BLOOMINGBURG, NY – Admittedly, my Sunday non-gambling related posts can be rather negative. I clamor not for sports days of yore, but for the benefit of the game – not the statistical experience that now controls all sports. Today, with a hidden complaint, the aim herein is a pep talk for us ALL!
In the early 1970’s there was an agile and flexible chubby athletic kid who was not slow for his size. This youngster tipped the scales at 103 pounds in the third grade. His teacher was concerned enough to put him on a diet. He wore Sears Toughskins pants because they came in a size labeled “husky” (relaxed fit in today’s politically correct and uber-sensitive world).
If you haven’t figured it out, that oversized tyke was me. While I excelled in team sports my dream was to be the first fat gymnast and earn a place on the US Olympic team, since that is the ultimate level in this sport where you comfortably compete in a tank top and pajama bottoms. I envisioned myself on the uneven bars with my fat roll hanging over the overworked lower bar, long arms extended to the upper, culminating in an exercise-ending, earth-trembling dismount. The floor exercise as seen performed by Will Ferrell in Old School would be my specialty – since a round guy can roll effortlessly on a flat surface. Risking a marinara sauce stain on my pants, the judges don’t allow an individual to twirl a meatball parm hero in lieu of the ribbon. They also thought the trauma I would cause to those uneven bars wouldn’t be fair to the other competitors. While I’d be an example to other fatties, by being that ground-breaking (no pun intended?) athlete, this sport just wouldn’t be one I could excel in.
I kid you all in hopes of making a point re the Long Island kid who was drafted by the Arizona Diamondbacks as the first ever Jewish Orthodox prospect. For the love of Pete! Can we, as a society, stop labeling (just like those husky pants) the first whatever, be it skin color, religion, sex, et.al. What good is being the first non-politician to be President, or first Black President, or first female Vice President if they ALL suck at their jobs? Easy folks, I’m just making a point here! The more we become a world of “firsts,” the more we cheapen that person’s output. What happens to becoming the best ever at our jobs. Being first is making an example to others to pursue what they strive to be, no matter what. Being BEST in competition or other aspects in life should always be the primary goal.
Bottom line: a being the best mentality pushes others and makes everybody else better… and society wins as a result.
There are plenty of firsts who are talked of as greats: Jackie Robinson, Bobby Orr, Maya Angelou, Angry Ward (First and BEST columnist on this site), and Jim Abbott to name several. Raise the frogging bar! Forget the labels and be the… BEST!!!