Good Sport


Even though, down deep in my heart, I know public education spends way too much on sports and too little on arts, I’m still a sports nut. It was ingrained in this only child by a father who was a former gifted athlete.

Though he loved his daughter, I’m sure he was secretly hoping for a male tennis partner. Dad’s solution? Go ahead and teach me to play golf, tennis, ping pong, pool, swimming, Poker, bowling, Frisbee throwing and the occasional kite flying. More importantly, he took me to the Cotton Bowl to see the Dallas Cowboy’s every week. We started going when I was six. It was the first game the Cowboy’s ever played.

Though I’m an avid gardener, most of my landscape work is done early in the morning. That leaves plenty of time for weekend afternoons spent on the couch watching one sport or another.

When the Teenage Eating Machine was born, my father was already gone to that great football game in the sky, so I passed the mantle on for him. TEM was a gifted athlete by the age of four being the top goal scorer in soccer. Sure sometimes he ran the wrong direction, but I knew he a born athlete. Visions of a Dallas Cowboy star danced in my head.

Though he won many trophies, by the time he was 16, the Teenage Eating Machine loved disobedience much more than sports. I resumed my spot on the couch watching those to whom I was not related.

There’s much about professional sports today that makes me mad. Players are overpaid. It has been found some of them enhance their performance with drugs which might make them drag a leg in their early sixties. Cheating on your wife has almost become a sport of its own.

Still, I find myself watching the Masters, Stanley Cup Playoffs, the Kentucky Derby, all Olympic events and my beloved Dallas Cowboys. Yes, I will never quit loving America’s team even though I’m convinced Jerry Jones should move back to Arkansas and Tony Romo needs to be fired before December.

When I moved to this part of Texas, I found a huge number of people totally dedicated to the San Antonio Spurs. I’ve never been much of a basketball fan, though I really enjoyed the Harlem Globetrotters with Dad.

Very Best Friend is anti-sports except for the Spurs. She lives in a lovely, intelligent National Public Radio world where arts are actually more important than sports. So when VBF chimed up about the Spurs and said they were the best basketball team ever, I took notice. Even more importantly, I started watching the sports on my local nightly newscast.

Know what I discovered? In this crazy sports-driven world, there still exists a sports franchise that is as polite as Tom Laundry, plays like an actual team and doesn’t have room for overpaid Super Stars. Greg “Pop” Popovich is a soft spoken, kind-hearted genius who knows how to out maneuver the opposition’s overpaid Prima Donnas. His players not only respect him, but they respect each other and their city.

ESPN doesn’t like the Spurs. No trouble makers. No glamour boys. Every time they win the NBA Championship, these announcers call it a fluke. These talented men are on their way to a fifth national title so maybe the critics will finally figure out that hard work, good manners and community involvement might just be the key to winning. Sure looks like it from my perspective.

I shall step off my sports soap box now. Go, Spurs, Go!

Spreading laughter throughout the world…one chuckle at a time.

Mikie Baker

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One Response to “Good Sport”

  1. Carlotta says on :

    You and I think a lot alike — except I dumped the Dallas Cryboys when Jerry Jones fired Tom Landry and the rest is history. I have a good friend who pitched for Texas Rangers back in the 80s and 90s. He even admitted that they were overpaid, but I liked him as he was a family man and down to earth.

    Great article.

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