Thursday, May 8, 2014

There's (almost) no crying in sports

    Tom Hanks's "There's no crying in baseball" speech in the movie A League of Their Own should be required viewing for all professional athletes.  In fact, there should be an addendum that there's no crying in any sports at any pro level.  I don't care if you strike out with the bases loaded in the 9th, fumble on the one yard line in the last minute or give up the winning goal in overtime - suck it up, buttercup.  The privilege and rewards that come with earning a living as a professional athlete preclude any legitimate grounds for sobbing like a jilted schoolgirl. 
    That said, NBA MVP Kevin Durant's emotional speech at this week's awards ceremony was one of the most uplifting things I've seen in half a century of watching sports.  Durant's tribute to his mother, who was there for the ceremony, had nothing to do with sports and everything to do with his appreciation for a woman who protected and nurtured him in dire social and economic circumstances.  Durant laid out a story that serves as a lesson for those of us living a more privileged life than he ever knew growing up.  If a single mother in poverty can lift her children out of seeming hopelessness, imagine the opportunities we can create for our children with the same parental commitment and greater material resources.  
    The emotion that Kevin Durant wore on his sleeve was not a cornball display of crocodile tears over something that doesn't matter in the big picture.  It was an honest expression of a son's love and gratitude for his mother.  There's nothing maudlin about that, so Durant gets a pass on the no crying rule.  The rest of you - get a hold of yourselves and stop your blubbering. Don't make me come over there. 

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