November 24, 2004

Thanksgiving 2004 has finally arrived.  The time of year to gather with friends and family to celebrate and give thanks for the gifts in our lives that make it so special.  But this year, all I read about or hear about are the lives of the rich basketball players in Indiana charging the stands in a Detroit suburb because a drink was thrown on, at, in the direction of, whatever of the Indiana player.  I've read where the players think they don't get paid millions of dollars to be sitting targets for the fans.  I've read where the players were only defending themselves against the unruly fans in the stands.  I've also heard that the Indiana players feel they are being treated unfairly by the commissioner of the NBA and the league for the harsh penalties that have been levied.  Well, boo hoo and grow up.  

Whatever the reasoning was for the action taken, these Indiana players left the playing surface and bounded into the stands.  And from the looks of the tapes, ran over a few people to get to one particular individual.  No thought was given to the people that were ran over and thrown out of the way or to the ground during their advancement into the stands.  No thought was given to the safety of the people that were not involved in whatever provocation there was to charge the stands.   Whether the first Indiana player threw a punch or not, that doesn't matter.  His actions brought other players into the stands and they did throw punches.  Later after all was said and done, three Indiana players had thrown punches at fans.  They incited a riot by bolting into the stands - whatever their reasoning was for going there.  

No, you players don't earn millions of dollars to be sitting targets for the fans.  But you do get paid millions of dollars to play the game that you love.  The game that you live for.   The game that you have worked your entire life to reach the goal of becoming a professional.  A professional.  A professional NBA Basketball Player.   You have attained the skill level to excel at and exceed all others.  Professional.   Once you have attained the status of professional - along with that title comes the expectations and responsibilities of being a professional.  You play a game that millions would love to play.   These are your fans.  These are fans of the game.  These are the people that allow you to make millions.  Be a professional and play your game.  Charging into the stands is not defending yourself.  That is vigialanty justice.  And vigilanty justice has no place in professional sports.  Look what happened during a game between Indiana and Detriot when it was practiced.

The players that were provoked also bring on this type of attitude and behavior from the fans.   They have chosen to play the game the way they play their game.  With hard fouls and irresponsible play.  This particular game was out of reach for Detroit to make a comeback and win.   Why then the hard foul?  What was the reasoning?  Why then did the Indiana player go over to the scorers table and continue to taunt the Detroit players and fans with his antics?   Irresponsible play.  Uncontrolled energy and arrogance.  The player incited the response he received by his actions.  He gets paid millions to play a game.  The player chooses the way he plays the game.  Expect a long and tough career now that you have chosen your path.

Fans.  Fanatics.  Fanaticals.  Enthusiastic devotees.  There is NO reason for any person, fan or not to throw anything onto, at or in the direction of a professional doing their job.   However the professional has chosen to do it.  What kind of society are we living in where the fans of sports think their actions are warrented and right?  A team wins the championship and the fans turn over cars and encite riots and fight with police.  How is this action right?  Where do these people learn right from wrong?  I have been to a hockey game where two fans started fighting.   What provoked it you might ask?  Who cares - it's a game - a sport - nothing can warrent this kind of response in the stands.  What has happened to society today?  The fan or fans in Detroit have every right to boo the actions of the players.  But they have no right to throw anything at anyone at anytime.  This is never an acceptable behavior.  What the hell were you thinking?

But I digress.  This is the time for giving thanks.  And I am thankful that I have my health, Carol and the kids in my life.  These gifts have been good to me and I hope that I have been good to them.  We're going to Duncan, AZ for Thanksgiving to spend it with Carol's family but Carol and I will be back Friday to care for our critters.  Tracey and Tyler will spend the weekend in Duncan with their cousins and Grandma will bring them back down the hill Sunday.   Wish us luck too.  Carol and I are going to a Suns game Friday night.

To all of those serving our country and to defend what's right.  Thank you.  God Bless and come home safe.  Happy Thanksgiving everyone.