BRONX, NY – Today is, mercifully, the final day of school for New York City public school kids. As a parent, I think the biggest lie that adults ever tell kids is the old saw that goes… “You think school is tough? Wait until you have to work for a living, like I do!” What a crock of crap! Unless you’re toiling in a coal mine or making license plates in prison, going to school is much more difficult than going to work. Let me explain.
At work, you’ve got a single job to do, maybe one or a handful of bosses, a finite group of coworkers, and some set hours. In school you’ve got to be proficient at a variety of things. You suck at math? Tough darts! Get better or don’t graduate. You’ve got a whole mess of different bosses in both teachers, administrators, and anyone else inside your school that’s got their own private power trip going. You’ve also got a whole sh!tload of insane coworkers, in the form of fellow students, some who you spend countless hours fantasizing about and others who you barely know but who want to punch your teeth down your throat for no good reason. Oh, you also have to take your work home with you, sometimes on weekends. You also have to be tested on your work… all the time. Finally, you don’t like your job? You can leave. No such luck with school. If you manage to make it to college, you can go ahead and drink and screw yourself into a coma. But you first have to make it through roughly 13-14 years of hell to get there… and then pay through the nose for that privilege.
What does this have to do with sports? Nothing, really. Except people who “work” in sports are some of the biggest and most entitled crybabies around. They are, quite literally, like the “wait until you have to work for a living” parents on steroids. Here’s what I mean.
“It’s a business.” How many times have we heard some sports blowhard justify signing with another team, being cut, being traded, or just about any other action with the tired stock response, “It’s a business.” For starters, it seems ripped off from old Flintstones episodes where some poor wooly mammoth was being used as a washing machine and uttered, “It’s a living.” Secondly, it’s not really a business. You are being paid to play a game. Stop trying to make it seem like you’re the friggin’ CEO of Amazon.
“I’ve been disrespected.” Does anyone have a thinner skin than athletes? Kids on inner city playgrounds have an easier time hashing things out when someone pulls a knife than these prima donna pro jocks do when they get inadvertently tripped. I mean, everything is a slight with these guys. An inside pitch, running too slow around the bases, taking a late three-point shot… there isn’t really anything so disrespectful about these things. Though Draymond Green kicking you square in the nuts, TWICE, could be construed as somewhat disrespectful. Let’s get some perspective.
“It was a war.” Back in the Stone Ages I had a job working for a company that packaged books for Sports Illustrated. “Packaging” covered everything from writing to designing to editing and all other facets of production. Anyway, one of the first SI rules I learned on the job was to never compare sports or a particular game or match-up to war. Sports is never war. Not even close. Athletes who liken it to that have no idea what the hell they are talking about. Ali and Frazier had epic fights, but none of them were wars.
“I’ve got a family to support.” I often wonder why some players go to lousy teams just to make an extra million or two, when they already have enough money to last several lifetimes. Using the excuse that you are looking out for your family, just doesn’t cut it anymore. In most cases, leaving behind millions upon millions of dollars for your family in many cases ensures that your family will be screwed up and lazy for years to come. Who can forget Latrell Sprewell’s famous quote while being paid $14.6 million by the Minnesota Timberwolves, but not under contract past that year and not feeling like he should stick his neck out: “I’ve got my family to feed. Anything could happen.” Ha! It’s still as funny today as it was then.
Anyway, congrats to all the NYC kids who are done with school today. Get out there and make a summer ruckus! You earned it!
Come back tomorrow for Buddy Diaz, a guy who knows that a New York City swimming pool is any open fire hydrant. And you can find us on Twitter at @Angry_Ward, @MeetTheMatts & @Matt_McCarthy00, Instagram @MeetTheMatts and our Facebook page, Meet The Matts.