collapses I felt the thrill of seeing the New York Giants win a Super Bowl in a unforgettable upset of the undefeated New England Patriots.

The Mets and the Giants have tempered my emotional reaction to sports. The bitterness of the Mets quickly gave way to the realities of life. In the same way, the Giants winning the Super Bowl did nothing to improve my own life, except give me an excuse to take a day off from work to see them in a parade.

The Philadelphia Phillies won a World Series, in a city that had not seen a sports championship since 1983. The city was jubliant in the glow of finally being champions again, but what did that do to ebb crime in the city of Brotherly Love?

The Detroit Red Wings won the Stanley Cup last spring. Did Lord Stanley bring jobs back to an ailing city, that has been ravaged by recession?

These questions are rhetorical.

Why do we care so much? Why, despite the economic downturn, are people still coming out to the parks? Okay, so Yankee Stadium isn't selling out the $2,500 seats, and attendence has been slipping across the board. But even on bad nights in New York, for example, the baseball attendence is still well above 30,000. Think about how much money is being spent on the nights that baseball is in town in New York. Shouldn't fans be saving that money?

Sports must have a deeper meaning if we are convinced to throw away our money. There must also be a certain madness of sports that is able to capitvate our emotional interests.

President Teddy Roosevelt described the "aurora" of athletes in this famous saying:

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

Epictetus, the stoic Greek philosopher once observed about the ancient Olympics:

You would fain be victor at the Olympic games, you say. Yes, but weigh the conditions, weigh the consequences; then and then only, lay to your hand--if it be for your profit. You must live by rule, submit to diet, abstain from dainty meats, exercise your body perforce at stated hours, in heat or in cold; drink no cold water, nor, it may be, wine. In a word, you must surrender yourself wholly to your trainer, as though to a physician....

Weigh these things fully, and then, if you will, lay to your hand; if as the price of these things you would gain Freedom, Tranquillity, and passionless Serenity.

These two describe the boundless abilites of man The passive observer sees what he/she hoped they could be. Professional sports offers us a chance to live vicariously in a dream that we could not achieve.

Which is why we live for the zenith of sports, and suffer willingly through the heart wrenching losses. Even if the moment is fleeting, sports may give us the encouragement to step into our own arenas, and achieve our own dreams.

Labels: , , , , ,