Joy and laughter fill the air on a gorgeous Independence Day. Hot dogs and hamburgers are on the grill and the smell of smoked barbecue has everybody anxious and eager to sit down and throw away their summertime diets. It is a time to be spent being occupied with family, friends, great food and fireworks. All of a sudden there is a child that starts crying loudly and the smell of food is overtaken with the sickening smell of polyester fabric. A young boy stands by crying and watching his dad throw his cherished Kevin Durant jersey into the fire pit they were planning to roast marshmallows around later. The dad continues to toss posters, his own Durant t-shirts and anything else he can find with the once proudly worn #35 on it, into the flames. The dad then turns to his son, and tells him that he is not old enough to understand but if he is going to continue to love sports, then he will also go through this one day. The little boy stares at his dad and continues to cry while managing to squeak out one last whimper, “…but he was my favorite Thunder player….”
Now, personally, I have never truly had a desire to throw a jersey out or burn it because I was angry that a player chose to leave my team. In fact, I think it is odd you would want to burn something like a jersey that you paid an upwards of $100-$400 for. I have un-stitched them (was happy to say goodbye to a Houston Astros Andy Pettitte jersey that an ex- boyfriend gave me during a sad era of my life), and donated them to charity, but NOT once has the idea to take lighter fluid to it crossed my mind, regardless of my feelings.
What possesses somebody to think it is a good idea to burn a jersey?? Do they burn flags too when we elect a president they don’t like (hugely possible in 2016) or when the country makes a poor decision? Although I have certain athletes that I think are great for the game and help my teams tremendously, I love sports purely for the love of the game. I am not wrapped up in somebody making a life decision that THEY thought best suited THEM. I couldn’t imagine living my life worrying that there could be malicious intent against me or items that represent me because I decided I wanted to move careers or change jobs. I know it is slightly different since athletes fill our lives, both in reality and fantasy, and give us that escape we are looking for on a daily basis. Although, I am writing this blog and posting on social media to a handful of followers, I am pretty sure it is on a different level.
Respect. It is one of the top things I value in life. I respect the game, the fans, the rules (mostly) and the moments that only the world of sports can create. On another level, I respect the athletes that sacrifice their bodies so that they can play, what is ultimately known as a game, for a living and I can sit there with my hot dog and beer and watch for a few hours. So why as fans do we feel so betrayed by someone who decided to better their life? Let me ask you this…. If I receive a job offer that is average for my profession, and then receive another offer for a higher salary and better benefits….am I not going to take the better job for me? Life is made up of every day decisions. I choose to wake up painfully early and work out, some people don’t. I choose to get dressed with the idea and notion that how I present myself is how I am perceived to the outside world, some people definitely don’t. I choose to pay bills before making frivolous expenses, some people don’t. I choose to live my life in faith and morals, and some people don’t. I could go on and on with this but the main point is that all of those were MY decision. I may consult friends, family and loved ones that I know would be affected by my actions on certain matters, but I don’t take an opinion poll from social media friends, acquaintances and followers to make sure they are okay with a decision that changes MY life.
I learned a long time ago that it is impossible to make everyone happy. Ultimately in every major decision you make, somebody will be slightly upset or take offense. In this case, Durant did what he thought was best for him and his career and with the way Steph Curry is putting up numbers, who wouldn’t want to play with him???I think the idea of burning an athlete’s jersey to make a statement is absolutely ridiculous. If this senseless and ridiculous action includes you, then no offense, but get over yourself. Maybe you should find something else to occupy your time. You are setting a bad example for young sports fans out there and there really is no justification for your actions. Sports fans are built in generations and to me that is a sacred bond. When I go to games and I sit next to a kid or someone who does not fully understand what is going on or how to act, then I always am kind enough to chat with them and lend a little bit of fan education. They will be the ones that I have to deal with when I am older and attending games with a cane and wearing a diaper (not saying that will happen but it was the best reference I had) and I feel that it is my duty to make sure they lead the next generation of fans appropriately.
In referencing the scenario with the father and his child in the beginning of this blog, what do you think was accomplished by burning a jersey? Were you doing it for warmth? No….it’s hot outside. So what purpose did it have? Do you really have no class? Before you do something so asinine again, why don’t you consider what your purpose is? Were you trying to inspire your young child that hate accomplishes things in life? If so, then I believe that you have some self-reflecting to do…..and maybe, you shouldn’t call yourself a TRUE sports fan.
A New Era and a TRUE Sports Fan